Use Class Order Update
On 21st July 2020 the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 (2020 No. 757) was laid before Parliament outlining a radical shake up of the Use Classes Order that is proposed to come into force on 1st September 2020.
These Regulations will create a new broad ‘Commercial, business and service’ use class (Class E) which incorporates the previous shops (A1), financial and professional services (A2), restaurants and cafes (A3) and offices (B1) use classes. Uses such as gyms, nurseries and health centres (previously in use classes D1 Non-residential institutions and D2 Assembly and leisure) and some other uses which are suitable for a town centre area are also included in the class.
This new class allows for a mix of uses to reflect changing retail and business models. It also recognises that a building may be in a number of uses concurrently.
A series of more protected ‘community uses’ have been moved into a new Class F. ‘Local Community and Learning’ use class. Class F.1 includes schools, galleries, museums, halls, libraries and places of worship. Class F.2 includes essential isolated shops, community halls, outdoor sports facilities and swimming pools/skating rinks.
The residential (C classes), General industrial (B2) and Storage and distribution (B8) use classes remain unchanged (except for a new cross reference in B2 to the new ‘commercial’ class).
The former A4 Drinking establishments and A5 Hot food takeaway use classes have been removed and will be considered ‘Sui Generis’ uses as will cinemas, concert, dance and bingo halls which fell within the former D2 use class. This will mean that changes to and from these uses will be subject to full local consideration through the planning application process.
Importantly, the new regulations include transitional provisions. Paragraph 7.10 of the Explanatory Memorandum explains that:
‘There are a number of permitted development rights which grant general planning permission allowing changes of use between the former use classes without the need to submit a planning application. These regulations provide transitional provisions which retain the effect of the permitted development right based on the classes that were in place prior to these regulations coming into force. A building or use will continue to be subject to any permitted development rights that it was entitled to on or before 31 August 2020. These transitional provisions will remain in place until 31 July 2021 when new, revised permitted development rights will be introduced. These savings provisions also apply to relevant Article 4 Directions’.
Download our guide to the updated Use Classes Order here.