Planning reform: A Guide to changes to the Use Classes Order in England

 July 2020

The government has proposed a complete overhaul of the Use Classes Order which relates to land within England. The move is designed to allow greater flexibility between all uses and ultimately a more agile planning framework to reflect evolving demands in how property is utilised, without having to obtain planning permission. 

In tandem with a steady stream of new Permitted Development Rights (PDR) announced in June, this is yet another measure by the government to reform the planning system which will undoubtedly fuel development and asset repositioning. 

The changes, which will come into effect on 1 September 2020, will see Use Classes B1, A1-A5, D1 and D2 revoked, and replaced with Class E - ‘Commercial, service and business class’.

This will mean that land or buildings utilised for the above uses will not need to obtain planning permission for changes. Class F is reformed in two parts F1: ‘Learning and non-residential institution’ and F2 ‘Local community class’. Lastly, the new rules will also add a number of uses to the existing list of “sui generis” uses which means that planning permission will be required for any change of use.  

The planned changes to the Use Classes Order are outlined below: 

Use

Exisitng Use Class

New use class

Shops

Financial and professional services

Food and drink

Offices, research and development, industrial processes

Clinics, health centres, creches, day nurseries

Indoor sport, recreation or fitness

A1

A2

A3

B1

D1

D2

 

 

E commercial,

business and service

 

 

Drinking establishments

Hot food takeaways

Live music venue,cinema, concert hall, bingo hall, dance hall

A4

A5

D2

 

Sui generis

 

Education, display or works of art, museum, public library or reading room, public hall or exhibition hall, for, or in connection with, public worship or
religious instruction, law court

D1

F 1 Learning and non-residential institutions

Shop selling essential goods where the premises is less than 280 sqm and no
such shop within 1,000m radius

Community hall or meeting place

Outdoor sport or recreation, indoor or outdoor swimming pool or skating rink

A1

D1

D2

 

F 2 local community

 

 

Whilst the new uses will come into effect on 1 September 2020, these new uses will not be applied to the General Permitted Development Order until 31 July 2021. Any application during this time for prior approval will be determined with reference to the current Order. 

To see how the new regulations might create opportunity for your property assets please do get in touch. 

Related services