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  • Refurbish/Develop

    Development basics, where to get advice?

    I am purchasing a 4 storey mixed use property, first investment,  and could do with a bit of development guidance. I have a large basement which is at ground level at the rear and I would like to know if it is viable to install a roller shutter door. Above this is a large storage unit which may be viable as a self contained residential unit or an extension to the current residential unit.

    Where do I start with getting basic advice? Is a planning consultant the correct profession?

    This space has been unused for at least a decade and there may be a good reason for this of which I am unaware. It may also be that the costs of conversion are prohibitive and this is why it has remained unused.

    I'm a competent DIYer but this is for the professionals and well beyond my experience. I'm happy to take on the project once any structural stuff is done and building regs are complied with.

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    We had  a similar project we looked at. In essence we had an idea of  basic design in that we had what had been a retail space on the ground floor with two floors above. Were were interested in 3 separate flats so arranged a visit from planning dept who were very helpful and soon alerted us to various requirements for such a conversion. The requirements enabled us to get a building technician to sketch our some ideas in principle and asked our two tame builders of the options available. The outline costs were above our outline estimate so did not proceed. All I can say is ask, ask and ask, it is very easy to trip on silly detail.

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    Thanks Nick,

    I don't perceive an issue, other than cost, with the roller shutter door, there are other units in the block that have them installed. I'll find a planning contact at the local council to get an opinion on the rest and then take it from there.

    The storage unit is around 35-40m2 and has a boarded over roof lantern. It would make a lovely hobby room/man cave if I can't develop it, but as the basement is over 100m2 its currently surplus to requirements.

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    I would take a look online at the local council planning website and search for applications nearby that have done similar to what you want in order to get an idea of what is possible.

    Local planning dept may not give you much free advice especially as its commercial but likely will offer a pre-application service at a small cost where they will give an opinion on viability of plans provided to them.

    I would also suggest getting yourself up to speed with permitted development rights and prior approval processes outlined in the document here : https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/596/schedule/2/made

    study schedule 2 part 1 onwards of the document. Depending on the current use class of the basement and other area you mention, you may find that it falls into class M where by you can convert up to 150sqm to C3 residential under a prior approval app which is subject to a much less conditions than a normal full app.

    Once you have digested this doc then arrange a no fee consultation with a local planning consultant to get their view. Later you'll need an arcitect to produce drawings to submit to planning.

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    All opinion and advice given should not be relied upon and the usual due diligence should be undertaken in all cases.