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Shops

I want to change a residential building or land into a shop

Planning Permission

The planning system defines the different uses of buildings, and separates them into different classes. In most cases planning permission is required to change the use of a building from one class to another, although permitted development rights do allow for some uses to change to a different use without the need for planning permission. See our pages on Change of Use1 for more detailed information.

Planning permission will almost certainly be required for change of use of a residential property to a retail use.

The majority of local authorities have designated shopping or commercial areas within their planning policies where shops and other commercial uses are encouraged. It is likely to be very difficult to gain permission for a retail use outside of these areas especially in an area that might otherwise be wholly residential.

Read the guidance on the use classes within planning2.

Build Aviator's estimating service can help you plan your project by providing an accurate cost of the proposed changes. Find out more3.

Building Regulations

The regulations define converting a home into a shop as a 'material change of use' and specify the requirements with which, as a result of that change of use, the building, or the relevant part of the building, must comply.

The specific requirements include those concerned with escape and other fire precautions, hygiene, energy conservation, and access to and use of buildings.

The building may therefore need to be upgraded to make it comply with the specified requirements.

You should also check with the local fire authority, usually the County Council, to see what 'on-going' fire precautions legislation will apply when the building is in use.

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.

Find a trade professional


Useful links

Make an application Project estimating service


Planning consultancy calculator Financing your project
    1. https://www.planningportal.co.uk/permission/common-projects/change-of-use
    2. https://www.planningportal.co.uk/permission/common-projects/change-of-use/use-classes
    3. https://www.planningportal.co.uk/permission/home-improvement/estimating-service

    The Planning Portal is delivered by PortalPlanQuest Limited which is a joint venture between TerraQuest Solutions Limited and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities. All content © 2022 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 & Communities. All content © 2022 Planning Portal.