Emma Jones

Emma Jones

Emma has over 20 years’ expertise supporting clients to find creative and commercial town planning solutions.

2020 Changes to the Planning Use Classes.

I’ve written about the recent changes to planning use classes before and now feels like the perfect time for a reminder as we move into Spring 2021 and the staggered re-opening of premises.

What changes were made?

Government made wholesale changes in 2020. A key change was the creation of three new broader planning use classes. These are:

  • Class E (Commercial Business and Service Uses);
  • Class F1 (Community Uses); and
  • Class F2 (Learning and Non-Residential Institutions).

Otherwise, Class C (Residential), B2 (General industrial) and Class B8 (Storage and Distribution) remain unchanged and some uses previously within a class were made sui generis (without a class in English).

What do the changes mean?

Let’s take  ‘Class E’ – for “commercial, business and service” uses for example. For those conversant with the the previous use classes, Class E incorporates A1 (shops), A2 (financial and professional services), A3 (restaurants and cafes), B1 (business – office and light industry) and some specific D1 and D2 uses – gyms, nurseries and health centres.

Movement between these different uses is no longer development and does not need planning permission so you can expect to see many more café/artisan bakery/office/bank/yoga studios opening under the same roof. Providing the initial use has been implemented (i.e. occupied and open) it can be changed to another use within Class E.  For example, a café could change to an office use or a children’s nursery without requiring planning permission.  It also enables a blend of uses to take place within one premises without requiring consent.

But be careful!

There are caveats. Careful consideration of the planning history of a property will be necessary, as any previous consents which are conditioned to restrict particular uses will still apply.

Free Illustrated Guide

I’ve tried to make the all this less dry with a FREE ILLUSTRATIVE GUIDE which also includes a more detailed reference table. Click the link to our homepage and request your free pdf today.

You’re welcome!


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