Planning for commercial and business

Planning permission may be required for a wide variety of development, whether it be new building works or changes in the use of land or buildings.

To assist you to determine whether or not planning permission is required, the Department for Communities and Local Government produce the following Guide:

The Planning Portal provides an introductory description of the planning system. It explains how/why to apply for planning permission and much more.

Trafford Council has published a number of Supplementary Planning Guidance documents including information for takeaways, shop fronts and advertisements. The full list is available here:

Community Infrastructure Levy

Trafford Council adopted its Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Charging Schedule on 26 March 2014 to come into effect in Trafford on 7 July 2014. It will apply to all relevant applications determined after this time regardless of when they were submitted.  This includes applications which are approved on appeal even if the appeal was submitted prior to the Charging Schedule coming into effect.

Relevant planning applications will now need to be accompanied by a completed CIL question form to allow the council to determine whether the development may be liable for CIL or not. 

A revised Supplementary Planning Document 1 – Planning Obligations has also been approved for adoption from 7 July.

To assist applicants, developers and landowners, a short guide for applicants has been prepared.

For more information about CIL, please see the dedicated webpage:

Commercial Properties

Most alterations to business premises do need planning permission, including:

  • All shop and office extensions.
  • Alterations to shop fronts.
  • External security shutters or grilles.

Changes of Use

If you want to change the use of a building or land, you may need planning permission. There are examples below of what types of changes are 'permitted' and which need permission.

Planning permission is not usually needed when both the existing and proposed new uses fall within the same 'Use Class'. The Summary of the Use Classes Order below will give you an idea of which 'class' your use falls into.

It is also possible to change uses between some classes without making an application. The following list gives an indication of the types of use which may fall within each use class.

Running a business from home

Many small businesses and other non residential uses are started by people working in their own homes.

Home-working does not necessarily require planning permission. Permission is not normally required where the use of part of a dwelling-house for business purposes does not change the overall character of the property's use as a single dwelling.

For example, the use by a householder of a room as an office, or child minding business complying with the Department of Health's standard recommended ratios, would be unlikely to mean that the character of the house's use as a single dwelling had ceased and would not normally require planning permission.

Once the business or non-residential use of the property ceases to be ancillary to its use as a single dwelling because, for example, the business has grown and the use of the dwelling for business use has intensified, a material change of use for which planning permission is required is likely to have taken place.

The likelihood of a material change of use taking place may be indicated where the business or non residential use generates visitors, traffic, noise or fumes over and above what might be expected if the property were in use as a single dwelling without any ancillary use.

If you are in doubt you may apply for a Certificate of Lawful Use for the proposed activity, to confirm it is not a change of use and still the lawful use.

Sustainable Drainage Systems

Under Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, provision was made to ensure that sustainable drainage systems are delivered in a way which prioritises SuDS over conventional drainage and stipulates that developers ensure their design allows for future maintenance.  As of 6th April 2015, the Local Planning Authority (LPA) is responsible for ensuring that sustainable drainage systems should be provided unless demonstrated to be inappropriate with the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) providing technical guidance and acting as a statutory consultee.

The duty will apply to major developments which can be defined as any of the following:

  • a residential development of 10 or more homes
  • a residential development on a site of at least 0.5 hectares
  • a non-residential development on a site of at least 1 hectare
  • creation or change of use of a commercial development, where the floorspace is 1,000 square metres or more.

The current requirement in national planning guidance that all new developments in areas at risk of flooding should give priority to the use of sustainable drainage systems will continue to apply.