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Review Your SQE 1 Practice Records

Examination Timing: 00H01M05S

A solicitor is acting for a client who is the sole owner of a freehold property. The property is not a listed building and is vacant but was used as office premises until five years ago. The client plans to carry out internal works to the property so that she can let it as a single private dwelling house. She has asked for the solicitor’s advice about whether her plans constitute ‘development’ and therefore whether she will need to obtain planning permission. 

Will the client require planning permission for her plans for the property?

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Your selected option: E

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Under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, ‘development’ includes both physical alterations to a building and a material change of use of the property. While internal works typically do not constitute development and generally do not require planning permission, a change of use from office premises (Class E) to a single private dwelling house (Class C3) does constitute a material change of use, which requires planning permission. The period of vacancy or abandonment does not exempt the need for planning permission in this case. Therefore, the client will need to obtain planning permission for the change of use, although not for the internal works. 

Key Point: This question addresses the definition of ‘development’ under planning law and the requirement for planning permission for changes of use. Understanding when planning permission is required is crucial for advising clients on property modifications and changes in usage.

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