What planning permissions are in place?
There is a 'Permitted Development' consent to convert the building into residential apartments. Permitted development rights are a national grant of planning permission which allow certain building works and changes of use to be carried out without having to make a planning application. Instead, applicants submit a Prior Notification to the council. Permitted development rights are subject to conditions and limitations to control impacts and to protect local amenity. A condition of this consent is that the development must be completed by the end of May 2023.
Stroud District Council officers visited the site on 31st May 2023 to assess the works carried out.
On examining the site, partitions to divide the building into the residential units has been installed. All 44 of the units had a bathroom installed and 43 of the units has a kitchen installed.
It is a matter of fact and degree as to whether the development has resulted in a material change of use of the building. The site visit clearly established that the building no longer, nor could reasonably be used as, offices on entering the building. Someone with no prior knowledge would think they had entered a block of flats.
The council has concluded that the change of use occurred before 28th May 2023 and that the level of works undertaken meet, at this stage the requirements of the prior notification.
A separate planning application was made for new windows and entrance to the building, as well as a structure to house bats. This is because bats are present in the building and they are a protected species.