Our recent planning application sought a change of use from B1 (office) to a mixed B1/A2 use, to enable a well known national estate agency firm to open their first office in the Gloucestershire area, at a prestigious Grade II* listed building in the centre of Cheltenham.
The site and scheme:
The site subject to this application was ideal for the proposed use, providing space for potential future expansion and benefitting from a high footfall rate.
However, site constraints included the Grade II* listed status of the building, and its location within a core commercial and central conservation area, where B1 office space is protected.
Therefore our planning submission also included an application for listed building consent, as a number of alterations were proposed to renovate and modernise the building, including the creation of an opening on the ground floor to improve operational space. External signage to the front elevation and redecoration to the exterior were also required.
Changes to a heritage asset:
Seeking to change or extend a listed building in a way that affects its character or appearance requires listed building consent. To make unauthorised changes to a listed building is a criminal offence.
We therefore prepared a robust case to justify why the proposed changes were necessary and how they were sensitive to, and would not negatively impact on, the heritage asset. These included:
- Evidence that bringing the heritage asset back into use would help prevent its slow deterioration;
- A review of relevant historic site applications, including a previous refusal for an opening on the ground floor, which we used to inform the development of the proposal;
- Assessment of other similar units in the area
- Effective consultation with the conservation officer at Cheltenham Borough Council.
We also showed how the proposed scheme supported a number of material considerations including; economic benefits associated with the business and that the proposal would make the most efficient and effective use of land by bringing an empty building back into use.
Furthermore, we were successful in highlighting the distinct advantages of establishing a dual use on site which would mean planning flexibility and would make the building easier to let in the future.
Cheltenham Borough Council approved the application without delay. Our latest planning approval has secured the space required by our client to enable them to operate a highly successful estate agency firm and help to future-proof the building by making it more user-friendly for a business use.
The planning consultants at Plainview Planning are an experienced and knowledgeable team, adept at securing planning permissions for schemes which span changes of use to housing developments. We take the time to really understand our client’s aims to ensure we can prepare and implement the most suitable and bespoke planning strategy for their development aims.