Proposed reforms to the Use Class Order include a new use Class E: commercial, business and service.

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Proposed reforms to the Use Class Order include a new use Class E: commercial, business and service.

Published 23 julio 2020

The government considers that it requires a complete overhaul of the Use Classes Order to better reflect the diversity of uses found on high streets and in town centres and to provide the flexibility for businesses to adapt and diversify to meet changing demands

The Government has announced yet more planning reforms. In this case it is fundamental changes to Town Centre Use Classes, which will provide greater flexibility for changes in uses without the need for planning permission.

This will be welcomed by many but there will be some unintended consequences and fall out. In particular, it will be interesting to see how existing shops and offices will evolve particularly given the accelerating changes in home working an ecommerce.

From the 1 Septembers 2020 a new use Class E will replace the following existing use classes:

  • Class A1 - shops;
  • Class A2 - financial and professional services;
  • Class A3 - restaurants and cafes; and
  • Class B1 - business.

This will mean that land or buildings utilised for the above uses will not need to obtain planning permission for changes within this use class.

There will also be a new Class F 1 and F2, which will provide for change of use within each class. 

Class F1 is for learning and non-residential institutions. Specifically, any use not including residential use:

(a) for the provision of education;

(b) for the display of works of art (otherwise than for sale or hire),

(c) as a museum,

(d) as a public library or public reading room,

(e) as a public hall or exhibition hall,

(f) for, or in connection with, public worship or religious instruction,

(g) as a law court.

Class F2 is for local community use. Specifically, any use as:

(a) a shop mostly selling essential goods, including food, to visiting members of the public in circumstances where—

(i) the shop’s premises cover an area not more than 280 metres square, and

(ii) there is no other such facility within 1000 metre radius of the shop’s location,

(b) a hall or meeting place for the principal use of the local community,

(c) an area or place for outdoor sport or recreation, not involving motorised vehicles or firearms,

(d) an indoor or outdoor swimming pool or skating rink.

Cinemas, concert halls pubs, winebars and takeaways will become a sui generis use with no permitted changes.

Key Contacts

Christopher Stanwell

Christopher Stanwell

London - Walbrook

+44 (0)20 7894 6269

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