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Find out whether your home improvement or commercial project needs planning permission or building regulations approval

Commercial premises

Permitted development rights extended for COVID-19

As part of the response to COVID-19, the UK Government instructed pubs, restaurants and cafes to shut down. Whilst financial aid is available, the Government has also temporarily relaxed planning rules so these businesses can operate as hot food takeaways during the outbreak. 

An amendment to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order allows the change of use of the following premises so they can be used for takeaway services:

  • restaurants and cafes;
  • drinking establishments;
  • mixed use premises which cover both of the above uses;
  • drinking establishments with enhanced food provision.

This change is permitted without the need for planning permission, as long as the following conditions are met:-

  • A notification is submitted to the Local Planning Authority if the building or any land within its curtilage is being used or will be used, for the provision of takeaway food at any time between 24th March 2020 and 23rd March 2021.
  • Permitted Development Rights have not previously been removed, in these cases, planning permission will still be required.

This permitted development right is temporary, it can only be used until 23 March 2021.  The building and any land within its curtilage will revert back to its previous lawful use at that point, or earlier if the developer ceases to provide takeaway food.

You are advised to visit the Council’s website for advice on food hygiene prior to opening your premises for the purpose of serving takeaway food:

For further information about this new permitted development right, please contact us at and we will be happy to assist.

Commercial Premises

This page provides advice that relates to proposals for offices, industrial uses, storage and distribution, shops, food and/or drink establishments, leisure uses, hotels, crèches/day nurseries, training facilities, places of worship, health and education centres.

Planning permission is required for many commercial, institutional and recreational proposals. However, some works, installations and changes of use do not require planning permission.

Change of use

Land and buildings are grouped into a number of use classes by planning legislation – the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended). Certain changes of use are permitted (eg changing the use a restaurant to a shop), without requiring planning permission. Any change of use from one use class to another that is not permitted would require the benefit of planning permission and therefore would need to be applied for. Further guidance is available from the Planning Portal.


Factories and warehouses have some limited permitted development rights which allow for extensions to be built without requiring planning permission in certain circumstances. Other business premises, including shops will usually require planning permission for any changes to the appearance of the building (eg new shop fronts). Further guidance is available from the Planning Portal.

Prior approval

Central government has introduced a number of Prior Approval processes for changes of use of existing properties to other uses either on a temporary or permanent basis (eg an office, hotel or cinema to a state-funded school). Further guidance is available from the Planning Portal.

Last updated: 18 May 2023

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