"CLASS R" - PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT
The General Permitted Development (England) Order 2015, allows for change of use from an agricultural building (and land within its curtilage) to ‘flexible commercial use' - i.e. uses falling within various business uses such as:
Class A1 (shops)
Class A2 (financial and professional services)
Class A3 (restaurants and cafes)
Class B1 (business)
Class B8 (storage and / or distribution)
Class C1 (hotels)
Class D2 (assembly and leisure)
For these interesting and potentially lucrative rights to apply (as with Class Q) certain criteria must be met:
Rather than changing the use of the building to a specific use class - any completed "Class R" conversion shall be treated as having a sui generis use (i.e. no use specific class) - so other future, otherwise permitted, use class changes will not be able to be enjoyed (without a full planning application). Likewise certain additional permitted development activities may be restricted - and thus require planning consent (e.g. maintenance and refurbishment) - although this should not be unreasonably withheld.
Once 'deemed consent' has been obtained under Class R, a building (and land inside its curtilage) can subsequently change to any other use falling within the classes identified as ‘flexible business uses’. This means that a barn converted to offices, could subsequently be changed to a restaurant or cafe (or vice a versa) with little, if any, opportunity for obstruction by the planners.
Development under Class R is only permitted subject to details being provided to the Local Authority prior to commencement for their prior approval. It is worth considering this at design stage - to ensure that any conversion or alterations consider potential, lawful future uses from the outset.
There are two main opportunities for prospective Class R changes:
Buildings with <150sq m of existing floor space:
For building(s) where the cumulative floor space (to be converted) does not exceed 150m2 the local authority following need to be advised (in writing) as follows:-
For cumulative development of floor areas up to 150sq m, on buildings that fit the criteria, there is NO requirement to wait (from the date of submission) before development / use can start.
Buildings Exceeding 150sq m
Where the cumulative, existing floor area to be changed exceeds 150sq m (but does not exceed 500sq m), the developer must submit a 56 day notice to the Planning Authority for a determination as to whether or not prior approval is required in relation to:-
For buildings exceeding 150sq m, development under Class R cannot begin before written confirmation is received that either prior approval is - or is not required.
However, development / change of use can commence immediately if the LPA exceed the 56 day time limit required to make a determination.
Would-be developers need to bear in mind that although a 'use' can be changed under these permitted development rights, any alterations which would change the external appearance of the building are not (necessarily) permitted development - and thus a planning application may also be required before alterations can commence.
"Class R" in Summary
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