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3 points to consider when applying for a change of use from A1 to A3

3 points to consider when applying for aUntil recently, planning permission was required for a change of use from A1 (a shop) to A3 (a café). This was so, unless your site was to operate solely on a 2-year basis, in which case no planning permission was required.

However, as of 15th April 2015, planning permission is no longer required for such developments. These can now be made under permitted development rights (PD rights). In other words, if you currently own/rent a shop (including betting office, pay day loan and casinos) or are planning to acquire a site whose last use was a shop, you may change its use into a café or restaurant, without the need to apply for planning permission.

Nevertheless, as with every planning laws, there are conditions that your development must meet in order to qualify for PD rights (read more on PD rights here). And before going ahead with your development, ask yourself:

– is the site more than 150m2?
– is it located on a site of special scientific interest or hazardous?
– is it a scheduled monument?
– is it a listed building?

Should you find yourself answering yes to any one of the above questions, then your development does not fall under PD rights and making an application for planning permission will be required. On the other hand, should you find that none of the above apply to your site, then you may go ahead with your development bearing in mind the following conditions:

– before beginning your development, you must apply for prior approval from the Local Planning Authority, to inform them of your plans.
– if your proposed development requires facilities such as ventilation, extraction and/or external flue, then before beginning your development, you must apply for prior approval from the Local Planning Authority, with regards to the impacts of your proposed development (vis-à-vis noise, odours, transport, opening hours, handling of waste)
– once prior approval is received, the development must begin within 3 years from the date that prior approval was given.

Evidently, PD rights are never as straight forward as they seem and there will be other points to consider specific to your property. If in doubt, we always recommend that you check with your local authority. Alternatively, we deal with PD rights all the time, so contact us using the below enquiry form or alternatively call us on: 020 8995 7848 to get the advice you need.

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