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.
Note that from September 1st 2020 various changes are made to the Use Classes Order. Amusement Arcades and Casinos remain as sui generis so Class N is unaffected. Until 31st July 2021 the GPDO will continue to operate using the old classifications as if nothing has changed.
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.
As from 1st August 2020 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.
As with other permitted development changes there is no requirement to follow national space standards, unless you plan to convert later to an HMO, which has minimum room sizes. You can also divide it into more than one dwelling, but bear in mind that the minimum accepted size for mortgage purposes is generally 30 square metres, although one or two are known to go lower.
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.
This page was updated on 21st August 2021
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