When occupying commercial premises in the course of a business, it is possible that you may wish to expand the property or develop the area to improve operations. Should this be the case, local authorities may well demand planning permission prior to building works taking place.
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Under section 55 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, planning permission is required for the carrying out of any development of land. This is defined as
‘the carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land, or the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or other land’.
Another way of finding out is by asking the planning officer at the local council. At the most basic level however, major works require planning permission whilst minor works do not.
Minor changes can be made to a property without the need to apply for planning permission. These are called Permitted Development Rights. In parts of the country permitted development rights are more restricted. Sometimes planning authorities remove permitted development rights by issuing an Article 4 Direction.
Property use is an important consideration for both commercial leaseholds and freeholds, as every commercial premise will be designated a certain ‘Use Class’ through which a company can conduct their business. As an example, retail premises will be given a retail ‘Use Class’, whilst restaurants and cafes will be allocated a Use Class to sell food. When purchasing a property to use in the course of a business, it is vital to ensure that the relevant Use Class has been attached to the premises beforehand. Changing a Use Class for a property can be a time consuming task and requires applying to the local authority for planning permission. The Use Classes are divided into four main groups as follows:
- Group A: shopping area uses;
- Group B: other business and industrial uses;
- Group C: residential uses;
- Group D: non-residential uses.
These Groups are also sub-divided, as follows:
- Class A1: shops
- Class A2: financial and professional services
- Class A3: restaurants and cafes
- Class A4: drinking establishments
- Class A5: hot food takeaways
- Class B1: business
- Class B2: general industrial
- Class B8: storage or distribution
- Class C3: dwelling houses
- Class C4: houses in multiple occupation
These are made when the character of an area would be threatened, usually in conservation areas. It serves to restrict Permitted Development rights, which means that a lot of development works are brought into the realms of planning consent. It does not in itself prohibit any action but means that a landowner is required to seek planning consent whereas without the Direction this would not be necessary.
Commercial Property Specialists In Corby & Kettering
Hello, I am Gemma McKimmie and I am the Head of Seatons Solicitors Commercial Property Department. We aim to provide our clients with an outstanding legal service.
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