More Flexible Use Classes – A Bigger (Better) A1
Published 13 October 2014
The Government has recently consulted on revision of the A1 retail use class to promote greater flexibility for high street businesses. The initiative is one of a number of proposed reforms to further improve the planning system, set out in DCLG's 'Technical Consultation on Planning' (July 2014). The consultation ended on 26th September.
The proposals would result in a wider A1 use class so as to include the majority of financial and professional services currently found in use class A2.
Businesses would therefore be able to move between premises more quickly without the need for a planning application e.g. from a shop (A1) to what would have been an estate agent or employment agency (currently A2). The amended Use Classes Order would allow premises to change use more quickly in response to market changes, reducing the number of empty premises that can contribute to blight in an area. Betting shops and pay day loan shops would not form part of the wider A1 retail use class and would remain within the A2 use class.
The reforms should be welcomed by commercial landlords as they would allow current A1 premises to be marketed to a broader range of tenants.