Class N – amusement arcades or casinos to residential
Think of a retail unit that contains the one armed bandit or one of the machines where you insert a coin hoping it will push a large stack of them into the tray before you. Whilst you are unlikely to get rich playing inside one, converting an amusement arcade or casino into a residential dwelling might be a more lucrative opportunity. The actual title of Class N is simply – specified sui generis uses to dwellinghouses, but the two specified ones are casinos and amusement arcades.
You will need to submit a 56 day prior approval application to the local authority requesting the go ahead to convert your former slot-pulling den. This is submitted along with details of any building works required to facilitate the dwelling. Like several changes of use Class N is also date stamped. This time the building must have been a casinos or amusement arcade on or before 19th March 2014. You will be limited to 150 square metres of conversion, although the original space can be larger. When you submit the prior approval the local authority will asses it against highways, contamination, flood risk and the external appearance.
You must supply floor plans as part of the application and it will require the the provision of adequate natural light in all habitable rooms of the properties created under Class N. The GPDO defines a habitable room as any rooms used or intended to be used for sleeping or living which are not solely used for cooking purposes, but does not include bath or toilet facilities, service rooms, corridors, laundry rooms, hallways or utility rooms. This is in addition of the requirement to adhere to minimum space standards.
As expected there are a few locations where Class N cannot be undertaken. Although I would have thought the chances of finding any amusement arcades or casinos in an AONB, SPA, the Broads, National Park, World Heritage Site, SSSI, safety hazard zone, military explosives storage area or a scheduled monument is slim. You might occasionally find one in a listed building, and if you do then sadly that is also out. Check out our glossary if you are not sure on any of these acronyms.
Once you have been given the go ahead to convert any casinos where you didn’t clean up at blackjack, you will have three years to convert following the local authorities decision.
Check out other permitted development options on our changes of use page.
Class N – specified sui generis uses to dwellinghouses
N. Development consisting of— (a) a change of use of a building and any land within its curtilage from a use as—
(i) an amusement arcade or centre, or
(ii) a casino,
to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order; or
(b) development referred to in paragraph (a) together with building operations reasonably necessary to convert the building referred to in paragraph (a) to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) of that Schedule.
Development not permitted
N.1 Development is not permitted by Class N if—
(a) the building was not used solely for one of the uses specified in Class N(a)—
(i) on 19th March 2014, or
(ii) 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;
(b) the cumulative floor space of the existing building changing use under Class N exceeds 150 square metres;
(c) the development (together with any previous development under Class N) would result in more than 150 square metres of floor space in the building having changed use under Class N;
(d) the development under Class N(b) would consist of building operations other than—
(i) the installation or replacement of—
(aa) windows, doors, roofs, or exterior walls, or
(bb) water, drainage, electricity, gas or other services,
to the extent reasonably necessary for the building to function as a dwellinghouse; and
(ii) partial demolition to the extent reasonably necessary to carry out building operations allowed by paragraph (d)(i);
(e) the building is within—
(i) an area of outstanding natural beauty;
(ii) an area specified by the Secretary of State for the purposes of section 41(3) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981;
(iii) the Broads;
(iv) a National Park; or
(v) a World Heritage Site;
(f) the site is, or forms part of—
(i) a site of special scientific interest;
(ii) a safety hazard area;
(iii) a military explosives storage area;
(g) the building is a listed building or is within the curtilage of a listed building; or
(h) the site is, or contains, a scheduled monument.
N.2—(1) Where the development proposed is development under Class N(a) together with development under Class N(b), development is permitted subject to the condition that before beginning the development, the developer must apply to the local planning authority for a determination as to whether the prior approval of the authority will be required as to—
(a) transport and highways impacts of the development,
(b) contamination risks in relation to the building,
(c) flooding risks in relation to the building,
(d) the design or external appearance of the building, and
(e) the provision of adequate natural light in all habitable rooms of the dwellinghouses, and the provisions of paragraph W (prior approval) of this Part apply in relation to that application.
(2) Where the development proposed is development under Class N(a) only, development is permitted subject to the condition that before beginning the development, the developer must apply to the local planning authority for a determination as to whether the prior approval of the authority will be required as to the items referred to in sub-paragraphs (1)(a) to (c) and (e), and the provisions of paragraph W (prior approval) of this Part apply in relation to that application.
(3) Development under Class N is permitted subject to the condition that development under Class N(a), and under Class N(b), if any, must be completed within a period of 3 years starting with the prior approval date.
Page Updated: 27th February 2022
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