PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS
Planning permission will be required for the construction of new business premises (except for some minor extensions).
Unlike Domestic properties the range of permitted development rights available to commercial properties are more limited.
Planning permission is not usually required for :-
Repairs and maintenance
Small works outside the building (such as installing an alarm box)
Putting up walls, fences etc within certain height limits.
CHANGE OF USE
You may be able to change the use of your land or premises without the need for planning permission.
For example shops can alter their use to another type of shop without planning permission. So a newsagents could be changed to a hairdressers or shoe shop without permission.
You may be able to change between certain types of use without permission. For example you can alter a storage use to a business use, but not the other way. You cannot necessarily swap backward and forward either. Some changes may only be made in one direction.
These changes are permitted by virtue of the Town & Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987. Further details may be found at UCO.
If your property does not fall within one of the use classes it is Sui Generis; ie a use on its own. Any change of use will require a formal planning application.
Even if you think your property use can be altered without planning permission, it is always worthwhile double-checking with the planning department. You may not have identified a limiting planning condition on a previous planning consent that removed your Permitted Development Rights. Or there may be specific limitations of use imposed for particular reasons.
You should also check any lease or title deeds, to ensure you may carry out the change of use without seeking landlords consent or breaching a Covenant over the property.
WORKING FROM HOME
Planning permission is not necessarily needed if you wish to work from home. If for example you use the garden shed or the back bedroom as an office or take phone calls to the house for business purposes, then it is unlikely that planning permission is required.
The test is whether the overall use and character of the house (or flat etc) will alter to such an extent that it can no longer be considered in residential use. Is it still a home?
Planning permission will probably be required :-
If the property is no longer in use mainly as a private residence.
If the use is likely to be considered unusual in a residential area.
If sales or trading to the public are to take place from the premises.
If the use is likely to increase levels of traffic or public calling at the property.
If the use is likely to be disturbing to neighbours or create other types of nuisance such as dust or smells.
For example, rebuilding your classic car in the garage as a hobby will not require permission, but running a business repairing classic cars probably will.
The distinction may be rather fine, so if you are in any doubt always consult your local planning department. You can obtain a formal ruling from the Council by applying for a Lawful Development Certificate.
FLATS OVER SHOPS
The rooms over shops often remain unused or provide ancillary storage. However, they can be a valuable source of residential accommodation.
You may alter the use of space over shops and other high street premises to a residential use as a flat AND BACK AGAIN without the need for planning permission.
However, any such change should not involve altering the external appearance of the premises.
Houses that you will be living in, but from which you intend using some space for ancillary business purposes, may benefit from the range of domestic permitted development rights. [See Domestic]
Extensions to shops and offices will require planning permission.
Factories and warehouses may normally be extended if:-
The extension will be less than 1000 sq m of new floorspace; and
The extension will be less than 25% of the volume of the original building; and
The extension will not extend above the height of the original building.
The extension must be related to the existing use of the premises, or may be for staff facilities associated with the premises.
So, you can build additional factory or storage space and additional offices or a canteen, but not space that you intend selling or letting to another business.
Any previous extensions must be taken into account when calculating the volume of the original building. You may have to submit a planning application if the allowance has already been used up.
Planning permission will be required if :-
The allowable increase in volume has already been used for previous extensions.
The extension will affect the external appearance of the building.
The extension is to be within 5m of the property boundary.
The extension will be on land required for parking or vehicle turning.
I NEED PLANNING PERMISSION