Use Classes

Use Classes

“We have used quite a bit of ink discussing the permitted development rights that allow the change of use of some agricultural buildings to residential use (Class Q) or to a flexible commercial use such as shops, light industrial, hotel or leisure use (Class R) and our clients, and readers of our articles, will be familiar with the concept of permitted development rights but may be less familiar with what are referred to in planning legislation as “Use Classes”, says Brian Dinnis of Acorn Rural Property Consultants.

“The purpose of Use Classes is to group together certain types of use that are sufficiently similar so that, for planning purposes, changes of use between the different uses within the same Use Class do not require planning consent. Although simple in theory, it is not always so in practice. As an example, the Class R permitted development right allows the change of use of an agricultural building to uses falling within Class A1 (shops), Class A2 (financial and professional services), Class A3 (restaurants and cafes), Class B1 (business), Class B8 (storage or distribution), Class C1 (hotels) or Class D2 (assembly and leisure)”, advises Dinnis.

“With effect from 1 September 2020, the Use Classes Order has been amended to revoke some of the previous Use Classes and introduce two new Use Classes (Class E and Class F). Class E amalgamates some of the previous business Use Classes into a new commercial, business and service Use Class. In the example above, the new Class E includes all the Use Classes permitted by Class R except for B8 and C1”, continues Dinnis.

“The new provisions include transitional arrangements that will apply until 31 July 2021, during which some planning decisions will be still be made with reference to the Use Classes that applied before 1 September 2020. For example, the Class R permitted development right will still refer to the old Use Classes. What that means is that we can expect further revisions to Permitted Development Rights to be introduced at some time before 31 July next year and, given the wholesale changes to the planning system that are proposed in the Government’s “Planning for the Future” White Paper that was published in August 2020, the timescale for those may be sooner rather than later”, concludes Dinnis.

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