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Flats and maisonettes

I want to convert a space above a shop into a flat

Planning Permission

You may be able to convert space over a shop (and certain space over premises with a display window), or over a ground floor office, into up to two flats.

This depends on meeting the conditions for ‘permitted development’ rights that allow this change of use detailed below including, from 1 August 2021, the need to make a Prior Approval application.

  • The space is not in a separate planning unit from the shop, and is currently in a Commercial, Business and Service use (Use Class E) or in use as a Betting office or Pay day loan shop. Find out more about Use Classes and Changes of use1.
  • You will not change the outside appearance of the building.
  • Part of the building would retain its existing use, and any flats would only be on floor(s) above the existing use.
  • If there is a ground floor display window, the ground floor would not be used as a flat.
  • Each flat would have a gross internal floor area of at least 37 square metres, comply with the nationally described space standard2 and only be used as a dwelling:
    • by a single person or by people living together as a family, or
    • by not more than 6 residents living together as a single household (including a household where care is provided for residents).


Building Regulations

The regulations define this as a 'material change of use' and specify the requirements with which, as a result of that change of use, the whole or part of the building must comply (e.g. those concerned with escape and other fire precautions, hygiene, sound insulation, and energy conservation).

The whole, or at least part, of the building may therefore need to be up-graded to make it comply with the specified requirements.


Find a Trade Professional

Use our partner directories from CIAT, FMB, RIBA, or RTPI to find an chartered architectural technologist, builder, architect or planning consultant to help with your project or development.

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Useful links

Make an application Planning consultancy calculator
    1. https://www.planningportal.co.uk/info/200130/common_projects/9/change_of_use
    2. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/technical-housing-standards-nationally-described-space-standard

    The Planning Portal is delivered by PortalPlanQuest Limited which is a joint venture between TerraQuest Solutions Limited and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). All content © 2024 Planning Portal.

    The Planning Portal is delivered by PortalPlanQuest Limited which is a joint venture between TerraQuest Solutions Limited and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). All content © 2024 Planning Portal.