Published on 13 Aug 2020

New use class update

 The changes to the Use Classes Order is one of the most significant update since it was introduced in 1987. The changes, which come into effect on September 1 2020, aims to update land uses.

Main areas of change within the use class system.

These two aspects compliment each other, and reimagine the way in which property is and will be potentially used. For example, offices, restaurants and shops will now fall under the same use class and will not need planning consent to switch between uses (subject to certain conditions, which are outlined below).

What these changes generally seek to promote, is a greater flexibility and lessening of rigid use structures, thereby potentially limiting the power of local planning authorities.

It’s also important to note that the upcoming changes to the Use Classes Order are not solely limited to towns and town centres. Any building with applicable uses will be able to take advantage of this increased flexibility, regardless of its geographical location.

The New Classes

From September 1st 2020, three new classes will be come into effect:

1. Class E (Commercial, business and service) 

Broadly speaking, Class E will absorb:

Land or buildings associated with the above uses will not need to seek planning permission to make use changes within this new class.

Class E will also partially absorb:

2. Class F.1 (Learning and non-residential institutions) 

Class F.1 includes uses in Class D1 not incorporated into Class E. Specifically, this class will encompass any non-residential use. 

This includes schools, museums, public libraries, public halls, exhibition halls, places of worship, and law courts.

3. Class F.2 (Local community) 

Class F.2 will consist of uses found in certain D2 uses. At first glance, some uses will appear quite different from one another However, uses in Class F.2 are grouped because of their local function and not because of shared land-use characteristics.

Uses that will fall under Class F.2 include local community halls or meeting places, indoor or outdoor swimming baths, skating rinks, and outdoor sports or recreations not involving the use of motorised vehicles or firearms.

Class F.2 also absorbs the existing Class A1 use referring to a shop that is:

Sui Generis Use Classes

Several existing use classes that prohibit use changes will remain under the new system. Any changes to sui generis classes before or after September 1st will still require planning permission.

This includes:

Part Use

Changes to the Use Classes Order also introduce the concept of “part use”. This enables a change of use of part of a building, use or planning unit to another use that falls under the new Class E designation.

Provided that the new use can also be found in Class E, planning permission does not need to be sought.