Purbeck District Council: Darryl Howells has successfully secured full planning permission for the conversion of an existing, large ground floor retail unit into 2 smaller shops and the change of use of the rear part of the unit into 2 self-contained flats in Swanage town centre. Planning permission was secured with full planning officer support.

During the first inspection of the existing retail unit with the client, Darryl suggested rather than creating to smaller units with storage at the rear, that the size of the unit could work as two smaller retail units and two flats. Darryl then suggested how the room arrangement could work and as the rearward part of the site was sub-terrain that instead of windows providing outlook, the applicant should install roof lanterns to the lounges. The client then instructed Eric J Whapples to draw the floor plans and elevations and the planning application was submitted by Pure Town Planning.

Early discussion with Purbeck District Council highlighted that Policy RP of the Purbeck Core Strategy (adopted 2012) sought to avoid loss of existing retail units to prevent harm to the vitality and viability of the local centre. Darryl successfully persuaded the policy officer that two smaller units would add to the vitality of the area and the policy if strictly imposed would result in the unit being left vacant, causing longer detrimental impact to the retail area. Darryl also persuaded the planning officer to accept that whilst rearward flats would have limited sky views only that this type of flat is needed in urban locations, makes efficient use of the space available and that individuals need housing more than quality amenity provided by the outlook from traditionally positioned windows.

Should you have a building that you would like to utilise its maximise potential or need planning advice to create semi sub-terrain homes, then please contact Pure Town Planning for a free consultation.