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
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