Business planning (Planning Application)
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Planning a Business

You do not always need planning permission. It is not required, generally speaking, for changes to the inside of buildings, or for small alterations to the outside such as the installation of telephone connections and alarm boxes. Other small changes, for example putting up boundary walls and fences below a certain height, have a general planning permission for which a specific application is not required.

Working from home

You do not necessarily need planning permission to work from home. The key test is whether the overall character of the dwelling will change as a result of the business. If the answer to any of the following questions is "yes", then permission will probably be needed:
  1. Will your home no longer be used mainly as a private residence?
  2. Will your business result in a marked rise in traffic or people calling?
  3. Will your business involve any activities unusual in a residential area?
  4. Will your business disturb your neighbours at unreasonable hours or create other forms of nuisance such as noise or smells?

Whatever business you carry out from your home, whether it involves using part of it as a bed-sit or for "bed and breakfast" accommodation, using a room as your personal office, providing a childminding service, using rooms for hairdressing, dressmaking or music teaching, or using buildings in the garden for repairing cars or storing goods connected with a business - the key test is: is it still mainly a home or has it become business premises?

Change of use

In many cases, a change of use of a building or land does not require planning permission. For example, a greengrocer's can be changed to a shoe shop without permission. Planning permission is not required when both the present and proposed uses fall within the same "class" as defined in the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987. It is also possible to change use between some classes without making an application. Before you negotiate a lease or buy a property, it may be advisable to consider whether you need to obtain planning permission for your intended use and, if so, your chances of getting it.

Extending premises

Minor extensions, including the erection of additional buildings within the curtilage, may not need a planning application because the development is already permitted under Schedule 2 to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995. The guidance below indicates when, in general, an application for permission will or will not be required.

Factory or warehouse extensions

Planning permission will not normally be required if your extension is:
  1. less than 1000 square metres of floor space; and
  2. less than 25 per cent of the volume of the original building; and
  3. below the height of the original building.

The extension must be related to the current use of the building or the provision of staff facilities. Planning permission will be required if the extension:

  1. materially affects the external appearance of the building; or
  2. comes within five metres of the boundary of the site; or
  3. reduces the amount of space available for parking or turning of vehicles.

Volume is calculated from external measurements. "Original" means as first built, or as the building stood on 1 July 1948, if built before then. The allowance is once and for all; any previous enlargement of the building counts against these freedoms.

Building new premises

The construction of new premises nearly always needs an application for planning permission. The development plan in force in your area will give you some indication of whether your proposal is likely to be acceptable, so it is worth talking to your council before submitting an application. If there are difficulties, officers may be able to suggest ways to make your proposal more acceptable. However, they cannot guarantee that planning permission will be granted.

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