Saturday 15 August 2015

PERMITTED CHANGES OF USE – at last, the book!

I am very pleased to be able to announce the forthcoming publication of “ A Practical Guide to Permitted Changes of Use”. This long-awaited book is due to be published by Bath Publishing in OCTOBER, both in book form and as an eBook, and can be pre-ordered by readers at a special pre-publication price of £35. When you think of all the time and trouble that permitted changes of use tend to cause, the book will more than repay its cost if it helps you to deal with just one case. You can order it now, by clicking through on the link on the side bar on this page.

I have written quite a few posts in this Blog over the last two or three years on the new rules relating to permitted development, and this book not only brings together all of that material but goes a great deal further, so as to provide a comprehensive and, above all, practical guide to the whole of this subject.

The book gives clear advice on the operation of the prior approval procedure, including the detailed requirements for prior approval applications, their processing and determination, and the way the 56-day time limit for the determination of these applications works in practice. The book also covers other changes of use permitted by the GPDO, including flexible and temporary uses.

After a general introduction to the subject in Chapter 1, the following eleven chapters explain in detail each of the Classes of permitted changes of use. Prior approval applications are then discussed in Chapters 13, 14 and 15, dealing with the content and submission of the application, its processing and determination, and the operation of the 56-day rule. The remaining chapters in the book then explain the rules on temporary and recreational uses of land, including caravan sites and camping. Other important factors to be considered are dealt with in the appendices, including the loss or removal of permitted development rights and the identification of the ‘planning unit’ and the ‘curtilage’ of a building.

This book will be a valuable resource for all property and planning professionals including Architects, Town Planners (in both the private and public sectors), Surveyors, Valuers, Auctioneers and Estate Agents, Barristers, Solicitors, Licensed Conveyancers and other legal and property advisers and also to Builders and developers and to property owners wishing to carry out residential conversions or to make other changes of use as permitted development.

We intend that this book will be completely up-to-date, and so we hope to include in the text the widely anticipated extension of the time limit for the residential conversion of offices, expected to be introduced in September and to come into effect in October, and the associated changes that the government is expected to make to the rules governing these office conversions. Notes of appeal decisions that illustrate points explained in the book will also continue to be added to the text up to the time we finally go to press.

And all this for just £35 if you order now!



  1. Great news Martin, congratulations!

  2. I also work in Wales, does it cover beyond Offa's Dyke?

  3. Sorry, Evan. The book covers England only, because the 2015 GPDO only applies in England. The Welsh Assembly has decided to go its own way on planning, and it is going to be increasingly difficult in future for books to cover both English and Welsh planning law in the same volume.

  4. Yet another devolution divided...siomedig iawn

  5. Regarding Curtilage and Planning Units:

    In our recent prior approval application under Class Q, we submitted plans which show the proposed development and the curtilage directly around it within the red line. We did not include the access to the site within the red line as this is an 80m track which does not form part of the curtilage. It is my understanding that Access does not need to be shown on the plans under class Q within the red line. I did identify the access track on the plan and show all relevant highways information but just didn't include it in the red line as this would have made the curtilage of the proposed dwelling too large.

    The councils reason for refusal (which was received outside the 56day rule) was:

    "The Prior Approval has been refused for the following reasons:
    The proposed conversion of the agricultural unit to a dwelling is considered to be impractical in relation to the GPDO (2015) Part 2, Class Q as the proposal fails to provide an access within the residential curtilage. The failure to provide an access within the defined curtilage would result in the agricultural use of the surrounding land remaining extant and therefore a breach of planning control would occur if the existing agricultural land were to be used for residential purposes. The failure to provide a suitable access is therefore considered to be impractical and contrary to the GPDO (2015), notably Class Q.2-(1)(e)"

    I am in negotiation with the council regarding the 56 day rule however I want to make sure that the application is valid under Class Q. I have seen many applications and appeals which do not include the access track within the curtilage. Some show the access track as part of the wider planning unit but some do not, and there does not seem to be a requirement under Class Q to show the planning unit.

    Do you think the Council have a case here?

    p.s. the access will still perform as the access for the agricultural unit (a 4 acre field) and therefore cannot be considered to be a part of the building's curtilage as I understand that curtilage cannot cross planning units or be in dual use.

  6. Frankly, I think the Council has got it wrong. There is no need to show the access within the red line on the prior approval application, and it need not form part of the curtilage for the purposes of the change of use under Class Q. The access may or may not need its own planning permission (possibly not), and it might in fact be permitted development under Part 2 (which requires no prior approval).

    If the Council were also outside the 56-day limit (which they seem to have been), then they are seriously in the soft and nasty.

    It may be advisable to check out the position regarding the proposed access in more detail and my colleagues in our Planning Law Team at Keystone Law can offer their professional help with this if needed. Subject to this (and to all other aspects of the proposed permitted development complying with the restrictions, limitations and conditions in Class Q), it may well be possible to go ahead with the development, but if it is likely that the Council might dispute this, an application for a Lawful Development Certificate (followed, if necessary, by an appeal under section 195) might be advisable.

  7. I have ordered the book and am hoping it will help in combatting the interpretation of the GPDO by some LPAs.
    One LPA we are dealing with has determined that pp is necessary for an A1 to C3 conversion because the building is bigger than 150sqm. They seem to have ignored the "changing use under Class M" phrase in Class M.1.(c).
    Surely it is the floor space which is changing under Class M which should not exceed 150sqm and not just the size of the building.
    What then is the difference between M.1(c) and M.1(d)

    Have I got this wrong. Does this PD benefit only apply to buildings up to 150 sqm?
    If you can't answer this here can you put it in the book - please.

  8. Yes, it’s already in the book.

    I confirm that the limit is the cumulative floorspace changing use under Class M (including any floorspace that has previously changed use under Class M, and arguably also taking into account any floorspace previously converted under the former Class IA in the 1995 Order). The limit in this case definitely does not apply to the overall size of the building. The council may be confusing this with Class P, where the limit is based on the total floorspace in the building (500 sq m in that case).

    If a determination of the prior approval application has already been made in the case mentioned by my correspondent, then an appeal under section 78 is now the only option. Costs have been awarded in appeals where an LPA has misunderstood and misapplied the rules under Part 3, so as to cause the appellant the unnecessary expense of running the appeal.

    This and other cases of which I am aware suggest that local planning authorities should order my book!

  9. Martin - really looking forward to the book. Will it include details around the process relating to the change of use of pubs, which (when not listed / nominated as an ACV) requires a written request to the LPA?

  10. Yes. The rules relating to change of use of pubs (A4 uses) which may be nominated or designated as ACVs, are covered in the book, plus some observations on the fact that some pubs (in fact quite a few) are actually in Use Class A3, so are not covered by the conditions in this regard in Part 3 (although they may nonetheless be nominated or designated as ACVs).

  11. In the book ?
    Permitted development in an area designated as a sinc.
    Currently have a barn to dwelling application on the go.Ecology consultant comments as below.
    "my understanding is that in considering this notification, the planning
    authority should consider whether the location or siting of the building makes it otherwise impractical or undesirable for the building to change from agricultural use to dwelling house. Given that the site is a SINC, there would appear to be a case to be made that this is an impractical or undesirable place for a residential dwelling and as such, a planning application should be required here. If this is considered to be the
    case, then any formal planning application should include a formal ecological survey"
    That said it appears the application could fail due to being in a sinc if the case officer deems the conversion in a sinc to be undesirable !!

  12. There have been cases where a residential conversion has been rejected on appeal on ecological grounds (e.g. because there was no bat survey). I have mentioned this in the book. So, in principle, a prior approval application could be turned down on the ground that my anonymous correspondent has suggested, although the LPA may have to justify this on appeal. Rejection cannot be automatic; it must be objectively justified on the facts.

  13. I know I only have a few days to wait to find out, but curiousity's got the better of me - will the new book talk in detail about the requirements under Part 3 Class O; whether, for instance, the phrase...

    "a plan indicating the site and showing the proposed development" equivalent to...

    "a plan [singular] indicating the site and which buildings within it have changed/are to change use"

    ...and what additional information LPA's can legitimatly ask for?

  14. In answer to ‘passer-by’ – Yes, this issue is discussed in the book. However, you may have to wait more than “a few more days” for it. Publication is likely to be in the second half October (and might even be further delayed), simply because we are waiting to see what changes the government makes to Class O in light of the expected lifting of the 30 May deadline for the completion of these residential conversions. We can’t wait indefinitely, but if there is a reasonable chance that this issue will be resolved fairly soon, then we are prepared to wait long enough to incorporate the details in the text. So – watch this space!

  15. Any general advice on Class P (storage to resi)? I can find very few live applications, and my LPA has advised that a successful Class P application will be virtually useless to me as it permits no changes to the external appearance, even fenestration and doors, which they are unlikely to support.

  16. Class P has its own chapter in my book, but it is true that no operational development is permitted. However, it is equally clear that a simultaneous application for planning permission can be made for associated operational development. If the building operations proposed (e.g. new doors and windows, etc.) are necessary to give effect to the permitted residential conversion of the building it would be unreasonable for the LPA to turn down such an application, unless there were sound and clear-cut planning reasons for refusal (which could not include their opposition to the change of use). The LPA should be warned that any refusal would be appealed and that it would be accompanied by an application for a full award of costs.

  17. Many thanks for your response on Class P, and I am looking forward to the book. I thought you and others might be interested in three Class P Prior Approvals I have subsequently found which incorporate building operations.

    Arun DC, ref BN/33/15/PD
    South Bucks DC, ref 15/01095/PNOT
    Wycombe DC, ref 15/06765/PNP3P

    In pre-app discussion with my LPA I have made reference to the potential for permitted changes under the existing use Part 7 Class H, and also to Paragraph W(9)(c) which I believe gives LPAs the opportunity to consider building operations.



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