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Change of Use

Change of Use Planning - Within the same Use Class or from one Use Class to another.

What is Change of use?

Anything that is considered to be a ‘material’ change of use needs planning permission. What is determined as material will depend on the circumstances of each case and is decided by the local planning authority (LPA)


A Change of Use Application is submitted to change the use of an existing building from one planning class to another, for example from Class E, a retail shop or restaurant to a sui generis use. Other changes are permitted development or require some form of prior approval or notification.

We have worked on many projects where the conversion of a building included a change of use.

Please take a look through the various sectors in the menu above, where you will find links to some of the many projects we have worked on, where one planning class has been changed to another.  Change of use planning is very common, but the procedure can be quite complicated. Plande has huge experience in this field and can even achieve a positive outcome where others have failed.


Contact our Change of Use team by completing the form or by using the details below:

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What Are The Two Main Types of Change of Use Planning?


When a business moves from one primary function to another then this will require a change of use planning permission application. This involves changing the use of a business premises from one planning class to another. This happens frequently on the high street when for example, a former betting shop becomes a retail shop. A former restaurant may change into a takeaway.

These include changing the use of retail premises to any other planning class, such as Tuition Centres or Drinking Establishments amongst others. Please look at Use Classes in the Sectors menu for more examples.


The process is also prevalent in the private residential sector, for example, Barn conversions. involving the change of use of rural buildings into a dwellinghouse or converting a commercial property to residential. These changes will require a ‘change of use application’ to be submitted in order to obtain the appropriate permission.

Another example is where a large building is converted into flats. Please take a look through the classes above for the example which applies to you.

Change of use also covers agricultural land being changed to residential, and permitted development change of use, such as changing offices into apartments.

Some changes of use to residential are covered by Prior Approval applications.



The following are a sample of interesting or challenging projects.

How Can Plande Help?


Plande has experience of working on change of use planning applications with local Planning Authorities right across the UK. It is this local knowledge that puts us way ahead of our competition. We give you all the help and assistance necessary to get the job done ,in the most cost-efficient and effective way.


We provide detailed help and advice and arrange for the necessary drawings and supporting information. This includes location plans, site plans, floor plans, elevations and reports, such as Noise Impact Assessments and Heritage Statements. We do whatever it takes to obtain your change of use planning permission.

Can You Work with My Existing Architect?

We’ll work with your existing Architect or Design Team if you already have one appointed.


A Summary Of What Plande's Services

  • New business owners – Get consent for your business premises.
  • Submit planning applications for all Class A, B, C, D, E, F and Sui Generis use classes.
  • Submit plans for commercial to residential projects.
  • Work on vacant property conversions – bringing a new lease of life to unused properties.
  • Attain other approvals such as advertisement consent for commercial schemes to maximise your property value
You maximise your property value

Change of Use FAQ's

How long does it take to get a change of use?

You can expect the planning process to take around 8-13 weeks. It also depends on the local planning authority and the complexity of the project. It can take longer, for example, if the local planning authority needs to consult with other bodies or if objections are raised.

If the change of use that is complex, such as changing a commercial property to a residential property, or changing a property in a conservation area, the planning process can take longer.

Can change of use be refused?

Yes, change of use can be refused. There are a number of reasons why a local planning authority may refuse a proposed change of use application:

1. If it had a negative impact on the local environment or the character of the area.
2. If it generated too much traffic or noise.
3. If it wasn’t in line with the local planning authority’s planning policies.
4. If it was harmful to the amenity of local residents.

If your change of use application is refused you will be given reasons for the refusal. You may be able to amend your application and resubmit it, or you may be able to appeal the decision to the Planning Inspectorate.

Here are some tips to help you increase your chances of getting a change of use application approved:

1. Make sure your application is well-prepared and includes all of the necessary information.
2. Be prepared to address any concerns that the local planning authority may have.
3. Hire an experienced planning consultant to help you with the application process.


Disclaimer: This page provides an introduction only and is not a definitive statement of the law and should therefore not be relied upon. The information above relates to England only. Policies across the rest of the UK may differ. Contact your Local Planning Authority for advice and confirmation before any works are carried out. All images used are for illustrative purposes only. Read the full disclaimer here.

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Whether you need an expert on your team to secure change of use permission for a major mixed-use scheme or a unique self-build home, our fresh planning insights will help you achieve your goal.