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   »    GPDO    »    Part 20 - Airspace    »    Class AA - New flats on detached commercial buildings

Class AA – New flats on detached buildings in commercial or mixed use (shops and flats)

 

class AA - shop and flats
Class AA allows for new flats on detached buildings that are either commercial or mixed use with flats. This is not to be confused with Class AA for additional storeys on residential

Following the release of Class A for additional stories on detached block of flats, the government gave the ability to add additional storeys in the airspace above any detached building that is either Class A1 (shops), Class A2 (financial and professional services), Class A3 (restaurants and cafes), Class B1(a) (offices), betting officepayday loan shop or launderette (all sui generis) or mixed use along with residential C3 which result in shops and flats above.

Until the 31st July 2021 the GPDO will refer to the older use classes and not the latest revision.

In other words the building could be a shop with 2 storeys of flats above them, or a shop with retail space above it. It must however consist of at least three storeys above ground. Any storeys beneath ground are not counted. You can then add additional storeys above. This will result in 4 or more storeys of shop and flats. You can go as high as 30 metres with the finished development. This can also be on part of the building, subject to a maximum additional height of 7m over surrounding roofs.

The building must have been constructed between 1st July 1948 and 5th March 2018.

One important factor is that neither the current or future flats can be C4 or Sui Generis HMOs. You are limited to C3 dwellings only. An HMO would require full planning.

Class AA permitted development right for a shops and flats comes into force at 9am on 31st August 2020. You cannot apply before then.

See our useful table of all airspace opportunities available within the GPDO.

 

What else might prevent me taking advantage?

The current building must be detached and so not connected to one or more other buildings.  The current building must be at least three storeys high and by adding the new storeys you do not exceed 30 metres in height. Although plant and machinery may be higher than this.

You cannot use this permitted development right in Article 2(3) land, SSSIs, listed buildings,  scheduled monuments, safety hazard area, military explosives area or within 3 kilometres(1.86 miles) of an aerodrome. Article 2(3) includes conservation areas.

The main requirements of Class AA is as follows:

  • The additional storey(s) must be constructed on the principal part of the building
  • The height of the highest part of the roof of the extended building (not including plant) can not be greater than 30m
  • The floor to ceiling height of any additional storey (measured internally) can not exceed the lower of 1) 3m, or 2) the floor to ceiling height (measured internally) of any storey of the principal part of the existing building
  • The height of the highest part of the roof of the extended building can not exceed the height of the highest part of the roof of the existing building (not including plant, in each case) by more than 7m
  • Any engineering operations can not include the provision of visible support structures on or attached to the exterior of the building upon completion of the development
  • Any engineering operations are limited to works (within the existing curtilage of the building) to strengthen existing walls or foundations, or to install or replace services
  • The installation of additional plant (on the roof of the extended building) is only allowed if there is existing plant on the building
  • The height of any replacement or additional plant (as measured from the lowest surface of the new roof on the principal part of the extended building) can not exceed the height of any existing plant (as measured from the lowest surface of the existing roof on the principal part of the existing building)
  • Any new access to and egress from the new dwellinghouses and existing premises can not extend beyond the curtilage of the existing building.
  • Any new storage, waste or other ancillary facilities can not extend beyond the curtilage of the existing building
  • Any new storage, waste or other ancillary facilities can not be situated on land forward of a wall that either 1) forms the principal elevation of the existing building or 2) fronts a highway and forms a side elevation of the existing building

There a few considerations that the local authority will need to consider as part of the prior approval. These are transport & highways impacts, air traffic and defence assets, contamination, flood risk, external appearance, natural light in all habitable rooms, impacts of noise from any commercial premises on the intended occupiers of the new flats, impacts of the introduction of, or an increase in, a residential use of premises in the area on the carrying on of any trade, business or other use of land in the area, impact upon amenity space of the existing building and neighbouring ones, overlooking/privacy/loss of light, impact on a protected view identified in the Directions Relating to Protected Vistas.

 

Application

Class AA requires a Prior Approval application to the local authority and should be decided within 8 weeks or 56 days. You will need to supply floor plans, the number of dwellings and a list of addresses of all flats currently in the block. You will also need to submit a flood risk report if required and information on the various considerations that the local authority will need to consider. There is however no deemed consent if the decision has not been made within this period of time.

 

Full legislation 

 

The full legislation issued on 21st July 2020 says…..

Class AA – new dwellinghouses on detached buildings in commercial or mixed use

Permitted development

AA.—(1) Development consisting of works for the construction of up to two additional storeys of new dwellinghouses immediately above the topmost storey on a detached building to which sub-paragraph (2) applies, together with any or all—
(a) engineering operations reasonably necessary to construct the additional storeys and new dwellinghouses;
(b) works for the replacement of existing plant or installation of additional plant on the roof of the extended building reasonably necessary to service the new dwellinghouses;
(c) works for the construction of appropriate and safe access to and egress from the new dwellinghouses and existing premises in the building, including means of escape from fire, via additional external doors or external staircases;
(d) works for the construction of storage, waste or other ancillary facilities reasonably necessary to support the new dwellinghouses.

(2) This sub-paragraph applies to a building which is—
(a) used for any purpose within Class A1 (shops), Class A2 (financial and professional services), Class A3 (restaurants and cafes) or Class B1(a) (offices) of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order, or as a betting office, pay day loan shop or launderette;
(b) in a mixed use combining—
(i) two or more uses within paragraph (a); or
(ii) a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order, together with one or more uses within paragraph (a).

Development not permitted

AA.1 Development is not permitted by Class AA if—
(a) above ground level, the building is less than three storeys in height;
(b) the building was constructed before 1st July 1948 or after 5th March 2018;
(c) on 5th March 2018 the building was in a use other than—
(i) a use or mixed use within paragraph AA(2)(a) or (b); or
(ii) a use falling within Class C3 of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order;
(d) the additional storeys are constructed other than on the principal part of the building;
(e) the floor to ceiling height of any additional storey, measured internally, would exceed the lower of—
(i) 3 metres; or
(ii) the floor to ceiling height, measured internally, of any storey of the principal part of the existing building;
(f) the new dwellinghouses are not flats;
(g) the height of the highest part of the roof of the extended building would exceed the height of the highest part of the roof of the existing building by more than 7 metres (not including plant, in each case);
(h) the height of the highest part of the roof of the extended building (not including plant) would be greater than 30 metres;
(i) development under Class AA(1)(a) would include the provision of visible support structures on or attached to the exterior of the building upon completion of the development;
(j) development under Class AA(1)(a) would consist of engineering operations other than works within the existing curtilage of the building to—
(i) strengthen existing walls;
(ii) strengthen existing foundations; or
(iii) install or replace water, drainage, electricity, gas or other services;
(k) in the case of Class AA(1)(b) development there is no existing plant on the building;
(l) in the case of Class AA(1)(b) development the height of any replaced or additional plant as measured from the lowest surface of the new roof on the principal part of the extended building would exceed the height of any existing plant as measured from the lowest surface of the existing roof on the principal part of the existing building;
(m) development under Class AA(1)(c) would extend beyond the curtilage of the existing building;
(n) development under Class AA(1)(d) would—
(i) extend beyond the curtilage of the existing building;
(ii) be situated on land forward of a wall forming the principal elevation of the existing building; or
(iii) be situated on land forward of a wall fronting a highway and forming a side elevation of the existing building; or
(o) the land or site on which the building is located, is or forms part of—
(i) article 2(3) land;
(ii) a site of special scientific interest;
(iii) a listed building or land within its curtilage;
(iv) a scheduled monument or land within its curtilage;
(v) a safety hazard area;
(vi) a military explosives storage area; or
(vii) land within 3 kilometres of the perimeter of an aerodrome.

Conditions

AA.2—(1) Where any development under Class AA is proposed, development is permitted subject to the condition that before beginning the development, the developer must apply to the local planning authority for prior approval of the authority as to—
(a) transport and highways impacts of the development;
(b) air traffic and defence asset impacts of the development;
(c) contamination risks in relation to the building;
(d) flooding risks in relation to the building;
(e) the external appearance of the building, including—
(i) the design and architectural features of—
(aa) the principal elevation; and
(bb) any side elevation that fronts a highway; and
(ii) the impact of any works under sub-paragraph (1)(c) or (d) of Class AA;
(f) the provision of adequate natural light in all habitable rooms of the new dwellinghouses;
(g) impact on the amenity of the existing building and neighbouring premises including overlooking, privacy and the loss of light;
(h) impacts of noise from any commercial premises on the intended occupiers of the new dwellinghouses;
(i) impacts of the introduction of, or an increase in, a residential use of premises in the area on the carrying on of any trade, business or other use of land in the area;
(j) whether, because of the siting of the building, the development will impact on a protected view identified in the Directions Relating to Protected Vistas dated 15th March 2012(a) issued by the Secretary of State,
and the provisions of paragraph B (prior approval) of this Part apply in relation to that application.
(2) In sub-paragraph (1)(h), “commercial premises” means any premises in the building or the surrounding area which are normally used for the purpose of carrying on any trade or business, and includes any premises licensed under the Licensing Act 2003 or any other place of public entertainment.
(3) Any development under Class AA is permitted subject to the condition that it must be completed within a period of 3 years starting with the date prior approval is granted.
(4) Any development under Class AA is permitted subject to the condition that before beginning the development, the developer must provide the local planning authority with a report for the management of the construction of the development, which sets out the proposed development hours of operation and how any adverse impact of noise, dust, vibration and traffic on occupiers of the building and adjoining owners or occupiers will be mitigated.
(5) The developer must notify the local planning authority of the completion of the development as soon as reasonably practicable after completion.
(6) The notification referred to in sub-paragraph (5) must be in writing and must include— (a) the name of the developer; (b) the address or location of the development; and (c) the date of completion.
(7) Following the development, every dwellinghouse in the building must remain in use as a dwellinghouse within the meaning of Class C3 of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order and for no other purpose, except to the extent that the other purpose is ancillary to the primary use as a dwellinghouse.

Page updated 21st August 2020

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