Class M of Part 3 of Schedule 2 of the GPDO allows for ‘… a change of use of a building from…a use falling within Class A1 (shops) or Class A2 (financial and professional services) …to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) …subject to the condition that before beginning the development, the developer must apply to the local planning authority for a determination as to whether the prior approval of the authority will be required as to…whether it is undesirable for the building to change to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses)… because of the impact of the change of use …where the building is located in a key shopping area, on the sustainability of that shopping area.’
A key question here is how to define a key shopping area. Does it just include areas such as primary shopping frontages and retail parks? Apparently not. In a recent appeal decision (DCS Number 400-029-259) an inspector took the view that a site within a secondary shopping area could be defined as falling within a key shopping area:-
“The Council consider that the site falls within a secondary shopping area. With the range and extent of shops and other establishments providing public services and facilities in these parades within this part of London Road, I agree. Furthermore, because of these circumstances, the site should be considered to fall within a key shopping area for the purposes of paragraph M.2.(1)(d) of Class M.”
Section 4.3423 of DCP Online concerns changes of use under Part 3 of Schedule 2 of the GPDO.