Change of Use

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Do I need planning permission for change of use?

Before leasing or buying a property, it is important to seek professional planning advice to determine whether planning permission is needed for the intended use.

Planning permission is not required when the present and proposed uses fall within the same use classes. It is required when you want to change from one use class to another, although there are exceptions. For example, your project may fall into Permitted Development Rights.

Use Classes

  • Class B2 – general industrial uses
  • Class B8 – storage and distribution
  • C1 – hotels, boarding and guest houses
  • C2 – residential institutions – residential care homes, hospitals, nursing homes, boarding schools, residential colleges and training centres
  • C2A – secure residential institution
  • C3 – dwelling houses – this class is split into three parts
    • C3(a) – use by a single person or a family
    • C3(b) – up to six people living together as a single household and receiving care
    • C3(c) – groups of people (up to six) living together as a single household
  • C4 – houses in multiple occupation
  • Class E – commercial, business and services
  • Class F1 – education and non-residential institutions
  • Class F2 – retail, community spaces and outdoor recreational spaces
  • Sui Generis – none of the above – includes pubs, bars, takeaways and concert halls

If I don’t need planning permission, do I need a certificate of lawfulness?

In certain instances, due to the planning history of individual properties and local restrictions that apply, it may be necessary to apply for a certfictae of lawfulness before changing the use of a property. Some changes of use are also associated with operational development, for example, a change of use from a retail shop to a restaurant may require planning permission to install a flue or to make alterations to the shopfront. It should therefore not be assumed that if a change of use application is not required, then external alterations would be permitted as well.

We have growing experience in guiding a number of our clients through the planning process and can help you explore your options and submit an application on your behalf.