Are there any similar PD rights under which commercial property can benefit? 

Are there any similar PD Rights like the ‘Class AA’ , whereby some houses can potentially obtain planning for an additional storey or two.  Are they any similar PD rights under which commercial property can benefit? 

 

There is a PD right called ‘Class AB’ that some commercial properties could benefit from.
Class AB would allow you to build new flats above commercial units and above residential units that are on top of a commercial unit. For example, you can build on top of existing flats that are above a shop with this new PD. How many storeys you can add depends on whether your building is part of a terrace, semi-detached or detached property. Terraced and semi-detached properties may add one storey, detached properties can add two. With the new Class AB the government has made it possible to add up to two storeys in the airspace above any terraced or semi-detached building that is either:
Class A1 (shops), Class A2 (financial and professional services), Class A3 (restaurants and cafes), Class B1(a) (offices), a betting office, payday loan shop or launderette (all sui generis) or mixed-use along with residential C3 which result in shops etc. and flats above.

In other words, the building could be a row of shops with nothing above in which case you can add one storey. It could be a row of shops with one or more storeys of flats above them, or shops with retail space above them. In the latter two situations you may add up to two new storeys. You can go as high as 18 metres with the finished development. This can also be on part of the block, subject to a maximum additional height of 3.5 metres in the case of a single storey of shops etc. or 7 metres over surrounding roofs if more than one storey.

The building must have been constructed between 1 July 1948 and 5 March 2018 and can’t have previously been extended upwards. One important factor is that neither the current or future flats can be C4 via Class L or Sui Generis HMOs. You are limited to C3 dwellings only. An HMO would require full planning.

What else might prevent me from taking advantage? 

You cannot use this permitted development right of Class AB for Article 2(3) land, SSSIs, listed buildings, scheduled monuments, a safety hazard area, a military explosives area or within three kilometres (1.86 miles) of an aerodrome. Article 2(3) land includes conservation areas.

The main requirements of Class AB are as follows:

  • The additional storey(s) must be constructed on the principal part of the building
  • The height of the highest part of the roof of the extended building (not including plant) cannot be greater than 18 metres.
  • The floor to ceiling height of any additional storey (measured internally) cannot exceed the lower of 1) 3 metres, or 2) the floor to ceiling height (measured internally) of any storey of the principal part of the existing building.
  • The height of the highest part of the roof of the extended building cannot exceed the height of the highest part of the roof of the existing building (not including plant, in each case) by more than 3.5 metres (if the existing building consists of one storey) or 7 metres (if the existing building consists of more than one storey).
  • The height of the highest part of the roof of the extended building cannot exceed the height of the highest part of the roof of every other building in the row of terrace
    buildings of which it forms part (not including plant, in each case) by more than 3.5 metres.
  • Any engineering operations cannot include the provision of visible support structures on or attached to the exterior of the building upon completion of the development.
  • Any engineering operations are limited to works (within the existing curtilage of the building) to strengthen existing walls or foundations, or to install or replace services.
  • The installation of additional plant (on the roof of the extended building) is only allowed if there is existing plant on the building.
  • The height of any replacement or additional plant (as measured from the lowest surface of the new roof on the
    principal part of the extended building) cannot exceed the height of any existing plant (as measured from the lowest
    surface of the existing roof on the principal part of the existing building).
  • Any new access to and egress from the new dwelling houses and existing premises cannot extend beyond the curtilage of the existing building.
  • Any new storage, waste or other ancillary facilities cannot extend beyond the curtilage of the existing building.
  • Any new storage, waste or other ancillary facilities cannot be situated on land forward of a wall that either: 1) forms the principal elevation of the existing building or, 2) fronts a highway and forms a side elevation of the existing building.

There a few considerations that the local authority will need to consider as part of the prior approval. These are transport and highways impact, air traffic and defence assets, contamination, flood risk, external appearance, natural light in all habitable rooms, impact of noise from any commercial premises on the intended occupiers of the new flats, impact of the introduction of, or an increase in, a residential use of premises in the area on the carrying on of any trade, business or other use of land in the area, impact upon amenity space
of the existing building and neighbouring ones, overlooking/ privacy/loss of light, impact on a protected view identified in the Directions Relating to Protected Vistas.

How do I apply? And what’s the process?

Class AB requires a Prior Approval application to the local authority and should be decided within eight weeks or 56 days. You will need to supply floor plans, the number of dwellings and a list of addresses of all flats currently in the block. You will also need to submit a flood risk report if required and information on the various considerations that the local authority will need to consider. There is however no deemed consent if the decision has not been made within this period of time. Here at Sam Planning we are currently processing and submitting a few Class AB applications. Should you wish to know more, or have interest in applying please get in touch!

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