A client owned two shops in a secondary shopping street with two flats above.
We advised he convert the upper floor to 4 flats, i.e. 2 flats per shop, under permitted development, then once these were complete and occupied to submit a Prior Notification to the Council to convert the shops to a further 2 flats.
This would circumvent local policies and avoid any unnecessary payments to the council.
For reasons best known to himself he wanted a planning permission from the council so instead applied to convert the premises into six flats. After 4 months the client is still waiting for a decision!
Had he taken our advice the upper flats at least would by now have been completed and occupied.
The cost to him is at least
Planning application – £1540 (flats @£385)
Lost income – £1600 (assuming £400 per flat per month for two months)
as compared to
Conversion of upper floor to 4 flat – free
Income – £1600
The notification for the change of use for the shops would also have been submitted, and may even have been approved.
Conversion of 2 shops to 2 flats – £160
Of course this is all done with planning permission, just using the permitted rights given by the Government.
The moral of the story is to take advice before submitting an application you may not require.