Blog for Developers 1: Converting Pubs to Residential Property
This particular strategy outlined in this article relies on the pub serving hot food and that service forms the main part of its business activity.
Pubs are known as ‘drinking establishments’, which are Use Class A4.
Class A4 pubs do not have Permitted Development rights for change of use. Some pubs are also protected by the locals as being an ‘asset of community value’.
This protects to pub in two ways, which is fair considering there is currently a pub closing nearly every week which is obviously poor for the industry, but that is not the point of this exercise.
Pubs that serve food are more accurately and often classed as restaurants. Restaurants are Class A3, and therefore do have permitted development rights.
Subject to limitations and conditions, as is always the case with Permitted Development, A3 can be changed to Class A2 (professional services eg solicitor or accountant) or Class A1 (retail, shop)
Then the magic happens.
A1(or A2 for that matter) can be changed to 2 flats of Use Class C3 (not suitable for HMO), per A1 or A2 unit. This is done using either, or both Class G and Class M. But unlike residential Use C3, there are no limitations on how far you can split A1 or A2 Use into further subdivided units.
To clarity and give an example:
Consider this. Change the pub which is currently classed as a restaurant (A3) to a shop (A1). Then, you can subdivide the A1 unit into several more A1 shop units. We recommend doing this is a reasonable manner do it reasonably and don’t create tiny units. Each A1 shop unit can have up to 2 flats (C3) over it using the Permitted Development Prior Notification process of Class G and/or Class M.
Location dependant, most councils don’t especially like shops in rural areas, preferring them instead to be in towns/heavily built-up parts of town. So you can then apply with a formal planning application to change the ground floor shop to residential if you do happen to be in a rural area.
No building work actually needs to be carried out, just get the approvals where applicable. So the use of the pub could be changed to wholly residential.