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The cost of Unforeseen Environmental Problems

There is a lot at stake if you don’t have adequate assessments to support your conversion plans…
Our Environmental Assessments are a small price to pay compared to the value of your site which could bring significant risk. The sooner you get clarity on your site’s prospects, the sooner you and your design team can make even better decisions.

Environment Consultants Committed to Getting your Building Approved and Converted

Your specialist Environmental Consultant is part of a dedicated team of Chartered professionals who have been successfully gaining regulatory approval for clients all over the UK, ensuring that their sites are safe and compliant places to live and work.

Our Environmental Assessments are expertly prepared by experienced consultants who are committed to providing you with technically robust reports that are tailored to meet your plans for the site.

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  • Tick Icon 98% sign off success rate, satisfied regulators

Get Your Building Converted


Get Proposal

Answer a few questions, so together we can come up with a plan that fits your timescales and budget.


Site Assessment

We work through the complex process of evaluating and assessing the risks to the site


Receive Report

Written with a regulator in mind to gain approval, so you can take action to ensure a safe and compliant site.

Could You Require Assessments to Help Get You Building Converted?

Since 2013, the government has continued to allow the conversion of some commercial buildings to houses or flats without the need for conventional planning permission.

With limited land available for development a popular option is to also convert existing agricultural buildings into residential use.

Prior Planning Assessment

The rules fall under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015 which allows the change of use of a building and any land within its curtilage from a Class B1a (office) use to a Class C3 (dwelling houses). 

Prior to commencing with a change of use, the applicant must notify the local planning authority and provide a written description of the proposed development along with relevant plans and applicant contact details. This application allows the local planning authority to determine whether the prior approval of the authority will be required to assess:

Where potential risks are identified, the local planning authority may require the applicant to submit further information in relation to potential contamination, flooding and transport and highway impacts before granting prior approval.

Similar permitted development requirements are expected for a conversion of an agricultural building/ barn into a residential property.

In order to meet your needs and ensure you remain compliant, all our Phase 1 Desk Studies are carried out in accordance with current guidance such as the recommended approach set out in the Environment Agency’s Model Procedures for the Land Contamination Risk Management (LCRM) including:

  • A site walkover by a professional consultant to assess the current condition and interview people most familiar with the site.
  • Review of historical OS maps dating back to the mid-1800s, review of available site plans and aerial photographs.
  • Identification of known pollution incidents, landfill sites and discharge consents using publicly available information.
  • Review of the environmental setting including geology, hydrogeology and hydrology.
  • Development of a conceptual site model and qualitative risk assessment.
  • Preparation of a report ready for submission to the local planning authority or appropriate authority.

Our Flood Risk Assessments are also carried out in line with current guidance such as NPPF and the accompanying technical guidance.  In most instances, a Prior Approval application will require a Level 1 Flood Risk Assessment (Screening Assessment) and Level 2 Flood Risk Assessment (Scoping Study), with the possibility of a Level 3 Detailed Assessment subject to the initial risks and situation of the site relative to the Flood Zone.

We also work closely with experienced consultants who can help with assessing the Transport and Highway impacts and provide recommended referrals if required.

These are some frequently asked questions when commissioning a Prior Approval Report:

Do I need a Prior Approval Report?
Do you have any planning conditions attached to your planning permission? If so, the conditions may have details which require a Contaminated Land Assessment or Phase 1 Desk Study. These terms are often interchangeable for the same type of report.

What if I already have a ‘Site Check’ document as part of the sale/purchase of my property?
The danger of a basic site check is that they are usually computer generated. These will usually be rejected by the Local Planning Authority as it means there is the increased potential for oversights, no site walkover (which is more often than not essential), no conceptual model or risk assessment and non-compliant reports. Our Phase 1 Desk Studies are written by qualified consultants who can expertly assess the risks for your site.

Where do you work?

We work across the UK, but are based in the South East of England. Many of our prior approval projects include agricultural barns or office buildings being converted to residential.

What are ‘permitted development rights’?

The gov.uk website describes Permitted development rights as “a national grant of planning permission which allow certain building works and changes of use to be carried out without having to make a planning application.”

How long will it take to prepare a Phase 1 Desk Study?
A Phase 1 Desk Study will normally take up to 2 weeks to complete subject to gaining access to conduct a site walkover.

How can I be sure I need a Prior Approval Report?
If you are unsure as to whether you require a Prior Approval Report, please give us a call, so together we can discuss your requirements. Alternatively, please send an email to info@lustreconsulting.com and provide us with the site location and description of the proposed development.

Sites Successfully Approved and Built

Lustre Consulting was appointed by a private property owner to undertake a Basement Impact Assessment (BIA) to support a planning application involving the construction of a basement below part of the existing residential property. The site is situated within the London Borough of Lambeth, whose Local Plan states that “an assessment of the scheme’s impact […]

Lustre Consulting was appointed by a private property owner to...

Lustre Consulting was appointed by Faithful + Gould & London Borough of Waltham Forest to undertake an architectural acoustic assessment to inform the design and detailing of the renovation and extension to the historic William Morris Gallery. The work included providing baseline information on the acoustic performance of the building following removal of the artefact’s […]

Lustre Consulting was appointed by Faithful + Gould &...

An equipment testing facility required environmental services to support an application for an Environmental Permit for the discharge of cooling water from their test facility building into a nearby river. Following the completion of a Conservation Risk Assessment, it was determined that a Bespoke Environmental Permit Application would need to be submitted as the river […]

An equipment testing facility required environmental services...

Lustre Consulting was appointed by the site owner to undertake a Phase 1 Desk Study to support the conversion of an agricultural barn to residential use under permitted development application. The proposed development involved the refurbishment of the existing main barn currently present on site, and clearance of a smaller barn/store for four proposed individual […]

Lustre Consulting was appointed by the site owner to undertake...

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