Church’s change of use challenged

26 September 2019

" comes as a surprise to many that planning permission is not just required for ‘physical development' [...] but also for any change to the primary use of land or buildings"

From the five-year Jimmy Page vs. Robbie Williams dispute over plans to build a basement swimming pool at William’s London Home, to a North Wales Council investigating Bear Grylls’ steel slide structure at the edge of a cliff face on his private island, celebrity planning battles are typically well-documented by the press.

More recently, Ed Sheeran has been racking up a number of objections to various alterations and improvements to his home in Suffolk, which include the refusal of a private wedding chapel within the grounds of his home due to “unsatisfactory visual impacts” and “creating the impression of a second village church.” Sheeran’s recent and successful plans involve a retrospective planning application for the erection of 16ft pub sign outside of his Grade II listed barn and the creation of his “wildlife pond”, complete with a ladder and adjacent sauna, which is currently under investigation.

However, it comes as a surprise to many that planning permission is not just required for ‘physical development’, such as household extensions and swimming pools, but also for any change to the primary use of land or buildings (with a few exceptions under permitted development rights). This is something that Welsh singer Charlotte Church has recently been the subject of press attention for, amid claims that she is running an illegal school at her home without planning permission.

This investigation comes days after the singer announced plans to open a new non fee-paying school at her Dinas Powys home in South Wales. More specifically, a planning application has been submitted to change the use of a residential annex (Use Class C3) and music recording studio (Use Class B1), to a new home school (Use Class D1) on a temporary basis, until a permanent site has been found and designated.

It has been reported that Church denies these claims and insists that she is operating the school legally, but the Vale of Glamorgan Council is yet to decide whether to take formal action. From similar experience, we suspect the timely planning application will help regularise planning matters and prevent further enforcement action. However, if the application is refused, Church may be forced to shut down operations or appeal the decision.

Planning Potential has recently been involved in a similar case, in which a client discovered they had, inadvertently, been operating their nursery business without the necessary planning consents and if an application was unsuccessful, they would be potentially facing closure. Not knowing where to turn, the operator sought our advice and our team of consultants successfully secured the necessary consent, ensuring the nursery can continue to operate for the benefit of the children and the relief of the client and parents! You can read more about the case study here.

If you require planning support in relation to the use of your site or development, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]

Nona Jones, Assistant Planner