Change of use success will revitalise empty industrial building in Maldon, Essex


Our recent change of use from a restrictive sui generis boat building use to Class B8 has enabled the regeneration of a large empty industrial building in Maldon, Essex.

Site context:

Located on the quayside of a maritime town, the site was used to manufacture boats and sails but due to a long term decline locally and nationally, the industry has rationalised.  

The site became vacant in 2015 and at 1,410 sq m the closure of the building left a large empty unit within a prominent location along the quayside.

The industrial building had further complications, with an extensive and restrictive planning history to negotiate.  

Making the case for a change of use:

We were approached to assist with a change of use application for the site, turning it from sui generis boat building and sailmaking to B8 storage, which would enable the site to be put back into use once more.  

As the Council’s local plan position was in flux and undergoing review by an Inspector, we assessed the proposed change of use against the National Planning Policy Framework, the relevant saved policies of the Maldon District Local Plan (adopted 2004) and the policies contained within the emerging Local Development Plan.

The sui generis designation is applied to uses which do not fall within any use class.  However, our review of the site’s planning history revealed that the Council had previously considered the existing use to be that of employment for policy purposes. Therefore we were able to justify how the proposed change of use would be fully compliant with local and emerging policy by retaining a business and employment use on a site within a vacant commercial building.  

We also identified how the proposed change of use would not have a negative impact on neighbouring amenity but rather would go some way in restoring the area’s original character, revitalising a large, empty industrial unit and maintaining employment use on site.

Positive engagement and negotiation with the local authority meant that the proposed change of use was approved and a vacant building brought back to life.

The team at Plainview Planning get involved in many change of use applications; from offices, restaurants and community uses to gyms, yoga studios and medical centres.  Contact us via and we look forward to helping you.