Obtaining planning for A3 premises - Change of use

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    Obtaining planning for A3 premises - Change of use

    Please could someone provide me with advice re the above.

    I am intending to convert a house (which was formerly a barbour on the ground floor - A1) into a cafe (A3). It was last an A1 premises in the mid 80's, but still has a flat front (as opposed to a bay, like the other houses in the street).

    I have spoken with planning in bristol about the likelihood of receiving permission, but they were unable to help that much as they only provide advice for larger projects. I have yet to go ahead with formal drawings.

    The house has shops on either sides (jewellery and grocers), but the rest of the street is generally residential. It is currently very run down and would need a great deal of work, but when complete would certainly add to the community (aethetically and because of its use).

    Can anyone provide advice on the chances of it receiving planning, or at least note some key factors that would be taken into account, which i could look into further.


    When I worked in Planning, (up to 2004) the Council were very loath to grant A3 consents in a residential area.

    One thing they were very strict about was that there was adequate off-road parking, and also if they did approve the application they often limited opening hours (for example must close at 10.30 or not open at weekends) or granted a temporary permission to be reviewed in a year so that its impact upon the community could be judged more accurately.

    I would imagine a Change of Use from A1-A3 would be quite difficult to get in the situation you describe.


      A3 Idea

      Your first port of call should be the local development plan - see your council's website. This will give you an idea of whether the site is within a designated shopping frontage and if so, what policies are pertinent. if outside a frontage there will be policies for that too... Once you are armed with a more informed position speak to the planners and they will help...

      If the property has been vacant for ages that may help...

      Have you considered other uses classes like A2 (estate agents etc)...?? Also, be aware that class A3 now EXCLUDES takeaways,which is A5

      Good luck!!!



        Peter and Scampicat,

        Thanks both for your help. One last thing, I noticed A5 was HOT food takeaways. Is a cafe (A3) which does takeaway sandwiches/soup considered A5 or A3? And which is harder to get planning for?

        Thanks again,



          A3 use

          A3 is for food consumed on the premises and A5 for food consumed off the premises. But it is the PRIMARY nature of the use that counts, therefore you could have an A3 use that did a SMALL amount of takeaway trade but still remained in A3 - always check this with the Council though!!!



            I remember the legislation changing just before I moved to Spain and that Hot Food takeaways were going to be a different use class, but I couldn't remember what it was and in fact I had forgotton that it had changed.

            Thanks for the reminder!


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