Overhaul of the planning use classes system on its way - Planning Lawyers, Kuits Solicitors Manchester
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Overhaul of the planning use classes system on its way

Overhaul of the planning use classes system on its way

31st July 2020 - Published by

The government is bringing in the largest changes to the use class system in a generation.

The changes take effect from 1 September 2020 and only apply in England.

Changes within a use class do not require planning permission. However, any change involving a sui generis use (those that do not fall within any particular use class) will require planning permission.

The idea is that the new class E will offer a flexible use class, which is more suitable to modern trends in the high street and business, and the sui generis uses will give the council greater control in those areas.

Which planning use classes are being revoked?

The following use classes are revoked:

  • A1 – shops
  • A2 – financial and professional services
  • A3 – sale of food and drink for consumption on the premises
  • A4 – public house, wine bar or other drinking establishment
  • A5 – hot food for consumption off the premises
  • D1 – non-residential institutions
  • D2 – assembly and leisure

B1 is not abolished but is moved into the new class E.

A new planning use class E for commercial, business and service

A new class E – commercial, business and service will be introduced. This will incorporate:

  • retail uses, cafes and restaurants, financial and professional services (previously A1, A2 and A3)
  • the sale of food and drink principally to visiting members of the public where consumption of the food and drink is
  • most undertaken on the premises (previously within class A3)
  • gyms (previously D2)
  • medical services (previously in D1)
  • children’s nurseries and creches (previously in D1)
  • offices, R&D facilities and light industrial (previously B1)

A new planning use class F

A new class F will be introduced, divided into F1 (learning and non-residential institutions) and F2 (local community).

  • F1 (learning and non-residential institutions). This is all the former D1 uses except medical and health services, which are now in class E
  • F2 (local community). Small essential shops (which are defined) and; community halls, outdoor sports or recreational areas, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and skating rinks (all formerly within D2)

The new sui generis planning class uses

Lots of previously classified uses are now sui generis. The idea is that these uses will be protected from automatic changes without express consent from councils.

The new sui generis uses are:

  • public house, wine bar, or drinking establishment (previously A4)
  • drinking establishment with expanded food provision (previously a mixed use of class A4 with class A3)
  • hot food takeaway for sale of hot food where consumption is mostly off the premises (previously A5)
  • live music performance venue (previously within D2)
  • cinema (previously within D2)
  • concert hall (previously within D2)
  • bingo hall (previously within D2)
  • dance hall (previously within D2)

Unchanged planning use classes

Residential (class C, which includes hotels and care homes et cetera), general industrial (B2), and storage and distribution (B8) are unchanged.

When will the new planning use classes apply?

There are transitional arrangements that will apply from 1 September 2020 to 31 July 2021. These cover existing permitted development rights and planning applications (submitted prior to 1 September 2020) up to the end of transitional period.

Speak to a specialist planning lawyer about the changes in the planning use classes system

For further information, please contact Bob Sadler (bobsadler@kuits.com) or Victoria Leam (victorialeam@kuits.com) in the Kuits planning team on 0161 838 7991.

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