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Change Of Use Plans

Local authorities usually require a planning application when changes are made to the internal layout of a property.

In the case of a commercial property, if you want to change the layout, or change the use of certain types of premises, you will need to submit a planning application along with a copy of your floor plans for fire regulations and risk assessment purposes.

We have much experience in this kind of work and will produce colour-coded layouts like the one in the example opposite, which was produced for compliance with environmental health and local authority requirements.

Before you negotiate a lease or buy a property for your business, check whether you need to obtain planning permission for your intended use, and, if so, your chances of getting it.

The following list gives an indication of the types of use which may fall within each use class. Please note that this is a guide only and it’s for local planning authorities to determine, in the first instance, depending on the individual circumstances of each case, which use class a particular use falls into.

  • A1 Shops – Shops, retail warehouses, hairdressers, undertakers, travel and ticket agencies, post offices (but not sorting offices), pet shops, sandwich bars, showrooms, domestic hire shops, dry cleaners, funeral directors and internet cafes.
  • A2 Financial and professional services – Financial services such as banks and building societies, professional services (other than health and medical services) including estate and employment agencies and betting offices.
  • A3 Restaurants and cafés – For the sale of food and drink for consumption on the premises – restaurants, snack bars and cafes.
  • A4 Drinking establishments – Public houses, wine bars or other drinking establishments (but not night clubs).
  • A5 Hot food takeaways – For the sale of hot food for consumption off the premises.
  • B1 Business – Offices (other than those that fall within A2), research and development of products and processes, light industry appropriate in a residential area.
  • B2 General industrial – Use for industrial process other than one falling within class B1 (excluding incineration purposes, chemical treatment or landfill or hazardous waste).
  • B8 Storage or distribution – This class includes open air storage.
  • C1 Hotels – Hotels, boarding and guest houses where no significant element of care is provided (excludes hostels).
  • C2 Residential institutions – Residential care homes, hospitals, nursing homes, boarding schools, residential colleges and training centres.
  • C2A Secure Residential Institution – Use for a provision of secure residential accommodation, including use as a prison, young offenders institution, detention centre, secure training centre, custody centre, short term holding centre, secure hospital, secure local authority accommodation or use as a military barracks.
  • C3 Dwellinghouses –this class is formed of 3 parts:
    • C3(a) covers use by a single person or a family (a couple whether married or not, a person related to one another with members of the family of one of the couple to be treated as members of the family of the other), an employer and certain domestic employees (such as an au pair, nanny, nurse, governess, servant, chauffeur, gardener, secretary and personal assistant), a carer and the person receiving the care and a foster parent and foster child.
    • C3(b): up to six people living together as a single household and receiving care e.g. supported housing schemes such as those for people with learning disabilities or mental health problems.
    • C3(c) allows for groups of people (up to six) living together as a single household. This allows for those groupings that do not fall within the C4 HMO definition, but which fell within the previous C3 use class, to be provided for i.e. a small religious community may fall into this section as could a homeowner who is living with a lodger.
  • C4 Houses in multiple occupation – small shared dwelling houses occupied by between three and six unrelated individuals, as their only or main residence, who share basic amenities such as a kitchen or bathroom.
  • D1 Non-residential institutions – Clinics, health centres, crèches, day nurseries, day centres, schools, art galleries (other than for sale or hire), museums, libraries, halls, places of worship, church halls, law court. Non residential education and training centres.
  • D2 Assembly and leisure – Cinemas, music and concert halls, bingo and dance halls (but not night clubs), swimming baths, skating rinks, gymnasiums or area for indoor or outdoor sports and recreations (except for motor sports, or where firearms are used).
  • Sui Generis – Certain uses do not fall within any use class and are considered ‘sui generis’. Such uses include: theatres, houses in multiple occupation, hostels providing no significant element of care, scrap yards. Petrol filling stations and shops selling and/or displaying motor vehicles. Retail warehouse clubs, nightclubs, launderettes, taxi businesses, amusement centres and casinos.

Changes of use not requiring planning permission

In many cases involving similar types of use, a change of use of a building or land does not need planning permission. Planning permission is not needed when both the present and proposed uses fall within the same ‘class’, or if the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order says that a change of class is permitted to another specified class (see table below).

For example, a greengrocer’s shop could be changed to a shoe shop without permission as these uses fall within the same ‘class’, and a restaurant could be changed to a shop or a estate agency as the Use Class Order allows this type of change to occur without requiring planning permission.

Most external building work associated with a change of use is likely to require planning permission.

Fire Plans Drawn

Do you need floor plans or fire plans drawn for your commercial property? No problem, we can prepare scaled or non-scaled plans for your premises, regardless of size, anywhere within the West Midlands Staffordshire regions.

We’ll visit your premises and measure all areas, then prepare fire plans that can be used to identify fire exits, extinguishers, alarm points etc.

You’ll be provided with pdf and original CAD versions of all plans produced on your behalf, so if you have AutoCAD, you’ll be able to make future amendments yourself if necessary – or we’ll gladly come back and make any changes for you.

Yes, we can (and have), produuced fire plans and floor layouts for fire alarm & fire prevention companies, providing original, editable CAD files. This is often cheaper than producing them yourself!

Please call us for a price – all we’ll need to know is the size of the property, the number of floors / storeys and the number of rooms, from which we will be able to provide an immediate quotation for getting your floor plans drawn.

We can prepare floor plans for industrial units, retail units, offices, office blocks, industrial estates and more.

Because no elevation plans are required, for most premises, the cost for this services is lower than our normal building plan service and starts from as little as £350 + VAT for single-storey premises.

Need Planning?

Plans / Building Regulations

Simple service - we draw plans for submission to local authority for planning and/or building regulations consent.

Package available for plans, artist impressions & building regulations if both are required.

8 Weeks For Planning

Local authorities can (and do) take up to 8 weeks to approve or decline planning applications, so act now if you're looking to extend your home or business premises.

Call 07889 989291