How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask wingrovebuyer Your Own Question
wingrovebuyer, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 737
Experience:  I am a property solicitor specialising in English Property Law, mines and minerals, sporting rights and rural property.
Type Your UK Property Law Question Here...
wingrovebuyer is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Hello, We currently run Light Industrial Units on a farm

This answer was rated:

We currently run Light Industrial Units on a farm (we have converted the old farm buildings) in Worcestershire. The council has granted permission for change of use of the farm buildings into units and the tenants pay business rates on their units.

We would like to add to this by renting out 20ft x 8ft shipping containers for storage use (business and personal).

Please could someone tell me if

a) I need planning permission for the containers (they will be on our own land and not in a residential area). They will be placed on hardstanding (concrete base) in a courtyard where there used to be an old farm building.
b) I need to tell the council that we are renting out containers?
c) There are business rates to pay on the containers used for storage only? (there is no lighting, electricity or access to any amenities etc).

I am unable to find this information out on the internet as it seems to be a grey area.

Many thanks for your help

wingrovebuyer : Hello. You're right, this is a grey area, but generally Councils are quite relaxed about allowing shipping containers on land provided they don't take on characteristics of permanent fixtures. Where i think you might has an issue is the change of use. The land on which you plan to put them has planning permission for agricultural use (the former building wax a farm building) but you plan to rent out the containers presumably for non-agricultural use. Accordingly, I think you might need planning permission for this change of use. Accordingly. I think you will need to consult the council about the plans my way.
wingrovebuyer : Not my way - "anyway". iPad predictive typing!

Thanks for your answer. The old farm building no longer exists (it was removed many years ago - approximately 10 years). There are no uprights etc, just the old concrete base, which was the old cow shed floor. So I don't think there will be a problem with change of use, as the area is currently used for parking for the tenanted units.


So basically, change of use issues aside, you think that provided that the containers don't take on characteristics of permanent features (such as lighting, bolted to the floor, roof, guttering etc), do I have a legal requirement to have to contact the council?

wingrovebuyer : I think you do need to consult the council. What's the worst that can happen? If they so no, at least you won't have spent money on buying the containers first.however, I don't think it will be a problem for them given your other on site activities and the lack of neighbours who might object.

OK, I'd better come clean. We've actually already got 5 containers here at the moment and haven't told anyone at the council about them and didn't want to have to get them involved unless we legally have to. We did this in all good faith, having read on the internet that containers don't need planning permission and already have change of use from agricultural to light industrial and we couldn't find anything on the council website to suggest otherwise. Can the planning department at the council say no? "What's the worst that can happen?" - you tell me, that's why I'm asking :)

wingrovebuyer : Ah. Ok. Well, if they weren't already there, the worst that could happen is they say no. All you'd have lost is an idea. With them there, if they say no now, you'd have lost the cost of them and the cost of removing them. My suggestion is that you do not contact the council - although it's a grey area, if the containers are there for over four years, there couldn't be any planning permission enforcement anyway. The fact you've not heard from the Councl suggests their view is that the containers do not present a problem. If theyre not hooked up to utilities etc, then this helps your case that they are temporary "storage" type units, rather than permanent buildings.

Many thanks for your help

wingrovebuyer and other UK Property Law Specialists are ready to help you

Related UK Property Law Questions