Amended Use Class Order offers more flexibility in the use of commercial units

The Government’s change to the use classes for commercial development in England came into effect last week. The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes)(Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 757) were introduced by the Government on 20 July, and took effect on 1 September 2020.

The new regulations group a range of commercial uses often found in high streets into a single use class – Use Class E. The Government has changed the regulations to support the regeneration of high streets and allow new occupiers to operate from existing units without the need for planning permission, however, the amendments to the Use Classes Order apply to properties in all locations, except where the use has been specifically restricted by condition. This is important as many retail consents are restricted to A1, or a particular range of goods within A1.

The changes to the regulations remove Public Houses and Hot Food Takeaways from the Use Classes Order, making them ‘sui generis’. This removes the permitted changes for these uses, so planning applications will be required to convert to or from these uses.

The amended regulations tighten up the protection for local community uses, introducing two new categories for learning and non-residential institutions and local community.

The table below provides a summary of the new use classes and the uses which are included, however, if you have any questions about how the changes to the Use Classes order may affect your property, please contact a member of the DWD team.