The London Borough of Croydon has recently granted our application for a certificate of lawful development. The application related to the use of an outbuilding in the rear yard of a small parade of shops in Coulsdon.
The outbuilding and shop units were originally built by the British Gas Board to display new kitchens with top of the range gas appliances in the 1950s. The development included a showroom and a three bedroom flat on the first floor, three retail units on the ground floor and the outbuilding to the rear which was used for storage and a single garage.
Our client is ultimately seeking to obtain planning permission considering proposals for new development on the site, which included the reuse of the outbuilding, we were aware that the Council could have considered that the outbuilding was in use for employment purposes rather than the ancillary storage use. Local planning authorities tend to resist the loss of employment generating uses, which would have caused an issue for the proposed works.
The purpose of our application was to avoid the Council considering the outbuilding as a sperate workshop in business use. The site is self-contained with its own vehicular access. The freehold has always remained in one ownership with different leases dealing with the different uses. Bell Cornwell used this information, supported by statutory declarations, to demonstrate the historic and ongoing use of the outbuilding in association with the shop units.
The certificate of lawful development successfully demonstrated that the outbuilding was not employment generating and should be considered as ancillary to the main building.
The next steps will involve making a planning application to maximise the value of the site by introducing changes to the shop units and a new residential unit on the first floor.
If you want to know more about lawful uses in planning terms or want to find out how such applications can help your development proposals, please get in touch.