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Planning application for a change of use of a former art gallery to a new restaurant and two bedroom flat approved in King's Lynn Norfolk



Planning Consultancy

Change of Use Planning Applications

The "Use Classes Order" in the context of planning in the United Kingdom's town and country planning system categorises various types of land use in the UK. These categories are crucial for determining planning permissions and development control.

Here's a brief overview:

  1. Use Classes: The order establishes a set of classes that group similar land uses together. For example, a shop would be in a different class than a residential house or an industrial warehouse.

  2. Changing Uses: If you want to change the use of a building or land from one class to another, you might need to apply for planning permission. However, in some cases, changes between certain classes are permitted without needing to obtain planning permission. These are known as "permitted development rights."

  3. Sui Generis: Some uses don't fall into any particular class and are considered "sui generis." This term means "of its own kind." For example, a scrapyard or a petrol station would be sui generis. Any change from a sui generis use typically requires planning permission.

  4. Purpose: The purpose of the Use Classes Order is to streamline the planning process. By grouping similar uses together, it reduces the need for planning permission for minor changes of use that are unlikely to impact the local environment or amenity.

  5. Reforms and Changes: Over time, the specifics of the Use Classes Order have been adjusted and changed to reflect new types of development and shifts in policy. As of my last update in September 2021, there were changes made in 2020 to simplify the system and support high street diversification. This led to the creation of a new broad class, Class E, which combined several previously separate classes related to commercial, business, and service uses.


If you're considering a development or change of use in the UK, or if you're studying planning, it's vital to refer to the most current version of the Use Classes Order and related guidance to understand the requirements and implications.

A Change of Use application for Change of Use planning permission can be required in many different circumstances. In the UK, it is a legal obligation to obtain land use consent, and a Change of Use can apply if you want to change retail premises to office premises, or storage premises to retail premises.

The important consideration when looking at a Change of Use is ensuring that your Change of Use planning application is carefully considered to ensure that it has the best prospects of success. 

If you need advice about change of use planning permission and what the process involves, get in touch with our friendly and experienced team today. 


EN-PLAN has expertise in planning law and Change of Use planning permission can help you with obtaining land use consent. We can also give advice on the change of use application requirements and negotiating your responsibilities within this sector.

Change of Use Application Requirements

Change of Use Planning permission is often required for any change of use regardless of any alterations of ownership. There may be Change of Use application requirements, and we can guide you through your change of use application.

Whilst there are some classes of use that do not require planning permission (as set out in the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes Order) 1987), we are often asked to help clients that initially believed they did not need Change of Use planning permission. By this time often money has been spent on the cost of a change of use application which is ultimately wasted.

Early initial advice on land use consent from our change of use planning permission experts can help avoid unnecessary costs and advise as to the change of use application requirements and the cost of change of use application.


If you have changed the use of a property or building and you have not obtained permission, you may be protected under the change of use 4 year rule, or the change of use 10 year rule.

Change of use 4 year rule. The change of use 4 year rule applies to a building, or part of a building, which is changed to a single dwelling house. Under this rule, if the change of use occurred more than 4 years ago, the development is immune from enforcement action.  A four-year limit also applies to building operations carried out without permission. For example, if you build a garage and run a business from it, it will take four years for the garage and the use to become legal. 

However, the enforcement immunity may not apply if you have deliberately concealed the development from the local enforcement authority. This issue is complex and expert advice is required. 

Change of use 10 year rule.

The change of use 10 year rule applies to changes of use to any use other than a single-dwelling house. 

Under the change of use 10 year rule, once the building has been used for the same purpose for 10 years, the change of use automatically becomes legal.

For example, if you run a business from your garage (which has planning permission for domestic use only), it will take 10 years for the change of use to become lawful.

As with the four year rule above, the immunity may not apply if you have deliberately concealed the change of use in question. Expert advice is recommended. 

Change of Use from Commercial to Residential

If you would like to change the use of your property or land from commercial to residential, you may need to submit an application.

Advice for change of use office to residential 

It is best to confirm whether you are obliged to make such an application before work commences, as this will ensure you do not waste time and money. If you have already started on the development and you later discover a change of use application is required, you can still obtain planning permission, although there is the danger it will be refused.


Case Study: Change of use of part of the existing forecourt to allow for vehicle sales | Newtown Garage Newtown Baschurch Shrewsbury Shropshire SY4 2AY - Application Reference 23/00320/COU.















This application relates to the change of use of part of the existing forecourtassociated with Newton Garage in Baschurch to provide ten parking spaces for vehicle sales.

Newton Garage consists of a large workshop building built from a brick lower section with corrugated steel sheeting upper section and roof. A rough hard surfaced forecourt is provided between the existing building and pavement edge. A green footpath runs along the northern boundary of the site and provides access
into the village from a residential estate to the west. Four modern residential properties are located to the south east of the site, whilst the Spar store is located directly to the south. An access road along the southern boundary of the site provide access for the garage, the four dwellings and the Spar. The main B5067 road runs along the western boundary with residential properties opposite.

The proposed site has been used as a garage workshop undertaking repairs, services and MOTs since the 1960’s and historically included petrol sales. Planning permission was granted in 1977 for the erection of a replacement garage workshop (application ref. NS/77/00214/FUL). However, there are no restrictive
conditions regarding the use or hours of operation. The garage site was historically larger and included car sales on land adjacent to the boundary with Newton Farmhouse and the parking of six coaches along the south east boundary. However, planning permission was granted in 2012 for a Spar convenience store
(application ref. 11/04795/FUL) on the site of the former bungalow and car sales area and for the erection of four dwellings (application ref. 12/02823/FUL) on the land used for the parking of the coaches. The former garage site has therefore significantly been reduced over the years to that indicated in this application. Newton Garage now provides MOTs, serving, repairs, welding and replacement
cam belts. The garage is open from 8:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday and is closed on Saturday and Sunday.


The existing planning use of the garage workshop for repairs, services and MOTs is B2 ‘industrial use’, whilst the proposed use of the forecourt for the sale of cars would fall under a sui generis use and therefore requires planning permission. The slight diversification of this rural business to enable a small scale element of vehicle sales which would compliment the existing repair business is supported in

Having regard to the nature of the business and number of daily customers the front forecourt is significantly larger than required. The northern section of the forecourt has been chosen to locate the second hand cars for sale which will be enclosed by removable bollards for security. An area of the forecourt directly adjacent to the access has been designated for the customer vehicles to
be parked awaiting works. These are approximately 10 metres away from the front of the workshop building and roller shutter door. The existing business has two vehicular entrances one from the wide dropped kerb along Newton Road running along the western boundary and the second off the small side road which serves the Spar and five residential properties. There is also a dropped kerb directly on the junction between Newton Road and the small side road. The proposed second hand car sales area will only accommodate ten vehicles. It is therefore not envisaged that this will generate significant levels of customers arriving and viewing the cars at the same time. The remaining forecourt could easily accommodate over six other vehicles without compromising the two accesses, the MOT/serving spaces or access to the workshop entrance. Newton Road is also a straight wide road and has no parking restrictions.
6.5.6 Officers acknowledge the highways comments although it is considered that the remaining forecourt for customers vehicles to be parked awaiting works and for customer viewing the second hand cars is more than adequate and that this would not comprise the movement of vehicles on site or result in any highway safety implications.


The proposed use of a small area of the existing forecourt to provide second hand car sales will compliment the existing repair garage and is acceptable in principle. The proposed vehicle sales area will not result in any visual impact on the street scene, whilst the layout will not result in any significant highway safety concerns. In arriving at this decision the Council has used its best endeavours to work with
the applicants in a positive and proactive manner to secure permission.

Case Study: 22/01949/FUL | Change of use of approved annex to new holiday cottage | Proposed Development Land To The South Of Danesford Bridgnorth Shropshire.

This application is for the conversion of an existing annex building into a holiday letunit. The annex building was constructed as a timber chalet after 2010 as Planning Application Ref: 10/03356/FUL for the erection of one timber chalet was Withdrawn on 3rd November 2010. The building served as an annex to the dwelling at 'Green Acre' approximately 275m to the north east and across the A442, which was sold off separately in 2013, however the applicant has continued to use the annex for holidays. It is declared on the submitted application form that the change of use of the annex to a holiday cottage has already been completed from 12th April 2022. The building measures approximately 14.45m wide x 7.55m in depth and internally comprises a kitchen, dining room, lounge, store, two bedrooms, a dressing room, bathroom, WC, with an external veranda across the full width of the south facing front elevation. It is constructed with a shallow dual pitched roof and side gables, horizontal timber cladding and centrally positioned double doors opening onto the veranda with steps up from ground level. There is additionally a detached 3m x
4.6m store building off the south eastern corner of the chalet, and a detached 6.2m x5.4m double garage adjacent to the west facing side elevation. Access is proposed as existing.

LDF Core Strategy Policy CS5 states that new development will be strictly controlled in the countryside in accordance with National Planning Policies protecting the countryside and Green Belt for which there are further controls. Again, development proposals on appropriate sites which maintain and enhance
countryside vitality and character will be permitted where they improve sustainability of rural communities by bringing local economic and community benefits. Amongst the types of development listed in this policy as being appropriate rural development are:
· Small-scale new economic development diversifying the rural economy, and,
· The conversion or replacement of suitably located buildings for small scale economic development/employment generating use.
· Conversion of rural buildings which take account of and make a positive contribution to the character of the buildings and the countryside including tourism uses.
Similarly the intention described within paragraph 84 of the NPPF is to support economic growth in rural areas in order to create jobs and prosperity by taking a positive approach to sustainable new development including:
· Support sustainable rural tourism and leisure developments which respect the character of the countryside. Policy CS16 supports development that delivers high quality, sustainable rural tourism, and cultural and leisure development, which enhances the vital role that these sectors play for the local economy, benefits local communities and visitors, and is sensitive to Shropshire’s intrinsic natural and built environment qualities. Emphasis shall be placed on specific types of development which includes
development of high quality visitor accommodation in accessible locations served by a range of services and facilities and which enhances the role of Shropshire as a tourist destination to stay. In rural areas, proposals must be of an appropriate scale and character for their surroundings, be close to or within settlements, or an established and viable tourism enterprise where accommodation is required. Where possible existing buildings should be re-used. Policy CS6 of the Shropshire Council Local Development Framework Core Strategy states that development should conserve and enhance the built, natural and historic environment and be appropriate in its scale and design taking account of local character and context. It further states that development should safeguard residential and local amenity. Policy MD2 of the SAMDev Plan builds on Policy CS6 providing additional detail on how sustainable design will be achieved. LDF Core Strategy Policy CS17 is also concerned with design in relation to its environment,
but places the context of the site at the forefront of consideration i.e. that any development should protect and enhance the diversity, high quality and localcharacter of Shropshire’s built, natural and historic environment and does not adversely affect the values and function of these assets.

Holiday lets are essentially residential properties in the countryside which are limited in the extent of their occupation by conditions attached to a Planning Permission. They encompass a wide range of building types, from chalets to barn conversions, and may be supported as residential units in the countryside on the basis of their contribution to economic sustainability particularly the local tourism base. The site is located in open countryside, however could be described as adjacent to the Market Town of Bridgnorth which has attraction as a holiday destination as it is only around 500m outside the development boundary. The building cannot be described as a Heritage Asset, however would be a re-use of an existing chalet
building of approximately 10 years old which is structurally sound and has been used by the applicant as a holiday home and it is understood has already been let commercially since April 2022. Both the external and internal facilities are considered to be appropriate and desirable as a holiday facility. The location of the building is not within close distance of neighbouring dwellings and the site benefits from ample natural screening. Therefore, on balance and in this instance, the proposed use of this existing chalet building for tourist accommodation is acceptable in principle.

Green Belt Policies CS5, MD6 and Section 13 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) require that the openness, permanence and visual amenity of the land within its boundaries are preserved. Inappropriate development is, by definition, harmful to the Green Belt and should not be approved except in very special circumstances. Paragraph 150 states that certain forms of development are not inappropriate in the Green Belt provided they preserve its openness and do not conflict with the purposes of including land within it. These include the re-use of buildings provided that the buildings are of permanent and substantial construction. Therefore the use of the existing chalet for holiday let purposes is not contrary to Green Belt Policy as it would be a re-use of an existing building of permanent and substantial construction, and does not conflict with the purposes of including land within the Green Belt.

The existing established access from the A442 is considered to be suitable for the proposed use in respect of highway safety, where the opening is wide, permanently finished in tarmac and at a straight stretch of the main road where the speed limit is set at 40mph. There is sufficient parking on site which includes a double garage.

It is considered that the proposed development is not contrary to adopted planning policy in this instance as it would re-use an existing 10 year old chalet building in the Green Belt for holiday let purposes. The development would be a small scale new economic development which respects the character of the surrounding area.

Case study: Two-storey side extension and change of use from residential (use class C3) to a mixed use of residential and pre-school nursery provision (use class E(f)) - 1, GORWAY GARDENS, WALSALL, WS1 3BJ - Application Reference 23/0049.

En-Plan were approached by the owners of a nursery in  Walsall to assist with a planning application that would extend a residnetial unit and allow for the partiak conversion of the ground floor into a nursery.

The information set out in the application would allow the Planning Department to apporve the application and allow for the establishment of a sustainable business that would support local mothers and the broader community.



The Existing Site & Immediate Surroundings


The site lies within the Highgate area of Walsall which is a predominantly residential area with a small selection of commercial and recreational uses in the immediate area.


The property is a post war detached unit, that characterise the vernacular of Gorway Gardens with the wider area characterised by a mixture of tenures and styles.

The growing need for chilcare in Walsall

The growing need for childcare in Walsall, like in many other areas, is influenced by several factors. Here are a few possible reasons for the increased demand for childcare services in Walsall:

  1. Population Growth: If Walsall's population is increasing, it can result in a higher demand for childcare services. As more families settle in the area, the need for quality childcare options for their children naturally rises.

  2. Working Parents: With more parents joining the workforce or pursuing education, there is a greater need for reliable childcare. Families require safe and nurturing environments where their children can be looked after while they are at work or school.

  3. Early Education: Many parents recognize the benefits of early childhood education for their children's development. Preschool or early learning programs are in demand as parents seek to give their children a head start in their educational journey.

  4. Government Initiatives: Government policies and initiatives can also impact the demand for childcare. If there are subsidies, grants, or other support programs available to families, it can increase the number of parents seeking childcare services.

To address the growing need for childcare in Walsall, it is crucial for local authorities, policymakers, and service providers to collaborate. This may involve expanding existing childcare facilities, encouraging the establishment of new ones, and ensuring the availability of qualified childcare professionals. By investing in childcare infrastructure and implementing supportive policies, the community can meet the increasing demand for quality childcare services in Walsall.

Concept of the Proposed Development


The proposed daily schedule is 7:45-5:45 and the adjacent highway network is very quiet during these times. The Nursery will provide care for children in Walsall whose parents are working and need good child care. The Nursery will also be looking after children who are funded by the government and these will be in 2- and 3-year-old bracket. The Nursery will also offer care to children whose parents attend the Wolverhampton university Walsall campus as the proposed nursery is on the same road.


Parents can travel to the proposed nursery using public transport. Bus stops to Walsall and Birmingham centres are located five, minutes’ walk away.


Parking will be available on Gorway Road throughout the day and there is also parking available on the side roads as the road is very quiet.  Parents can also park at the cricket club car park by Little Crickets Nursery, which is run by the applicants.

Access Issues


The application site has extensive parking as shown by the submitted parking plan and there is extensive on road parking in the locality on this quiet street should this be required at any point.  The proposed use of different drop off time slots will ensure no impact upon the adjacent highway network.


Impact of the Proposed Development and Mitigation Strategy


Ultimately, the specified programme of works will benefit the community by increasing care facilities in the locality and augment the existing Little Crickets nursery by offering nursery facilities for very young pre-schoolers.


In terms of parking and traffic flow the nursery will arrange a time slot with each parent to ensure children are dropped and picked up at different times to other families to ensure less cars on the road at the same time. This is how Littke Crickets Nursery (which the applicants run) operates at present.


The Nursery also provides an invaluable resource for young mums who are studying nursing and teaching at the Walsall campus university have had to look for nursery providers in Walsall or Birmingham to look after their children and then travel to the University. The proposed Nursery will provide childcare for these mums and dads who are returning to higher education. The new nursery will also open opportunities for apprenticeships for students studying in childcare from Walsall College and Wolverhampton University.




With the above points in the mind Planning Consent was granted for a sympathetic and sustainable residential and nursery unit to operate in the locality with no detrimental impact upon visual or residential amenity.  The extensive site parking and proposed drop off schedule ensure there will be no impact upon the adjacent highway network.


In terms of sustainability the proposal has beneficial impact in terms of social and economic with a neutral impact upon the immediate environment,

Further Information


En-Plan look forward to answering any questions you may have as part of a free no obligation consultation to begin the planning and development process. We can lead you through the planning and construction process witha combination of our Planing Consultancy and Architetcural Design Servies whether you are extending a house, building a new one, or have a listed building in need or urgent repar and maintenace, and we have the knowledge and experience to help you.

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Shropshire Office


Back Lane

Bomere Heath



Norfolk Office

34 Queen Elizabeth Avenue

Kings Lynn


PE30 4BX

En-Plan: Planning & Architecture Chartered Planning Consultants


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