Permitted Conversions

Permitted conversions… What you need to know!

Since august 2021 permitted development rules have changed for commercial to residential conversions.

previously it was possible to convert certain commercial buildings to residential through the use of permitted development rights. PD allows certain developments to take place without the need of planning permission. However, there is still the need to give Prior Notification through the Council which allows them to consider/note certain details about the development.

4 useful key points

Why have things changed?

The need to change the legislation has come about because last year the Government introduced a new Use Class E (Business and Commercial Uses). The Use Classes Order (UCO) sets out different categories of land use within which permission is not required. What this means is that many commercial uses which were previously separated. such as; shops, restaurants, offices and indoor leisure venues. (Excluding Pubs and takeaways)

Whats actually changed?

The new rights cover a wider range of buildings. Properties such as Indoor leisure centres, doctors surgeries, restaurants and nurseries are now included. However the new rules do not allow any external changes to be made to the building. (Separate planning is necessary)

The new rules are similar in some ways however they introduce particular criteria which must be met for the development to take place.

  • The building must have been vacant for at least three months before Prior Approval is submitted.
  • The use must have been within Class E for at least 2 years before the Prior Approval.
  • It cannot exceed 1500 sq.metre of floorspace
  • It applies in Conservation Areas but not to Listed Buildings, National Parks and World Heritage Sites.
  • Where there is already an Article 4 direction in place for Class O office conversions this remains in place until 31st July 2022.

What will you require to get approved?

You must submit a Prior Notification application to the Council. This allows the Council to consider details of the development and decide to approve/reject the application.

  • Transport and access
  • Flood Risk
  • Contamination risk
  • Impacts of nearby commercial noise
  • Adequate daylight to habitable rooms
  • Impact on areas considered important for industry or waste management use
  • where nurseries or health centres the impact on the provision of those services

The conversions will be required to meet the Government’s National Space Standards for new dwellings.The application fee has been set at £100 per dwelling created.The Council has 56 days to consider the application. They can decide either that Prior Approval is not needed, to grant prior approval or to refuse it. If no decision is made within 56 days then the change ca occur.

Some final points..

It’s important to understand that the Prior Notification process is only seeking approval on the matters set out above. If you are considering a Class MA conversion you should take advice from the council and/or from a planning consultant as to whether the proposal would qualify as permitted development first.

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