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A little planning goes a long way

If you’ve spotted an empty commercial building and can see the potential to convert it to residential accommodation, the first step is to understand the situation in relation to planning permission.

Every property has a ‘use definition’ and all commercial property has this predesignated use.

A covers retail and professional offices
B is for offices and commercial premises
C encompasses various types of accommodation
D covers all kinds of organisations where the public attend, but nobody lives there -
like museums, all kinds of school, health centres, churches, etc. Also entertainment,
health and leisure premises.

Each of these categories has sub-divisions too.

This means that the type of business that can open up in the premises is limited to the use it’s been granted by council. So, to change use, you would need to get permission from your local council.

Permitted development

In 2013 the government - as an anti-austerity measure - instituted some relaxation in...

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