Permitted Development - Changes of Use

Don't get caught out when changing the purpose of land or buildings. Our experienced planning consultants are able to guide you through the process to achieve permission for change of use.

Permitted Development - Changes of Use  

Whilst development including the change of use of land and buildings usually requires a full planning application, Part 3 of the Second Schedule to the General Permitted Development Order (GDPO) allows the change of use of certain types of buildings through permitted development. Examples of changes of uses permitted include:

  • Agricultural buildings to Dwellings;
  • Offices to Dwellings;
  • Retail units to Dwellings;

Permitted development rights are subject to conditions and limitations. While a full planning application is not required, it is important to highlight that, in some cases, the permitted development right will require the local planning authority to approve certain matters (commonly referred to as “prior approval”).

Prior approval

Certain criteria need to be met for specific types of buildings to qualify for a change of use. Therefore, before the change of use occurs, an application seeking prior approval must be submitted to the Local Planning Authority.

The application will establish whether the existing building qualifies for permitted development and whether specific matters, such as transport and highways impacts, contamination and flooding’s risks and noise impacts are acceptable.

The Local Planning Authority has 56 days to determine the application and during this time the Planning Officer will undertake a 21-day consultation so that relevant consultees can comment on the application. Unlike a normal planning application, the Council cannot consider any other material considerations which are not outlined within the GDPO. The decision date cannot be extended, and the application cannot be called to Planning Committee.

After 56 days, the Local Planning Authority will determine if prior approval is required and approved. If, after 56 days the Local Planning Authority has not issued a decision, the Prior Approval Application has deemed consent.

Permitted development rights are subject to very specific conditions and limitations and as such, development can be excluded in several ways. It is very important to check with a planning consultant before you submit an application so that all the relevant information is presented and the building accords with all the criteria set out within the GDPO. Applications cannot easily be amended during the course of the application, so it's important that all information is correct and criteria met before submitting an application.

Advice from expert planning agents

Atlas Planning Group has vast experience with dealing with prior approval applications and therefore, to discuss your development project and planning permission conditions, please contact our team of chartered town planning consultants.


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For more information on any of our services please call us on 01722 638 008 or email