How To Apply For Change of Use?

When changing the use of a building, there are various categories that warrant different procedures. For some changes of use, new planning permission will be required. Whereas, others will not and instead you will be free to alter the use of an area, as long as it follows building regulations and you have planning permission for any physical developments that are being made, despite the lack of its requirement for actually changing the use of the building or facility. In short, if a development does not leave its existing Use Class then planning permission to change its use is not required.

How Do I Apply For Planning Permission, in Order to Change Use Class?

Applying for planning permission for change of use is the same as applying for any planning permission. Just contact your Local Planning Authority via the Local Council. Many councils use an online portal that also includes a £60 service fee. Furthermore, the building work needs to comply with regulations. There are some types of work which will be exempt from the building regulations and an application will not be necessary. To simplify this entire process, you can use Happinest, who will deal with all the planning permission for you and in turn make planning your dream home or establishment immensely easier. 

Who Are Happinest?

Happinest are a family business that provide Professional Architectural drawings and Building Regulation drawings. After this, they manage the entirety of the planning process on your behalf, making planning a quick and efficient process, attempting to bring down the length of time that any form of property modification/addition may take. Happinest have an industry leading success rate of 98% in regards to receiving approval for plans and in turn have assisted thousands of property owners across the UK in not only adding to the comfortability and functionality of their buildings, but also increasing its value, should they choose to sell at a later date. Find out more about Happinest on their website here

What Scenarios Do Not Require Planning permission?

When attempting to change Use Class, it has been previously mentioned that some specific areas do not require planning permission. This is because some changes are covered via ‘permitted development’ rights. This means that permission is deemed to have been granted. In addition to this, some building work that is associated with these changes is also pre-granted. You should be careful to ensure that your change of use is covered under these rights before you begin. 

What is a Use Class?

There are 6 main Use Classes that divide many different forms of land use. Find below: each class and its details:

  • Class B – Businesses that supply people.

B2 – General Industrial 

B8 – Storage or Distribution

  • Class C – Locations where people sleep.

C1 – Hotels

C2 – Residential Institutions

C3 – Dwellinghouses 

C4 – Houses in Multiple Occupation

  • Class E – Commercial, Business and service
  • Shops, Offices, Restaurants, etc.
  • Class F1 – Learning and Non-Residential Institutions
  • Schools, Galleries, etc.
  • Class F2 – Local Community Uses
  • Sui Generis – Everything Else

What If a Property is in Two Use Classes?

In this relatively common scenario, a simple decision is made. If both components of the building are not only in two different classes but both have substantial magnitude, then the building is classed as Sui Generis. For example, if a building contains both a Restaurant that is open to outside customers and an unaffiliated hotel. However, if the two institutions have a void in significance, then the property will be classed under the larger of the two. An example of this would be a small office inside a school. It would not be Class E as a result of this minor office, but instead a Class F1, following the classification of the larger establishment, the school.


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