Our recent retrospective planning success for a beauty salon provides a useful example of the value planning consultants can bring to the enforcement process.
We are absolutely delighted that through proactive engagement with the enforcement team and setting a clear planning strategy from the outset, we have been able to secure the future of a successful small business enterprise.
Working from home – do I need planning permission?
We regularly receive enquiries from individuals who have been contacted by their Local Planning Authority enforcement team, enquiring about the business they run from home and whether there has been a planning breach. It can be worrying correspondence to receive, especially when it has the potential to impact on your small business enterprise.
In planning terms, trying to ascertain whether you need planning permission to work from home is very much a matter of fact and degree. Whilst in many instances if your dwelling remains a home first, and the business element does not represent a material change of use, then planning permission will not normally be required. That said, it is a grey area which is why, subject to a number of factors including the nature of the business, your local council may get in touch to request that planning permission is sought.
Common planning issues that can trigger a need for a planning application or a lawful development certificate to work from home include; client numbers, opening hours, the scale of the business operations, impact on neighbouring amenity, parking provision, noise, smells and any material changes to the building to facilitate the business operations.
It is because of the vagaries surrounding working from home that research into the planning history of the site, ascertaining how much of your home is given to working environment and assessing the site context and planning policy are key steps in preparing the correct planning strategy for each individual enquiry.
Negotiating on planning enforcement
In this case our client was running a successful beauty salon from a beautifully renovated Airstream, located within the residential curtilage of the main dwelling.
We were asked to assist following receipt of an enforcement letter from the council, requesting that an application be submitted to regularise a perceived breach in planning control. The letter set out that planning permission was required for the change of use of the land, where the Airstream was situated, for use as a beauty salon.
To add to the complexities, the site was located outside the settlement boundary, in Flood Zone 3 and in a rural context.
Following our review of the planning situation, we considered the beauty salon was in ancillary use to the dwelling and no material change of use to the land had occurred. We discussed our findings with the enforcement officer but given concerns over the complexities of the site, we submitted a retrospective application to appease and assuage council worries, which identified:
- a paucity of relevant policy;
- how the proposed operations were in benefit to the rural economy;
- evidenced why the operations on site did not create any adverse harm to countryside/rural character;
- presented a realistic fall-back option rather than the business closure;
- presented relevant case law to support the actions on site;
- evidenced the ancillary nature of the business operations within the residential context;
- proposed the use of a planning condition to secure the use of the site in the future.
Our client was thrilled that we were able to secure planning permission, avoid enforcement action and secure the future of their small business on site.
If you find yourself in a similar situation or have received correspondence from your local council enforcement team then don’t ignore it! Once a planning enforcement notice takes effect your options become severely limited. If you have concerns or need assistance with an enforcement issue, then contact Caroline via firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can best help and to receive a no obligation fee quote for our services to assist.