Through our meticulous research and strategic planning approach, we have secured planning approval to change the use of an existing hotel to a registered mental health residential care facility in Whitfield, South Gloucestershire. We could not be more delighted at this outcome, which is responding to an identified need for such specialist housing across the district and will be run by a respected care company, who provide quality care and support to individuals across the South West.
Planning for a change of use – establishing first principles
We help many clients secure the necessary planning permissions for their change of use applications every year. There are a number of factors which need to be considered in a change of use application, but in its essence, what you are seeking to do in planning terms is justify the loss of one use in favour of another.
In this case, key to our success was engaging proactively with our client to fully understand the requirements of the proposed specialist care facility and how it would work within the site. Next, we undertook detailed research of the site, its planning history, context, relevant policies at both local and national levels, sourced suitable precedents and weighed all this up against the development aspirations of our client. This helped us to establish from the outset, the most robust planning strategy for helping our client to realise their ambitions and the most effective approach to move the project forwards.
Making the case for a change of use
Although historic attempts to secure planning permission for new dwellings on site had not been supported, due to its countryside location outside of the settlement boundary, we felt sure that given the unique offer of the proposals, we could make a strong case in favour of the scheme in this rural location. Our approach included:
- clarity in communication – discussing the overarching aims of the project with both the case officer and relevant stakeholders was crucial, especially given the site’s complex planning history and location;
- meticulous research – not only in terms of evidencing an identified need for this type of specialist care accommodation, but also in terms of identifying the economic and social benefits of the proposals;
- robust evidence base – we presented considered evidence to show why the loss of the existing hotel use was justifiable in this case;
- evidencing the planning balance – our knowledge and experience meant we were able to effectively identify and evidence the sustainable credentials of the scheme despite the challenging planning designations on site.
The project outcome
We enjoyed a very positive and proactive working relationship with the council on this project and were so pleased when planning approval for the change of use was secured for this multi-faceted scheme.
This planning approval will enable a specialist mental health rehabilitation facility to be provided. Comprising 12 ensuite bedrooms, an additional training flat with its own kitchen, educational rooms, office space, kitchens and a therapy and relaxation suite, the service will provide a stepping stone from a hospital setting to the community, ensuring that residents are given the support, training and guidance required to live successfully and independently within the community when they are ready. We are so glad to have been able to secure this valuable planning permission for our client and we hope it will bring great support and assistance to the community it seeks to serve.
If you need planning assistance with a commercial change of use then don’t hesitate to contact Caroline via email@example.com to see how we can best assist and to receive a no obligation fee quote for our services.
IMAGE SOURCE: Unsplash 2019