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:

Caroline Holloway, West Lavington

RCC Town Planning have been unreservedly helpful throughout the whole process of planning. They are always very friendly and completely professional. Our application was by no means straight forward. 

They work brilliantly with all other professionals involved, architects, engineers, etc, a real team effort, making sure all points are covered by the relevant parties and never missing a small detail that add to and might make a difference to the success of the application.

Their own report was also excellent, gained by their wide experience and knowledge. I have no hesitation in recommending them. 

Revd David Gray, Superintendent Minister North Wiltshire Methodist Circuit

We have valued the expertise of Richard Cosker and his team in helping us obtain planning permission on a redundant chapel, but at the same time there was recognition of the sensitivity needed for this project

Mr Lloyd Cromwell-Griffiths, Berkshire

Following a failed attempt to achieve Planning Permission for a very sensitive and tasteful extension to a country home I pursued a recommendation to seek the help of RCC Town Planning led by Richard Cosker. 

Three months on and with minimal effort on my part and despite the property falling under the AONB restrictions the Planning Permission has been granted with no changes to the original application. 

Thank you to Richard and his team for taking all the pain out of what can be a stressful process and for achieving a successful application. 

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