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Office to residential conversions

Office to residential conversions


In 2013 the Government introduced new permitted development rights to allow office buildings to be converted to residential use. This was for an initial temporary period of 3 years but they subsequently made the new rights permanent in 2016. The new permitted development rights in effect meant the council had to accept the principle of the change of use and could only consider the proposal against a number of stated criteria. These were considered via a prior approval process, which is a form of ‘streamlined’ planning application.

One of the offices prior to conversion

It was however immediately clear that planning authorities were very carefully scrutinising the prior approval applications as they were reluctant to see the loss of employment floor space. Therefore, whilst the process was meant to be more streamlined, it was essential that the prior approval applications are carefully presented to the planners addressing all the issues raised by the stated criteria. We have also found it best to provide indicative floor plan drawings to show how proposed residential use could be achieved. Extracts of some illustrative drawings used (prepared by PKA Architects) are shown.

RCC have prepared and submitted a number of prior approval applications in a variety of locations including Swindon, Bath, Weston Super Mare and Maidstone. With most submissions RCC have successfully addressed the criteria of the prior approval process within our planning submission, however, in some instances we have also included additional reports prepared by specialist consultants. All the prior approval applications submitted by RCC have been permitted. Photographs of the completed flats together with a photo of one of the office buildings prior to the conversion works are provided to view.

Latest residential testimonials:

Josh Tetley, Cirencester

Following a long neighbourly dispute about the use of our garden outbuilding we engaged Richard to apply for formal permission to use the building as a holiday let. Richard and his assistant Rachel drew up a detailed planning statement and followed through the application process and resulting queries in a thoroughly balanced and professional manner. The outcome was positive and I have already recommended RCC to others.

Philippa Gunthorp & Andy Few, Devizes

We retained the services of RCC Town Planning Consultancy to assist us in preparing and submitting a retrospective planning application to change the windows and a couple of other issues in a building that although not listed, apparently fell in the curtilage of neighbouring listed buildings.

The team are highly experienced and produce a professional, complete planning statement leaving absolutely nothing to be challenged. We dealt primarily with Vicky who kept on top of any comments posted, supplying responses where necessary and keeping us informed at every step. 

We had a positive outcome on our first application and  would definitely use Richard and his excellent team again. We would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone requiring planning assistance.

Siggi Marchetti and David Taylor, Hampshire

We are very grateful for your efficient and very professional service to steer our planning application to a successful outcome. Considering that it was far from a straightforward case it proceeded to a satisfactory conclusion without any holdups. 

This was entirely due to your comprehensive build of the case and the detail and foresight in covering all angles. Needless to say we would recommend RCC Town Planning to anyone without any hesitation.

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