Planning permission and the workplace

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This article tells you about how planning laws may affect you as an employer, or as a business owner.

Planning and businesses

Some businesses are utterly unaware of planning laws and requirements, and this can be a recipe for disaster in any workplace. Making unauthorized changes to premises can be penalized by planning authorities and in a worst case scenario you may be required to apply retrospectively for planning permission, or face the possibility that the change you have made in your premises must be reversed through demolition or structural changes to business premises. This can lead to cash flow problems for business owners who can be forced to turn to business funding options from sites like wongaforbusiness.com in an emergency.

The Planning Service

The Planning Service is the body in the UK, responsible for enforcing planning laws and processing claims for planning permission. This is your first port of call if you have a query about the enforcement or application of planning rules and regulations as a business owner.

What you may need planning permission for

Planning permission may be required for any major changes in the use of premises, or for structural changes to buildings like outhouses and houses. If you want to use a shop as office premises for example then you will probably need to apply for planning permission. This is known as applying for permission to change the use of a business premises. When processing planning permission applications the Planning Service will take account of how the change in use might affect the public or neighbouring properties. For example, if you want to set up offices in a building previously used as a shop, the Planning Service will take account of the impact this change may have on neighbouring properties, especially if these are residential properties. Neighbours might be subject to increased noise, car fumes, and other possible interference and in these cases the Planning Service have to balance the needs of the applicant against the wellbeing of those who will be affected by the change.

Using your home as a workplace

Using your home as a workplace can be very complicated. When you are considering whether to use your home as an office you need to take account of how this might affect your neighbours or indeed the structure of the building concerned. You will need to decide whether you need to make a planning application to use your home as a workplace.

Insurance and using your home as a workplace

Using your home as a workplace might be prohibited under your current home insurance policy. This means that you might need to take out separate business insurance cover for your home and this can be costly.

Health and safety when using your home as a workplace

If you are running a business premises from the home you are still required to comply with health and safety laws. This means you need to carry out a risk assessment of the risks involved in admitting people to the property in the course of your work, or even as employees.

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