We were approached by a local developer hoping to convert a redundant church into a polyclinic, providing a range of health services all under one roof.
The church had been vacant for a couple of years, with a history of failed schemes including residential development and a school conversion. The idea of the health centre gained traction as local health providers expressed informal interest in the location. Initial pre-application advice from the Council was cautiously optimistic – however for the scheme to be successful they required a full planning application, transport assessment and S106 agreement to improve accessibility.
Plainview Planning respectfully disagreed with the Council’s recommendations. The church was an existing D1 use, and the proposed use was also D1. We prepared a thorough Planning Statement to the Council setting out the regulatory and case law background, explaining that actually the principle of the use was lawful and that no formal planning application was required. Despite initial opposition, the Council’s legal department finally signed off on a Certificate of Lawfulness.
Once the Certificate was granted we set to work applying for other works to facilitate and improve the health care offer. We secured consent for roof extensions, new external plant, and a separate hydrotherapy pool in the car park.
We saved our client the expense and constraints of an unnecessary S106 agreement and accompanying conditions, with all the consents granted on time and within budget.