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Prior approval for extensions and conversions

Office conversions

The key changes that have been introduced to this application process include:

  • The removal of the 30 May 2016 deadline from the Permitted Development Right.
  • Any Permitted Development scheme must be completed within three years of the date of prior approval.
  • There is a requirement for the legislation to be reviewed a minimum of every five years

Prior Approval change of use from B1(a) Offices to Dwellinghouse (C3) [Class O development]

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015, as amended allows changes of use from office (Use Class B1(a) to dwelling house (Use Class C3) subject to prior approval.

Initially for a period up to 30 May 2016 the government had stated that a change of use of an office building and land within its curtilage to a residential use falling within the Class C3 dwelling houses Use Class (which includes flats and houses) will be permitted development (i.e. the change of use will not require planning permission). The permitted development right has now been made permanent, with the deadline 30 May 2016 removed and any permitted development scheme must be completed within three years of the date of the prior approval.

Changing a premises to residential use under Class M is subject to a prior approval process in which the local planning authority must determine the impact the change of use will have against:

(a) transport and highways;
(b) contamination risks on the site; and
(c) flooding risks on the site.
(d) Noise impacts

Fee

The fee for this application is £80.

Prior Approval change of use from A1/ A2/ Other Specified Uses to dwellinghouses C3 [Class M development]

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015, as amended also allows changes of use from a premises under falling under use class A1, A2, or certain other uses specified in the legislation, to dwelling house (Use Class C3) subject to prior approval.

Changing a premises to residential use under Class M, is subject to a prior approval process. The developer will have to apply to the local authority to determine if  prior approval is required for:

(a) transport and highways impacts of the development;
(b) contamination risks on the site; and
(c) flooding risks on the site.
(d) undesirable change of use of the building, to change the use to C3 because of the impact on adequate provision of services of the sort that would be provided by a building falling within use Class A1 / A2. Where the site falls within a key shopping area, a determination must also be made on the sustainability of that shopping area.
(e) the design or external appearance of the building

Fees

The fee for this application is £80 if there are no associated building operations proposed.
If building operations are proposed under M.1(b), the fee is £172.

Procedure to be followed for office to dwelling house prior approval - Application submission

The developer must notify the local planning authority with the following information:

  • A written description of the proposed development, including the proposed Class the development relates to under Part 3 of Schedule 2
  • A statement specifying the net increase in dwellinghouses proposed
  • A plan indicating the site and showing the proposed development (this should comprise an O.S. site plan identifying the site in relation to its neighbours as well as a plan showing the floorspace and any curtilage land involved)
  • The developer’s contact address and an email address if the developer is happy to receive correspondence by email. A contact phone number is also desirable.
  • Where the proposal falls within a Flood Zone 2 or 3, a site-specific flood risk assessment. (Where a site falls within Harrow’s Strategic Flood Risk Area 3a or 3b, a flood risk assessment including emergency evacuation information may be requested, even if the site is outside Flood Zones 2 or 3)
  • The specified fee in addition, for proposals under Class M, the following information should be included to avoid delay:
  • Specification of whether the proposal includes building operations under M.1(b)
  • Existing and proposed elevations and floor plans /site plans showing the above operations

Neighbour consultation

The council will display a site notice on or near the land to which the application relates for a period of not less than 21 days that specifies the address and description of the development and the date by which any representations are to be received.

Further Information

The local planning authority may require the developer to submit information regarding the assessment of risk impacts. For example stating how impacts or risks are to be mitigated, or details of proposed building or other operations, if considered necessary to determine the application. It is therefore strongly suggested that any relevant supporting information should be submitted with the initial application. This includes the flood zone (1, 2 or 3) that the application falls into. If such information is not provided within the required timeframe it may have to be refused .

Decision

The change of use cannot take place until – the occurrence of 1 of the following:

  • The local planning authority provides written notice that prior approval is not required
  • The local planning authority gives written notice that prior approval is given
  • The expiry of a period of 56 days from receipt of the application without the local planning authority notifying the applicant that prior approval is either not required, approved or refused.

Useful links and general advice
The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015

General advice:
For all other classes of prior approval development, please refer directly to the specifications in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015, as amended.