Class O – offices to dwellinghouses

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This Allowances is effected by the 2020 Use Classes Order Changes and is subject to a transitional period until 31 July 2021 when it will be replaced. References to the use classes refer to the previous Use Classes Order

What is allowed

Development consisting of a change of use of a building—

Development consisting of a change of use of a building and any land within its curtilage from a
use falling within Class B1(a) (offices) to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses).

Where can I use it

On existing office properties that were in use as such on or before 29th May 2013 and are not listed.

What is not allowed

Development is not permitted by Class O if—

  • the building was not used for a use falling within Class B1(a) (offices) of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order— on 29th May 2013, or in the case of a building which was in use before that date but was not in use on that date, when it was last in use;
  • the site is, or forms part of, a safety hazard area;
  • the site is, or forms part of, a military explosives storage area;
  • the building is a listed building or is within the curtilage of a listed building; or
  • the site is, or contains, a scheduled monument.
How do I use the allowance

This is a prior approval permitted development allowance and as such it is subject to an assessment of the following criteria:

  • transport and highways impacts of the development,
  • contamination risks in relation to the building,
  • flooding risks in relation to the building,
  • impacts of noise from commercial premises on the intended occupiers of the development,
  • the provision of adequate natural light in all habitable rooms of the
  • Compliance to the national floorspace standards for all applications submitted on or after 6th April 2021.
Our Notes

Class O is one of the two key permitted development allowances that is caught by the September 2020 Use Classes Order changes. This means that the allowance is subject to transitional arrangements which put an effective stop date on the use of Class O when those arrangements fall away.

The government is presently consulting on the replacement to Class O and this is expected to be in force by the 1st August 2021.

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