Posted on: 23 May 2016

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.

Applying for planning permission:

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, 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 buildings open market value. Changes to the property could change the amount that you pay in Business Rates.

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