This year, the Government announced proposals to eliminate the need for planning permission when changing the use of a building from commercial to residential. If they went ahead, the plans would have a trial period of three years, after which it would be decided whether they should be permanent. Boroughs have full opportunity to apply for exemption, and many already have, including the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The Government are due to announce the decision on these applications in the next few months. For more information see