Changes to Need for Planning Permission

Prior Notification – Class J (PNJ): Part 3, Schedule 2

From 30 May 2013, Class J, Part 3 will be inserted into the Town and Country Planning General Permitted Development Order 1995 (As Amended). This allows, for a 3 year period (until 30 May 2016) and subject to specific land designations (being outside a safety hazard area and not being listed) and prior notification to the local planning authority, the change of use of a building and any land within its curtilage to a use falling within Class C3 (dwelling houses) from a Class B1a (office) use.

The change of use from B1a (office) to C3 (residential) is subject to the condition that before beginning the development, the developer shall apply to the local planning authority for a determination as to whether the prior approval of the authority will be required as to:

  • Transport and highways impacts of the development;
  • Contamination risks on the site; and
  • Flooding risks on the site.

To determine any prior approval application, the developer/applicant is required to submit details of the proposal, site and any other information deemed necessary for the local planning authority to assess the potential transport and highway impacts and flooding and contamination risks.

On receipt of all necessary information, the local planning authority will notify adjoining occupiers / owners or display a site notice; and consult the relevant highway authority (to assess transport and highway impacts) and the Environment Agency (for any sites within Flood Zones 2 and 3). This consultation process will not be less than 21 days.

When accessing an application, the local planning authority will take account of any representation made and have regard to the National Planning Policy Framework. In relation to contamination risks, if it is determined that the site will be contaminated land, prior approval will be refused.

The applicants are advised the development shall not be begun before they have received:

  • Written notice from the local planning authority that prior approval is not required,
  • Written notice from the local planning authority giving their prior approval, or
  • The expiry of 56 days following the date on which the application was received by the local planning authority without the authority notifying the applicant as to whether prior approval is given or refused.

The development must be carried out in accordance with the details approved (where prior approval is required), or in accordance with the detail provided with the notification submission (unless the local planning authority and the developer agreed otherwise).

Applicants are advised the prior approval process does not include the issuing of a Certificate of Lawful Development. If applicants want formal confirmation that the change of use is permitted development, it is still necessary to submit an application for a Certificate of Lawful Development.

What information do I need to submit a notification application?

Prior Notification of Class J - change of use from B1a (office) to C3 (residential) (Town and Country Planning General Permitted Development Order 1995 (As Amended) Class J, Part 3, Schedule 2)

Before beginning the development, the applicant/developer shall provide the following information to the local planning authority.

1. Developer's Contact Details

  • Name
  • Contact address (house number, street name, town, county, post code)
  • Contact phone number
  • Email address (if the developer is content to receive communications electronically)

2. Written description of the proposed development

3. Detail /plan of site and development

If the local planning authority considers the information submitted is insufficient to assess this impact, they may ask for more information. To avoid any possible delays, it is recommended you submit the following information at this initial notification stage:

  • A plan which identifies the land to which the application relates drawn to an identified scale and showing the direction of North.
  • A plan showing the proposed development:
    • Existing and proposed block plan of the site (e.g. at a scale of 1:500, or 1:200 or 1:100).
    • Existing and proposed floor plans (e.g. at a scale of 1:100 or 1:50).

4. Assessment of impacts

Given the local planning authority has only 56 days to determine such applications, it is imperative to ensure all necessary information is submitted with the original submission to enable the local planning authority assess the potential highway, contamination and flooding risks. Any application should be supported with an assessment of the impacts or risks; and include a statement setting out how impacts or risks are to be mitigated.

Highways risks

Please contact the Development Control Team to determine the level of information required. Depending on the scale of the development and its location, this may include

  • Travel Plan
  • Transport statement
  • Unilateral undertaking to remove car parking permits in community parking zones already over-subscribed
  • Parking surveys

Flooding risks

Applicants/developers are encouraged to use the following website links and flood risk standing advice to identify information requirements. If you are still in doubt as to the status of your site and what information is necessary for the prior notification submission, please Development Control Team.

Is your property within flood zone 2 or 3?

Flood zone maps are produced by the Environment Agency with a nationally consistent delineation of "high" (flood zone 3) and "medium" (flood zone 2) flood risk. Applicants need to identify the flood risk to their site.

What is needed to be included in a Flood Risk Assessment?

Flood Emergency Plan

  • In addition to a Flood Risk Assessment, a flood emergency plan may be required to ensure the proposed use is safe and to reduce the risk to life, mitigate damage and enable a safe and well organised evacuation of occupants of premises during a flood event. This is particularly necessary where the change of use would lead to a higher flood risk vulnerability.

Local planning authorities are required to have regard to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) when determining an application. Therefore applicants are advised to refer to chapter 10 'Meeting the challenge of climate change, flooding and coastal change' within the NPPF, as well as to the Technical Guidance to the NPPF, and address within their submission an assessment of impacts or risks, and how the impacts or risks are to be mitigated.

Contamination risks

Definition of Contaminated Land: Section 78A(2) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990: "contaminated land" is any land which appears to the local authority in whose area it is situated to be in such a condition, by reason of substances in, on or under the land that - (a) significant harm is being caused or there is a significant possibility of such harm being caused; or (b) significant pollution of controlled waters is being caused, or there is a significant possibility of such pollution being caused.

Regard must be had to the Contaminated Land Statutory Guidance issued by Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in April 2012.

Page last updated: 08/06/2017