Thinking about converting an office into a house?

Can I convert an office into residential units?

The answer is yes you can and you don’t need planning permission, however, you will need to make a Prior Approval application. This is because the planning legislation allows you to make certain types of changes of use to be carried out without planning permission. Offices (B1) to residential (C3), falls within this category.

What is a Prior Approval application?

A ‘Class O’ prior approval application allows for an office to change use to residential as long as the building was in use as an office on or before 29th March 2013. There are some limitations on using a ‘Class O’ prior approval application and these include listed buildings, safety hazard zones, military explosives storage areas and ancient monuments. A ‘Class O’ prior approval application can be used for offices within a Conservation Area (unlike ‘Class Q’ – agricultural buildings to dwelling houses).

Can I extend the house once it is converted?

Class O is unique in that the prior approval allows the dwelling to retain its permitted development right. This means that you can extend your converted house without permission. However this doesn’t apply to flats or if the property is in a Conservation Area. In these cases a planning application would be required.

Recent case study of converting an office into a house

Cheffins Planning team recently secured a prior approval at the former St Andrew’s Church in Burwell, Cambridgeshire. Permission was granted for the change of use from an office (B1) to a dwelling house (C3). The permission allows the applicant or developer to convert the property to a dwelling which could mean a significant increase in value for that property.

For more information on converting an office into a residential dwelling please contact the Planning Team on 01223 271985.

St Andrews Church, Burwell

Image, St Andrews Church, Burwell, Cambridgeshire