A1 to A2 maybe.

This blog post is a reworking of a password protected one I did. I am thinking of actually changing the use of the shop from A1 retail to A2 office. I hadn’t previously considered that but now that I have it would be much better for me as there would be very little overlap between the Office hours and my hours in the flat.

But of course, that does mean changing the previous plans and submitting a change of use application. It may not get passed, but I hope the people of Chatteris would welcome something different.

I had a rough idea of the plan layout so the first thing I did was run it past a Fire Safety company – which was the password protected version. I have left a lot of the text/wording and videos.


This started off as a small self-contained shop on Chatteris High Street. It was previously a Charity Shop.

It is classed as a Non-designated Heritage Asset (locally listed) and is in a conservation area. This does mean there are conflicts between disability regulations and the conservation teams. For instance, the shop door isn’t strictly wide enough to comply with disability, but the shop frontage cannot be altered.

So, the new layout looks like this:

I have already done some work in opening up the self contained shop into the main house. The internal staircase has gone.

Here is a video of the ground floor as it currently is.

Room 1

This is the main room that is accessed via the High Street. It is 7 mtrs in length and 5 mtrs in width. The doorway leading to the next area is 80cm wide. The door can be removed so that the fire escape route is not restricted.

Room 2

This was the main entrance to the house. The plan here would be to build a new wall and doorway to create a room that is 1.94 mtrs wide and 3.0 mtrs in length. The old door would be sealed shut, but retained as a feature. I think this room would then be classed as an Inner Room because occupants would have to exit through room 1 if there was a fire. Note: The old door could be retained as an alterative escape route rather than being sealed shut.

Room 3

There was a doorway into room 3 just to the left of the corridor (where the big arrow is pointing). It’s just been plaster boarded over. I would open this doorway up again.
The area between the new wall of room 2 and the radiator would be 1.5 mtrs x 1.94 mtrs, which allows room for people to pass each other.

The corridor is where one of my concerns are as it needs to meet Fire Safety standards and disability regulations, although I am not sure what I read on line is fact or not. They seem to be regulations where they need to be met where possible. The width is 87 cms,
I believe that the minimum width can be 75 cms, although 90cms would better for wheelchair users. The length of the corridor is 4 mtrs.

The doorway shown near the keyboard would be bricked up. Room 3 would also be classed as an Inner Room as the occupants would need to exit through room 1. However, this room does have large sliding box sash bay window. This could be used as an alterative escape route.

Room 3 would be 3.7 mtrs x 3.8 mtrs. The maximum distance to walk to the shop exit is 14 mtrs.


The two toilets would be roughly the same size. One would be for disability use so may need to be wider then the other one. But roughly 3 mtrs in length and 1.6 mts in width each. The sliding sash window would need to be replaced as each room would share that window space. The door shown on the right would be bricked up. I don’t think toilets are classed as Inner Rooms. What provisions for fire safety need to be in place for toilets ?

Outside the toilets would now be a much wider corridor of 3.5 mts in length and 1.7 mtrs in width. The doorway shown above that was bricked up with breeze blocks would be removed to gain access to a small staff kitchen area.

Staff Room

This room would be 1.9 mtrs wide x 3.8 mtrs in length. I want to retain a separate storage area/utility room for the flat above. It does mean there is no rear fire escape route. If this room is also not classed as an inner room, does there need to be ?
There is a non-opening, fire resistant window here, which I had to install due to the proximity of the external staircase to the flat above.

The report I got back from the Fire Safety company wasn’t very good. Far too brief and very confusing. There was no charge in the end.

I have since had a meeting with my architect, maintaining the social distancing rules by conducting it over skype, which worked really well.

The newer version of the plan that we talked through looks like this.

And I’ll post the final version once I have it as we tweaked it further.

2 thoughts on “A1 to A2 maybe.

  1. Daron, is that noise by your front door the extractor fan of the takeaway next door? If it is it’s very loud, if it was worse before they fixed it I can understand why you were upset with them.

    1. Not sure actually. May just have been the wind against the phones microphone. The fan though is a lot quieter since it was fixed – I barely notice it these days.

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