Planning guidance for change of use of property or land

If you want to change the use of a building or land, you may need planning permission. There are developments which are 'permitted' and some which need permission.

Planning permission is not usually needed when both the existing and proposed new uses fall within the same 'Use Class'.   It is also possible to change uses between some classes without making an application.

Most alterations to business premises do need planning permission, including:

  • all shop and office extensions
  • alterations to shop fronts
  • external security shutters or grilles

What is a Material Change of Use?

The change in the use of any land or existing building may need planning permission. The "Use Classes Order" categorises many common uses into groups. Generally, if the change falls within the same group, e.g. from one kind of shop to another, permission is not required. However, this may depend on the circumstances and especially on the change in any impact on the wider environment. You should consult with us over the need for permission for a change of use. However there are different and more stringent restrictions in Conservation Areas and for listed buildings. 

If you are in doubt whether planning permission is required, you should contact Development Management.