Enforcement relating to a change of use (Pharmacy) – Bolton

The rules around change’s of use and permitted development are often fraught with difficulties. This is particularly so where similar uses are involved and it is often a ‘grey’ area to ascertain whether planning permission is required or not.

In this case in Bolton, we were approached by a Pharmacy following the receipt of a letter from the Council alleging that they changed from a Dispensing Pharmacy to a Retail Pharmacy without planning permission. As the two uses fell in different categories (Classes), if a change in the operation of the Pharmacy had occurred, this would have required a planning application to be submitted or the risk of enforcement action.

Inspire Planning Solutions Ltd,analysed the business operation, the balance between retail and dispensing element,and the linkages with an adjacent Doctor’s surgery we were not convinced that a material change had occurred. By showing that the retail element was ancillary to the dispensing function, we demonstrated that the use was operating lawfully.No further action was taken and the business was saved from a costly and protracted planning application.