Business & Offices

We guide our clients through the intricacies of Use Class Orders to ensure their business and office use is permitted cost-effectively and lawfully.

Whether you are a business owner, working from home and need advice regarding a garden office or an FTSE100 company looking to renovate, expand or move offices, we have the skills and expertise to guide you through the planning process and ensure you get the planning permission or building regulation that you need for lawful development.

Business & Offices


Charlton House, is the global headquarters of Spirax-Sarco Engineering plc, a FTSE 100 company and is one of Cheltenham’s largest employers. It has occupied the site since the 1940s.

Charlton House is a complex site, involving a Grade II listed building and has been extended in the latter half of the 20 Century.


Spirax-Sarco were faced with a dilemma, the modern office extension was reaching the end of its operational life, it was poorly configured and ill-suited to modern working practices.

Given the need for change, the company appointed McLoughlin Planning and Roberts Limbrick Architects along with a multi-disciplinary consultant team to advise on options for redevelopment, to provide a modern, highly energy efficient work-space, fit for the 21 Century.

Working in partnership with Roberts Limbrick Architects we took the company through the various options available in terms of demolition and replacement structures. Refurbishment was out of the question. The fundamental challenge was to balance the need for a modern office space against the need to respect the character and setting of Charlton House. This demanded a creative and bold confident approach.

At an early stage of the project, the company sought to embody its environmental commitments into the project and working with the team, decided on a strategy which would deliver the County’s first ever BREEAM (Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method) ‘Outstanding’ building, which is a very high bar in terms of measuring its environmental performance. Less than top 1% of new non-domestic buildings in the UK are within the Outstanding category so this is a significant achievement. ‘Outstanding’ building.

The new extension contains open-plan office space, break-out areas, an auditorium, a gym and changing facilities. Securing the renovation of the company’s global headquarters will help to consolidate their position in Cheltenham and will secure existing and attract new high-skilled jobs in the town for years to come.

McLoughlin Planning explained and guided Spirax-Sarco through the planning process, submitting the planning and listed building applications for the redevelopment. We were able to demonstrate that the bold, superior architectural design of the replacement extension clearly outweighed the minor harm that would be caused to the historic fabric of the listed building.

As part of the process, we equally advised the company on concerns raised from local residents which focused on the height of the new five-storey extension and the disturbance that would be caused during the demolition and construction phases of the development. Again, we were able to demonstrate to the Council that the development would not be detrimental to neighbouring residents and the applications were approved by the Council’s Planning Committee only four months after submission.

Find out more

New Garden Centre and Cafe

McLoughlin Planning is pleased to have secured planning permission for the extension and alteration to an existing Garden Centre, the erection of a new Commercial Storage Building and a new on-site café in South Gloucestershire.

As a result of Enforcement Action being taken against the landowner, we were engaged to review the property’s planning history and the alleged breaches in the enforcement notice to provide a planning strategy to regularise the use of the site. The property had a long and complex planning history, but following a detailed assessment, we managed to establish that the lawful use of the site was a Garden Centre.

As the enforcement notice had taken effect by the time of our instruction, we advised the landowner to comply with the notice. In parallel, we worked with the landowner on preparing a planning application which would allow the lawful business to diversify and secure the necessary on-site secure storage needed for the business’s products and equipment.

Without on-site improvements, the landowner would have been left with a small structure to display goods, and shipping containers to the rear to act as storage for goods and equipment. We made the case that the proposal would allow for the visual enhancement of the proposal site and would support the growth of a rural enterprise by providing a high-end café and garden centre as an alternative shopping option to the adjacent Dobbies Garden Centre.

With close work with the Council, we were able to proactively resolve any queries regarding the development. For example, concerns were raised about whether the business would harm the neighbouring Dobbies Garden Centre; for which we were able to demonstrate that the offering at this business is aimed at a different audience to Dobbies. We were also able to agree with the Council means to secure on-site improvements, such as EV charging, new vehicle hardstanding, and cycle parking.

We are thrilled that the landowner has secured planning permission for a well-designed and high-end Garden Centre and Café. Given the importance small businesses play for the economy, particularly in rural areas, we are pleased that we were able to support the retention and growth of a valuable business in South Gloucestershire. It was a pleasure working alongside Southpoint Architects who were leading on the design.

Find out more
Phone Icon

Get in touch with our Business & Offices expert

If you are interested in finding out how we can help you with your project please get in touch.