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Home businesses (planning advice note)

​Businesses run from home - SPG advice note 15  - to be reviewed (formerly planning advice note:1)

We receive many queries regarding running businesses from home.

In many cases the businesses are so small scale that they do not involve a 'material change of use' and, therefore, do not need planning permission to set up.

However, proposals to set up fully fledged commercial businesses in residential properties is strongly resisted by the department.

We are not able to justify large scale businesses operating in homes due to:

  • the acute housing shortage in the Island
  • the likelihood of disturbing neighbours
  • the availability of land and buildings more suitable for the purpose elsewhere
  • others following suit

Criteria for determining material change of use

Whether a material change of use has occurred is down to the individual circumstances of each particular case. However, the following limitations will normally apply:

  • no more than 1 room of less than 28sqm or 300sq feet of a domestic property, including its outbuildings, should normally be used for non-residential or associated purposes
  • that the alternative use (business) is conducted by the occupant of the dwelling house where it is their principal place of residence, on their own account and without any employees or assistants. However, doctors, dentists, veterinarians and other liberal professions (“those practised on the basis of relevant professional qualifications in a personal, responsible and professionally independent capacity by those providing intellectual and conceptual services in the interest of the client and the public”) will normally be seen as exceptions to the rule, in order to allow for the employment of a receptionist
  • the use does not alter the structure or the character of the house / premises
  • that no business signs or other advertisements are displayed on the premises
  • that no retailing or trading takes place from the premises
  • that the business does not receive business callers (other than on a purely incidental basis)
  • that no external storage or materials, or finished goods, or articles requiring repair takes place on the premises
  • that no commercial vehicles, other than a light car or small van, shall be parked on the premises other than in a garage or outbuilding or otherwise out of sight from a public place
  • there is generally no other outward evidence of the activities being undertaken
  • that no process or opertation is undertaken which is likely to cause offence to neighbours

Who to contact

If you are considering setting up a business from home we not only suggest contacting us but also:

  • the Housing Department who often impose conditions on property sales which restricts the future use of the dwelling
  • the Economic Development Department who are responsible for the 'Regulation of Undertakings and Development Law which applies specifically to any person wishing to start up a new business
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