Do you need planning permission?

New year, new project? Are home renovations on the cards this year? Or, maybe you’re looking to do a change of use on a commercial property? Well, before you get started you should ask yourself – do you need planning permission?

With ever-changing planning legislation and guidance, combined with the new Use Classes Order which was launched in 2020, it can be confusing when trying to find out whether planning permission is required for a specific project. 

Do you need planning permission for Home Improvements?

If you are looking to extend your home, build an outbuilding or carry out some home improvements, it may be that these can continue as permitted development, without the need for planning permission. However, if you live in an area where these rights are limited, such as a conservation area, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or World Heritage Site (not exhaustive), permission may be required. It may also be the case that your project exceeds the relevant thresholds as laid out by the General Permitted Development Order, or you could live in an area where permitted development rights have been removed by your Local Planning Authority through an Article 4 Direction; in each of these scenarios, permission will be required. If your property is a listed building, this too restricts your permitted development rights and means that for some works, planning permission will be required, in addition to listed building planning consent.

Do you need planning permission for Changes of Use?

In the last two years, both the Town and Country Planning (Uses Classes) Order 1987, which puts land and buildings into certain categories, and the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development Order) (England) Order 2015 have been amended. The former resulted in a change to how the use of land and buildings are categorized and as part of this change, three new categories were introduced; Class E (commercial, business and service), Class F.1 (learning and non-residential institutions) and F.2 (local community). 

The purpose of this reshuffle was to provide more flexibility in the planning system, particularly where high street developments are concerned. For example, Class E encompasses a range of uses from offices, shops, cafes, restaurants, professional services, gyms and nurseries, amongst other things. This means that a change of use from a high street shop to a restaurant, a gym to a nursery or a café to an office, can all take place without needing planning permission first. Physical changes to the building being converted may require permission, however. Changes to the General Permitted Development Order have also meant that a change of use can take place from some commercial buildings to residential use without planning permission, though it is necessary to apply for the Local Planning Authority’s approval to some aspects of the development. The ability to convert an agricultural building into residential use under permitted development rights (subject to prior approval) remains under the recent amendments, a route that continues to prove popular for people wanting to build their own home. 

Whatever your plans may be, no matter how big or small, we would be happy to discuss and offer some clarity on whether in fact planning permission is required for your project. We can also advise on the likelihood of your project being successful; this is usually dependent on planning policies in force in your area and whether the development would cause harm to the environment and/or neighbours. 

Please get in touch today right here.

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