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Shops

Shop projects

I want to change my residential use to a shop.

Planning Permission

Planning permission would be required for such a material change of use as the proposed new use is a different use class within the planning system.

The majority of local authorities have designated shopping or commercial areas within their planning policies where they may consider such a change of use suitable. It is likely to be very difficult to gain permission outside these areas such as in a wholly residential area.

While permission is not required before work starts, if permission is refused the work will have to be undone and the authority may take formal enforcement action over a change of use without planning permission.

You may also require the consent of the landlord or landowner.

Read the guidance on the use classes within planning.

Building Regulations

The regulations define converting a home into a shop as a 'material change of use' and specify the requirements with which, as a result of that change of use, the building, or the relevant part of the building, must comply.

The specific requirements include those concerned with escape and other fire precautions, hygiene, energy conservation, and access to and use of buildings.

The building may therefore need to be upgraded to make it comply with the specified requirements.

You should also check with the local fire authority, usually the County Council, to see what 'on-going' fire precautions legislation will apply when the building is in use.

I want to convert my shop to a cafe (use class A3) or public house (A4) or takeaway (A5).

Planning Permission

Premises in shop use (A1) are able to change to café use (A3) without planning permission for a single period of up to two years.

For other material changes of use, such as to public house (A4) or takeaway (A5) planning permission would be required because the proposed new use is a different use class within the planning system.

The majority of Local Authorities will have designated shopping or commercial areas within their planning policies which often contain policies on striking a balance of uses in an area.

Some authorities may have specific polices to retain a level of retail uses.

Permission will also be required for commercial extractor flues if cooking is intended to be carried out on the premises.

The placing of tables and chairs on the highway* is very likely to require a licence from the highway authority to allow them to assess factors such as pedestrian movements, sight lines and road safety.

Changes in signage are likely to require express advertisement consent.

While permission is not required for the change of use before work starts, if permission is refused the work will have to be undone and the authority may take formal enforcement action over a change of use without planning permission.

You may also require the consent of the landlord or landowner.

*Highway refers to footways and verges associated with publicly maintained roads.

Read the guidance on the use classes within planning.

Building Regulations

The building regulations may apply to certain changes of use of an existing building even though you may think that the work involved in the project will not amount to 'Building Work'. You may wish to contact your local Building Control body for further advice.

I want to convert my shop to an office (use class B1) or Storage (B8) or other uses.

Planning Permission

Premises in shop use (A1) are able to change to office use (B1) without planning permission for a single period of up to two years.

For other material changes of use, such as to storage (B8) planning permission would be required because the proposed new use is a different use class within the planning system.

The majority of local authorities will have designated shopping or commercial areas within their planning policies which often contain policies on striking a balance of uses in an area.

Some authorities may have specific polices to retain a level of retail uses.

Changes in signage are likely to require express advertisement consent.

While permission is not required for the change of use before work starts, if permission is refused the work will have to be undone and the authority may take formal enforcement action over a change of use without planning permission.

You may also require the consent of the landlord or landowner.

Read the guidance on the use classes within planning.

Building Regulations

The building regulations may apply to certain changes of use of an existing building even though you may think that the work involved in the project will not amount to 'Building Work'. You may wish to contact your local Building Control body for further advice.

I wish to erect/change/alter my shop's adverts, fascia or projecting signs.

All advertisements require consent either from the local authority or from the legislation - the display of an advert without consent is a criminal offence.

Some adverts relating the business at the site may have deemed consent from the legislation governing adverts.

For example, many traditional, non-illuminated fascia signs and hanging signs are likely to have deemed consent subject to a number of conditions and limitations such as size.

If an advert meets all the criteria of deemed consent you will not require express consent.

Read 'Outdoor advertisements and signs: a guide for advertisers' for a detailed explanation of the planning regime for adverts and signs.

Read the details on the specifics of deemed consent.

Because inappropriate adverts can harm an area visually (and even economically) many authorities have produced supplementary guidance on the design of suitable adverts and commercial signage.

Other adverts without deemed consent will require express advertisement consent from the local authority. If the building is listed you will also require listed building consent.

You must obtain consent as it is required before an advertisement is displayed and the Local Planning Authority may take action (including prosecution) if no consent is in place.

You may also require the consent of the landlord or landowner.

Disclaimer

This is an introductory guide and is not a definitive source of legal information. Read the full disclaimer here.

This guidance relates to the planning regime for England. Policy in Wales may differ. If in doubt contact your Local Planning Authority.