Renovating Pubs, Shops, and Offices

Some useful guidance and information for anyone interesting in renovating pubs, shops, offices, or other non-dwellings into a liveable home.


The effects of the global economic crisis are not difficult to spot if you only take a look along your local high street, but due to the loss of so many businesses there is suddenly much greater potential for renovating pubs and shops. Since the smoking ban came into effect in 2007, and since the credit crunch began in that same year, pubs and shops have been shutting at a rapid rate right across the country. Pubs have had a very poor deal for a long time as their prices rise and overtake those of supermarkets who are able to keep their alcohol prices low.

Not only are these establishments closing, but a quick look around at the office buildings in your area will show you how the economy has taken its toll on all kinds of businesses. All of these pubs, shops, and office blocks are ripe for renovation and conversion into exciting new dwellings, and there are plenty available. Renovating pubs, therefore, is a great way to go in the current climate. According to director Gavin Sherman of the pub investment broker Paramount, around 200 pubs are sold off to individuals, business, and agencies every year. They are sold with views to renovation, conversion, demolition, and in some cases to continuing operation as a pub despite the struggle they are likely to face.

Take a look at if you are interested in renovating pubs, restaurants, nightclubs, or hotels.

Planning Permission for Renovating Pubs, Shops, and Offices

All buildings within the UK are subject to a system of ‘classes’. The class system was put into place with The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 , and separates buildings into either class A, B, C, D, or ‘Sui Generis’.

Class A covers shops, restaurants, pubs, etc.

Class B includes offices, industrial buildings, storage spaces, etc.

Class C covers hotels, care homes, dwellings, etc.

Class D covers health centres, nurseries, museums, libraries, cinemas, concert halls, sport facilities, etc.

‘Sui Generis’ covers buildings which do not fall within the classes mentioned above, and it includes nightclubs, hostels, petrol stations, taxi business, launderettes, and casinos amongst others.

Renovating pubs, shops, offices, or other commercial properties (usually categories A or B) into dwellings will ordinarily require planning permission. If you intend to alter a building’s use within its category – by changing a shoe shop to a restaurant, for example – planning permission is not usually necessary, depending upon your local authority’s decision. But to turn a category A building into a category C building will probably need planning permission in order for the project to go ahead. The rules differ between authorities, so always be sure to check what the policies are in the area in which your property is situated.


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