Row of colourful businesses

Planning permission for business premises

23 May 2016
This article is part of our Business Premises Guide
Providing information to support business owners with some of the more common decisions and considerations that you would need to take into account when moving business premises, from taking a commercial lease or buying a property to tips on who you should seek help from at each stage.
From newsagents to restaurants, all commercial properties are divided into different ‘classes’ or ‘use’ types under UK legislation. This determines and restricts what the property can be used for. If you are buying or leasing a commercial property, you need to make sure that your business matches the class types allocated to the property.

To change from one use class to another, you’ll usually need to apply for planning permission from the local planning authority. In some cases, the use of commercial property can be altered without gaining permission.

You can check which category your property of interest falls under via the Planning Portal Government Website.

Who can help? You should speak with your local Town Planner regarding any queries in respect of planning permissions or if you need to apply for a 'Change of Use' for your business premises. You should always speak to your local planning authorities/town planner ahead of any works.

You will likely need planning permission if you would like to:

  • Build something new
  • Make a major change to your building e.g an extension
  • Change the use of your building

A planning application is generally straightforward and can be done online or by post. Depending on the scope of the proposed changes and work involved, you may be able to get a reply within a few weeks.

Tip: You should check whether the works you are planning will alter your rateable value. The rateable value of a business premises is based on the building's open market value. Changes to the property could change the amount that you pay in Business Rates.

It is important to make sure that you have the right insurance in place to protect the business that you have built. Every business is different and has its own business insurance needs, which is why we work with some of the UK’s most well-known insurers to ensure that you are getting the right insurance cover for your business.
The information and tools contained in this guide are of a general informational nature and should not be relied upon as being suitable for any specific set of circumstances. We have used reasonable endeavours to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the contents but the information and tools do not constitute professional advice and must not be relied upon as such. To the extent permitted by law, we do not accept responsibility for any loss which may arise from reliance on the information or tools in our Insight Hub.