Due to the changing nature of the way we bank, banks and building societies are necessarily reviewing and rationalising their property assets to adapt to their customers’ needs.
As a result, many bank branches are closing – often resulting in attractive buildings in sustainable locations becoming available.
This is increasingly opening up finite development and/or change of use opportunities for property investors considering the long-term potential of each site.
This can often necessitate their need for a very careful early assessment of their planning strategy before purchasing such sites.
The adequacy of the planning histories of each floor of a building needs a very careful review; as does the risks and opportunities of implementing permitted development rights or submitting Prior Approval applications in relation to the General Permitted Development Order.
For changes of use or proposed extensions to buildings outside of the scope of the General Permitted Development Order, local and national planning policies require very careful scrutiny before Full Planning Applications are prepared and submitted.
Investors considering purchasing vacant bank or building society buildings should choose to instruct a planning consultant to undertake an early review of the planning position to help clarify potential planning risks and opportunities, providing them with the planning consultancy advice they need to reduce the risk of their branch closing.
Investors may also in future then wish their planning consultant to press ahead and prepare and submit Prior Approval Change of Use applications or Full Planning Application for other changes of use or extensions upwards or outwards.
Additionally, they may also wish their planning consultants to prepare and submit for them Certificate of Lawfulness of Proposed Use or Development (CLOPUD) applications – or Certificate of Lawful Existing Use (CLEUD) applications – in order to regularise any permitted development rights they may implement (or to try and help clarify the current lawful use of a building).
Depending on the prevailing local circumstances; the adequacy of the available previous planning history for each floor; and the site specifics – these applications can have the potential to throw up some planning risks.
Having a planning consultant who is based within a regional law firm can be especially beneficial for clients who may also need the specialist input of a planning solicitor with such issues.
It is always therefore sensible to devise an appropriate planning strategy from an early stage when considering such property investments. Planning consultants can help to advise on the most risk averse planning strategies for you.
If you require any advice or assistance around such a project, please do not hesitate to email me in the first instance and a member of our experienced planning team will be in touch to discuss further.
For further information on the planning services we can provide please click here.