Borough of Poole:  Darryl Howells has secured planning permission for the conversion of vacant floor space within a building to serviced office suites at Wimborne Road in Poole/  The client instructed Asplan Associates to prepare the drawings, but asked Darryl to submit the planning application and handle the negotiations due to his previous knowledge of the history of the site (obtained when he worked in the Borough of Poole Planning Department) and knowing the arguments needed to address the likely areas of concern.

Those areas of concern related to the loss of a community facility and the need for office accommodation outside the town centre.  The history of the site was this part of the building had approval to be used as a replacement social club (Use Class D2) when the former conservative club was redeveloped for flats six years ago. But this part  building was never finished internally and has remained vacant.  Darryl knew that the loss of the community facility would be contrary to adopted planning policies, unless he could identify alternative D2 uses elsewhere nearby.

Darryl also argued that the long history of the site having never been completed was causing harm to the  vitality of the wider area, to its detriment.

In terms of the impact of offices outside the town centre, the Local Planning Authority has a policy that prevents such development unless it can be proven that the proposed development will cause no harm to the town centre.  Darryl and the client undertook a Sequential Test to review all office accommodation in the town centre offered for lease or sale, and demonstrated why the existing accommodation would not be suitable and this particular location and building met all the client’s criteria.

The planning officer supported all of Darryl’s commentary and the scheme was approved under delegated powers.

If you have a vacant building and are unsure how to maximise its full potential with alternative uses either residential or commercial, then please contact Pure Town Planning for a free appraisal and advice.