11:21 AM, 19th May 2022, About a month ago 8
Can anyone please advise on this? We have had our offer accepted on a little church hall which is being sold by the trustees. It has been used as a parent and toddler group for about 16 years and is only used for 90 minutes per week. No religious worship takes place there.
The vendors, estate agent and EPC assessor all say it was Use Class D1 and therefore would now be Use Class E so we could use it as an office. However, after dozens of calls and emails, the council has come back saying “This has been reviewed by a Planning Officer who has stated that the lawful use of the building is a Church Hall (Use Class F1) and it appears that the proposed use is an office (Use Class E). Planning permission is required for this change of use”.
Looking at the use class info online, the closest thing I can find for a parent and toddler group would be a creche which was use class D1, now E but I don’t know whether Use Class is defined by its current or historic use or some other detail.
Obviously, we won’t buy it if we can’t use it as an office and the vendor won’t apply for a change of use.
Is it worth trying to argue with the council or should we risk applying for planning permission (or pre-planning advice) in advance of the purchase?
However, if a change of use is approved, the vendors could pull out of the sale and put it back on the market for a higher amount as it would then be more attractive to other buyers.
Any advice or suggestions would be most welcome.