Dorset Council: Matt Annen, Director of Pure Town Planning is pleased to have recently received a prior approval consent in respect of a Class O Prior Approval (change of use of Office B1(a) to residential C3) for the conversion of an office building into 6 flats in Weymouth.

The site is located in the Town Centre Area, Town Centre Conservation Area and fell within flood zones 2 and 3.

Development under Class O is permitted subject to determination as to whether the prior approval of the authority will be required for:

(a) transport and highways impacts of the development, b) contamination risks on the site, (c) flooding risks on the site, (d) impacts of noise from commercial premises on the intended occupiers of the development,

The Highway Authority were consulted and raised no objection. As no ground works were to be undertaken the Environmental Health Officer accepted that the change of use would have little, if any, contamination risk. Because the building fell within flood zones 2 and 3 a FRA (Flood Risk Assessment) was submitted to accompany the application which confirmed the ground floor accommodation would be at 3.69mAOD. On this basis, the Environment Agency raised no objection providing the basement level was not used for habitable accommodation. Lastly the officer considered that the impacts of noise from nearby commercial premises on the intended occupiers of the development is unlikely to be detrimental to their amenity, nor out of character within the context of the existing vicinity.

The appointed planning officer was satisfied that the development would meet all of the applicable criteria and is therefore permitted development under Class O of the GPDO 2015.

As is evident by our run of recent consents, there are still plenty of B1(a) offices out there suitable for conversion to residential. If you have such an office or light industrial/workshop building or even an agricultural building which you feel may be a good candidate then why not speak to Pure Town Planning about the possibility of the permitted development change of use to residential?