A local community church in Windsor has successfully received planning permission for the change of use of an office/industrial unit to become a new prayer hall and place of worship.
Kerith Community Church have been in the Windsor area for 3 years and so this new prayer hall will support their expansion church planting plans, their wider congregation and other existing facilities.
This change of use is particularly note worthy as it will bring a vacant and redundant unit back to life; offering a community facility to the Windsor area. However, being located in a designated employment area of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Local Plan these industrial units are allocated mainly for industrial, distribution, and storage uses.
As part of this planning proposal ET Planning provided evidence detailing how this unit has been vacant for a number of years. An analysis of marketing activity was also provided to show that attempts to continue the current use of the building had been unsuccessful.
ET Planning also recognised in the planning application that another unit on the same industrial estate has previously received a change of use allowing it to move away from being an office/industrial unit. This supported the church’s application as, in principle, the precedent to move away from an industrial use only has been set.
Of course, under permitted development rights the industrial unit could already be converted into a lawful Class E use such as a health centre, clinic, nursery, gymnasium, or supermarket. This was given significant weight in the planning application, demonstrating that the unit could already be used for something other than an industrial use without the need for planning permission.
The National Planning Policy Framework also supported the application; in Paragraph 91a it states that “planning decisions should aim to achieve inclusive and safe places which promote social interaction”. Paragraph 92a further set out that in order to meet the social and cultural facilities and services the community require, planning decisions should plan positively for the provision of community facilities (explicitly including places of worship).
The plans, which were drawn up by Allen Associates – a local architect firm, showed that there would not be any new built development or alterations to the external appearance of the development. There would also be a good supply of parking as the site has an allocation of 9 parking spaces, with a further 52 spaces available unrestricted most notably on the weekends within the industrial estate.
ET Planning were delighted to receive the news that the plans have now been approved permitted under delegated authority. This change of use will efficient use of the vacant unit and bring about huge community benefit.