I see that Norwich City Council has wasted no time in having its Cabinet consider whether to seek an exemption so that parts of the city will be excluded from the forthcoming new PD rights for conversion from office (B1(a) to C3 residential.
These rights are coming into force in spring 2013 and exemptions will only be granted on satisfying one of 2 quite tough tests. It will have to be shown that either the introduction of the right (in the relevant area) will lead to the loss of a nationally significant area of economic activity, or that there will be substantial adverse economic consequences at local level, which will not be offset by the positive effects of the new right.
Steve Quartermain's letter to Chief Planning Officers makes clear that the exemption process will not be an easy one and that requests must be backed by appropriate evidence. Given that the right is to be introduced shortly, I assume we will see a number of local planning authorities asking themselves these questions over the next few weeks.