Live/work units


It can often be challenging to obtain planning permission for developments, particularly involving a residential element, in locations outside of development boundaries (sustainable centres such as larger villages and towns with a number of services and amenities). One option that is growing in popularity is for the construction of a live-work unit. This is an attractive approach for many clients as there is often a lower bar to be reached to allow for development than compared to similar proposals.

There is now acceptance that the needs of rural businesses cannot always be met within or adjoining settlements or in areas well served by public transport. As such there is a requirement that national and local planning policies support rural economies.

Live/work units are designed to allow for living accommodation and work facilities for those residing therein. Permissions for live/work units will usually stipulate that the predominant amount of proposed floor area is given over to the commercial venture.

Is planning permission required?

Planning permission will be required for this type of development. Each local authority will consider an application for a live-work unit differently. Some have defined planning policies which set the criteria that such proposals need to meet in order to be acceptable. While others assess each on a case by case basis.

It will be important to demonstrate the merits of the scheme and that it can be considered as sustainable development. Other factors include whether the site is located within the Green Belt, area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB), curtilage or setting of a listed building or flood zone.

View further information resources here

What is the process for this type of application?

Read about the planning process here

What are the main issues that need to be overcome?

Principle of the proposal – live/work units

We have to firstly make sure the Local Planning Authority are happy with the proposal in principle, asking the question - does the development meet local and national planning policy? As well as the principle, there are lots of other factors that come into planning for live/work units:

  • Likelihood of flooding
  • Highways safety and impact
  • Impact on public rights of way
  • Impact on designations such as Green Belt or AONBs
  • Noise
  • Neighbour amenity
  • Ecology
  • Developer contributions and Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)
  • Energy statement
  • Telecommunications and broadband

Other factors have to be thought very carefully about:

  • Design
  • Materials
  • Scale
  • Use
  • Siting
  • Drainage 

How The Rural Planning Co can help

We LOVE getting involved with exciting new equestrian projects like this, and helping you along the journey to bringing your personal aspirations or business plans and dreams to fruition. With many years specialising in this sector, we believe that engaging an experienced and proactive consultant can reduce the stress, time and cost of the process and above all gives you the best chance of success.

Read our pricing here

Read about the planning process here

Read ‘how we work’ here

Read about us here

Find case studies here

Here are some links to more business help on The Business Barn website.

Our other business Moule & Co specialises in rural professional consultancy and can help with grants and business plans.