Class O – offices to dwelling houses Permitted development

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Development consisting of a change of use of a building and any land within its curtilage from a use falling within Class B1(a) (offices) of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order, to a use falling within Class C3 (dwelling houses) of that Schedule.

Permitte

– To benefit, the building must have been used for a use falling in B1(a) (offices) immediately before 30 May 2013 or (if the building was not in use immediately before that date) when it was last in use.
NB: (i) Use as A2 offices or as B1(b) or B1 (c) is not sufficient, it must have been B1

(a). Class B1 (a) is Use as an office other than a use within Class A2 (financial and professional services).
(ii) The fact that a council has issued a Prior Approval does not mean it accepts this criteria is satisfied.

  • –  If there is any reason to think that a council may later assert that the B1(a) criteria was not met as at 30th May 2013, the evidence should be assessed and consideration be given to seeking a Certificate of Lawfulness
  • –  The use of the building falling within Class C3 must be begun by 30 May 2016.

NB: (i) There is nothing in the legislation (or guidance) which specifies how much of a

building with Class O Prior Approval has to be in C3 use by 30 May 2016.
(ii) Therefore, if it is anticipated that the whole of the area subject to the Prior Approval will not be in C3 use by 30 May 2016, specialist advice as to any potential risk should be sought.
(iii) The risk depends very much on the specific circumstances and the Council involved.

– Prior Approval under Class O is solely for the change of use.

NB: If any works (e.g. changes to windows) are also intended which would constitute “development”, separate planning permission needs to be obtained for such operational works.

Not Permitted

(a) The building is on article 2(5) land (attached);

(b) The building was not used for a use falling within Class B1(a) (offices) of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order—

(i) On 29th May 2013, or

(ii) In the case of a building which was in use before that date but was not in use on that date, when it was last in use;

(c) The use of the building falling within Class C3 (dwelling houses) of that Schedule was begun after 30th May 2016;

(d) The site is, or forms part of, a safety hazard area;
(e) The site is, or forms part of, a military explosives storage area;
(f) The building is a listed building or is within the curtilage of a listed building; or (g) The site is, or contains, a scheduled monument.

Conditions

Development under Class O is permitted subject to the condition that before beginning the development, the developer must apply to the local planning authority for a determination as to whether the prior approval of the authority will be required as to:

(a) transport and highways impacts of the development; (b) contamination risks on the site;
(c) flooding risks on the site,

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