Change Of Use

Change Of Use Planning

When considering using land or a building for a different purpose, change of use planning is essential. Often land and buildings fall into different planning use classes and dependent on which one applies, a change of use might occur without the need for planning permission. Apex Planning Consultants will be pleased to advise you on your requirements.

Different uses

The different uses are set out within the Use Classes Order 1987 (as amended). For example, a café may change to a shop without planning permission, but a change of use planning application is required for say a shop that changes to a hot food takeaway.

However, if you are intending to make any changes to the building’s external appearance, planning permission may be required from the local authority. It is also possible for instance, to make a change of use from an office to residential (Class O) or from an agricultural building to residential (Class Q), subject
to specified criteria being satisfied and an application to establish whether you require Prior Approval from the local authority. This means that approval has been sought from the local authority in terms of issues such as highway impact, flood risk, contamination risks, the design or external appearance of the building, noise and whether the location of the building is impractical or undesirable.

Where you do not benefit from permitted development rights allowing for a change of use, your proposal will require planning permission via an application. Our consultants can assist you by preparing and submitting this for you. Below we include some additional information which may be useful in terms of your development project and the change of use planning you may require.

Prior Approval and Permitted Development

  • Prior approval allows some development to go ahead without the need for detailed planning permission. For example, for residential extensions – as long as they are not for a listed building or in a Conservation Area, you can apply to extend your house by up to 6 metres (8m for a detached property) without planning permission.
  • For industrial sites, houses, schools and commercial sites, Permitted Development Right allows for some buildings to be extended or the use changed without the need for planning permission. A certain change of use planning permission application process must be followed in these instances, which includes a written description of the development, site plan and details of change of use.

Here at Apex Planning, we can help you with your application, and use our extensive knowledge to advise you whether Prior Approval is required or if Permitted Development Rights can be relied upon. If you would like to discuss your own project with us, or just find out more about change of use planning permission, please continue to browse the website or contact us for more information.

Lawful Development Certificates

If you are uncertain whether a building’s existing use is lawful, or that what you are planning is lawful under permitted development rights, you can apply to the local authority for a 'Lawful Development Certificate' (LDC).

In the case of an Existing Use or Development, you will need to ensure that you have provided sufficient information to the council to demonstrate that, on the ‘balance of probability’, it is indeed lawful, or it may be refused. For a Proposed Use or Development, you can prepare an application to demonstrate why, what you are proposing to undertake, should not require planning permission. The whys and wherefores of these certificates can be complex and it is worth getting some professional advice before submitting your application – we at Apex Planning Consultants can help you with this.

Enforcement Notices and Appeals

An Enforcement Notice will be issued when a local authority is certain that a breach of planning has been made – this might be an unlawful development or use of land. It will detail exactly what the council believes has occurred and why it is unlawful, and will also outline what the land owner or developer needs to do to remedy the situation.

The serving of an Enforcement Notice is not always based on correct assumptions or facts, therefore it can be appealed against, perhaps arguing that the development or use is now lawful due to the passage of time since it was completed/first begun, or even that permission should be granted anyway. An appeal against an Enforcement Notice, can be heard in three ways – written representations, informal hearing or through an inquiry. For further information on our appeals assistance, please click here.

For further information on change of use planning permission, please contact us to find out more.

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