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Garden Centre Redevelopment and a planning update

Following our recent article in HTA on the planning and diversification of garden centres, we are pleased to have obtained successful planning permission granting the redevelopment of Daisy Clough Nursery.

Our strategic new masterplan for the steady growth and expansion of this horticultural and retail garden centre includes a replacement dwelling house for the owners, a new purpose-built retail building and garden tearooms.

Recent planning legislation with respect to permitted development rights offers potentially similar exciting opportunities for the expansion and development of other garden centres. Under the legislation, certain building works and changes-of-use may be carried out without having to make a planning application. This will depend on whether or not use of the nursery can be historically defined as essentially horticultural – with retailing forming an ancillary part of the business.

Obviously, some research and discussions with the local council would be sensible at the outset, but if it is accepted that the nursery is an agricultural unit, nursery owners may be able to change a building, or part of a building, to various commercial uses, including: A1 (shops), A2 (financial and professional services), A3 (restaurants and cafes), B1 (business), B8 (storage or distribution), C1 (hotels) or D2 (assembly and leisure).

The new permitted development rights are subject to restrictions:

• To qualify for the new Permitted Development rights, the buildings must have been ‘used solely for an agricultural use, as part of an agricultural unit on 20 March 2013’.

Buildings brought into use after that date can only be converted once they have been used for agricultural purposes for 10 years.

• The cumulative floor space of buildings which have changed use within an original agricultural unit may not exceed 500 square metres.

• Listed buildings are also excluded

• Buildings used for equine uses are generally not considered ‘agricultural’ in planning terms, unless the horses housed in them are reared for meat or used to work the land.

• Buildings in designated areas such as National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) or Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) may be excluded.

All permitted development rights come with conditions and limitations. Where the proposal involves the use of up to 150 m2 of floorspace, the only requirement is to formally notify the council of your intentions. If the change of use involves between 150m2 and 500m2 of floorspace, the permitted development right is subject to prior approval of the council in relation to transport and highways, noise impacts, contamination and flooding.

However, these new permitted development rights will only cover change of use of the building. This means that any associated physical development, including any material alterations to the exterior of the building will require planning permission in the normal way.

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