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WHAT ARE CHANGE OF USE PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS?
Nearly all sites and properties have a use class, even if they are not currently occupied. A vacant retail shop, for example, has a commercial (E) use class whilst a normal house or flat has a dwellinghouse (C3) use class.
Certain uses – such as agricultural sites, pubs and hot food takeaways – don’t belong to a specific use class. These are known as sui generis uses which is Latin for “in a class of its own”.
Click the button below for a list of the different use classes and what they include.
General rule on changing use
The general rule is this:
A change from one use class to another – for example, from use class E to use class C3 – requires planning permission.
Additionally, changes to, from or between any sui generis use – e.g. from a takeaway to a pub or from a pub to a house – require planning permission.
In most cases, that means you need to submit a full planning application for the consideration of your local council. In these circumstances, there is always a risk that permission could be refused.
Click the button below to find out more about submitting a full planning application for a change of use.
Where do permitted development rights come into it?
Change of use permitted development rights provide certain changes of use with formal planning permission. As long as your change of use is exactly as described by a change of use permitted development right, that means you don’t need to apply for planning permission at all.
All permitted development rights are described in The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015. We typically refer to this as the General Permitted Development Order or GPDO. You can access a copy using the button below.
WHAT CHANGES OF USE ARE COVERED BY PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS?
All current change of use permitted development rights appear in the tables below. There are a number of additional change of use rights that still appear in the legislation but these have expired, meaning you can no longer take advantage of them.
Most common changes of use
|Permitted change of use||Conditions and limitations||Subject to prior approval?|
from casino, betting office, pay day loan shop or hot food takeaway to commercial (class E)
from pub, wine bar or drinking establishment to drinking establishment with expanded food provision and vice versa
from betting office, pay day loan shop or commercial (class E) to mixed use of commercial (class E) and up to 2 flats
from mixed use as a betting office/pay day loan shop and up to 2 flats or mixed use as commercial (class E) and up to 2 flats to commercial (class E)
from general industrial (class B2) to storage or distribution (class B8)
from small HMO (class C4) to dwellinghouse(s) (class C3) and vice versa
from launderette, betting office, pay day loan shop or hot food takeaway or mixed use of one of the above and dwellinghouse(s) (class C3) to dwellinghouse(s) (class C3)
from commercial (class E) to dwellinghouse(s) (class C3)
from amusement arcade/centre or casino to dwellinghouse(s) (class C3)
from agricultural building(s) to dwellinghouse(s) (class C3)
And the rest…
|Permitted change of use||Conditions and limitations||Subject to prior approval?|
from agricultural building(s) to flexible use within one of the following classes:
storage or distribution (class B8), hotel (class C1) or commercial (class E)
from agricultural building(s) to state-funded school
from hotel (class C1), residential institution (class C2), secure residential institution (class C2A) or commercial (class E) to state-funded school
from state-funded school converted under Class T to previous lawful use
from a use specifically authorised by a planning permission to another use specifically authorised by the same planning permission
Almost all permitted changes of use are subject to limitations and conditions. A change of use will only be “permitted development” if it complies with all relevant limitations and conditions.
A number of the permitted changes of use are also subject to prior approval. This means that unlike most permitted development rights, you must submit an application to your local council prior to undertaking the change of use. Once they have received your application, your council is required to assess certain matters*. Your council will only grant prior approval if they think those matters are acceptable. Click the button below to find out more about the prior approval process.
*the matters to be assessed vary depending on what “class” of permitted change of use is sought. The matters are described in the legislation and include issues such as:
- flood risk
- land contamination
- highways impact
- natural light in habitable rooms.
If you’d like to find out more about the conditions and/or limitations that apply to a specific “class” of permitted change of use, you can access a copy of the legislation using the button below. Change of use permitted development rights can be found at Schedule 2, Part 3.
DO I NEED TO SUBMIT AN APPLICATION TO MY LOCAL COUNCIL?
You can find the detailed answer to this question on our main “permitted development rights” page. Access this page using the button below.
In short, if the change of use permitted development right is subject to prior approval, you must submit a prior approval application prior to undertaking the change of use.
If the change of use permitted development right is not subject to prior approval, an application is not strictly required however we strongly recommend that you apply for a lawful development certificate prior to undertaking the change of use. If you want to find out more about lawful development certificates, then click the button below.
CAN I MAKE PHYSICAL CHANGES TO THE SITE OR BUILDING?
In order to convert a site or building from one use class to another, you may need to make some physical changes.
If the physical changes are minor and only affect the interior of the building – such as a new layout, new partition walls or shop-fits – you can normally go ahead and make them. One of the main exceptions, however, is if the building is a listed building.
Substantial and external physical changes are sometimes allowed
However, if the physical changes are more substantial or would affect the building’s exterior – such as new walls, new openings or new ductwork – different rules apply. You may only make changes of this nature if the relevant change of use permitted development “class” specifically allows them.
For example, class Q covers the change of use of an agricultural building to one or more dwellinghouses. The conditions and limitations for class Q specifically allow the following building operations:
- Installation or replacement of windows, doors, roofs, or exterior walls
- Installation or replacement of water, drainage, electricity, gas or other services
- Partial demolition in order to carry out any of the above operations.
If your physical conversion works go beyond “permitted development” limits…
If physical development is not specifically authorised by the relevant permitted development “class” or your building works go beyond what is permitted, you will need to submit a full planning application for the change of use.
As with any planning application, there is no guarantee that planning permission will be granted even if the change of use itself – minus the building operations – is a permitted development right. Once they have received your application, your local council will have regard to various planning matters, such as design and impacts on neighbouring properties (including as a result of noise, odours, disturbance etc.).
Want to find out more about making a full planning application for a change of use? Then click the button below.
Bear in mind: if a listed building is involved, most building works will require listed building consent even if they are covered by a change of use permitted development right. This is because the need for planning permission is separate and additional to the need for listed building consent. Use the button below to find out more about securing listed building consent for your change of use.
If you require assistance with a permitted development change of use project, then please get in touch.