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Use Classes Order & Permitted Changes of Use Summary

Summary Guide to the Use Classes Order and Permitted Changes of Use (2020)

Classes Order & Permitted Changes of Use

FromTo
A1 (shops)

Class A is revoked from 1 September 2020.

  • Class A 1/2/3 are effectively replaced with the new Class E(a,b,c)
  • A4/5 uses are not covered by the new Class E and become defined as ‘Sui Generis’

Permitted change to or from a mixed use as A1 or A2 & up to 2 flats;

Permitted change of A1 or mixed A1 and dwellinghouse to C3 (subject to prior approval, max 150m2);

Permitted change to A2;

Permitted change to A3 (subject to prior approval, max 150m2);

Permitted change to D2 (subject to prior approval, max 200m2);

Temporary permitted change (2 years) to A2A3B1 (interchangeable with notification to the council, max 150m2)

A2 (professional and financial services) when premises have a display window at ground level, but excluding betting offices or pay day loan shops

Permitted change to A1 where there is a display window at ground floor level. Permitted change to or from a mixed use for any purpose within A2 and up to 2 flats and for A1 and up to 2 flats, where there is a display window at ground floor level;

Permitted change from A2 or mixed A2 and dwellinghouse to C3 (subject to prior approval, max 150m2);

Permitted change to A3 (subject to prior approval, max 150m2);

Permitted change to D2 (subject to prior approval, max 200m2);

Temporary permitted change (2years) to A1A3B1 (interchangeable with notification to the council, max 150m2)

A3 (restaurants and cafes)

Permitted change to Class A1 and Class A2;

Temporary permitted change (2 years) to A1A2B1 (interchangeable with notification to the council, max 150m2)

A4 (drinking establishments)Permitted change to drinking establishment with expanded food provision
A5 (hot food takeaways)Permitted change to A1A2 or A3 Temporary permitted change (2 years) to A1A2A3B1 (interchangeable with notification to the council, max 150m2)
B1 (business)

B1 Business is revoked from 1 September 2020. It is effectively replaced with the new Class E(g).

Permitted B1 change to B8 (max 500m2);

Temporary permitted change (2 years) to A1A2A3 (interchangeable with notification to the council, max 150m2);

Permitted B1 change to state-funded school or registered nursery (subject to prior approval);

B1(a) office permitted change to C3 (to be completed within a period of 3 years from prior approval date);

B1(c) light industrial permitted change (from 1 October 2017 until 30 September 2020 only) from B1(c) to C3, subject to prior approval (max 500m2), completion within 3 years of prior approval date.

B2 (general industrial)Permitted change to B1 and B8 (max 500m2)
B8 (storage and distribution)

Permitted change to B1 (max 500m2);

Permitted change to C3 (subject to prior approval, max 500m2) until 15 April 2018

C1 (Hotels)Permitted change to D1 state-funded school or registered nursery (and back to previous lawful use) (subject to prior approval)
C2 (Residential Institution)Permitted change to D1 state-funded school or registered nursery (and back to previous lawful use) (subject to prior approval)
C3 (dwellinghouses)C4 (small houses in multiple occupation). Please check if there is an Article 4 direction in your borough which could remove permitted development rights.
C4 (small houses in multiple occupation)C3 (dwellinghouses)
D1 (health care, educational, places of worship and other communal uses)

Class D is revoked from 1 September 2020.

  • D1 is split out and replaced by the new Classes E(e-f) and F1
  • D2 is split out and replaced by the new Classes E(d) and F2(c-d) as well as several newly defined ‘Sui Generis’ uses.

Temporary permitted change (2 years) to A1A2A3B1 (interchangeable with notification to the council, max 150m2)

D2 (Assembly and Leisure)

Permitted change to D1 state-funded school or registered nursery (and back to previous lawful use) (subject to prior approval);

Temporary permitted change (2 years) to A1A2A3B1 (interchangeable with notification to the council, max 150m2)

E (Commercial, business and service)Including retail, restaurant, office, financial/professional services, indoor sports, medical and nursery uses along with “any other services which it is appropriate to provide in a commercial, business or service locality”.
F1 (Learning and non-residential institutions)including non-residential educational uses, and use as a museum, art gallery, library, public hall, religious institution or law court; 
F2 (Local community)including use as a shop of no more than 280 sqm mostly selling essential goods, including food and at least 1km from another similar shop, and use as a community hall, area for outdoor sport, swimming pool or skating rink.
Sui Generis (Includes theatres, large HMOs (more than 6 people sharing), hostels, petrol stations, shops selling and / or displaying motor vehicles, scrap yards, retail warehouse clubs, nightclubs, laundrettes, taxi or vehicle hire businesses, amusement centres, casinos, funfairs, waste disposal installations, betting office, pay day loan shop)

Casino to A2 (subject to prior approval);

Casino to D2;

Amusement centre or casino to C3 (subject to prior approval, max 150m2);

Betting office or payday loan shop to – A1 or mixed use A1 and up to 2 flats (if a display window at ground floor level), – A2 or A2 mixed use and up to 2 flats, – A3 (max 150m2), – D2 (subject to prior approval, max 200m2), – C3 (subject to prior approval, max 150m2), or – mixed use betting office or pay day load shop and up to two flats Use as betting office, pay day loan shop or laundrette to C3 (subject to prior approval, max 150m2); Mixed use betting office, pay day loan shop or laundrette and dwellinghouse to C3 (subject to prior approval, max 150m2); Mixed use betting office and up to two flats to – A1 (if a display window at ground floor level), – A2 or betting office or pay day loan shop Temporary permitted change (2 years, max 150m2) from betting office or pay day loan shop to A1A2A3B1

  • public houses, wine bars, or drinking establishments – from 1 September 2020, previously Class A4
  • drinking establishments with expanded food provision – from 1 September 2020, previously Class A4
  • hot food takeaways (for the sale of hot food where consumption of that food is mostly undertaken off the premises) – from 1 September 2020, previously Class A5
  • venues for live music performance – newly defined as ‘Sui Generis’ use from 1 September 2020
  • cinemas – from 1 September 2020, previously Class D1(a)
  • concert halls – from 1 September 2020, previously Class D1(b)
  • bingo halls – from 1 September 2020, previously Class D1(c)
  • dance halls – from 1 September 2020, previously Class D1(d)

Please note: Any building in any Use Class can be used as a state-funded school for 2 academic years (Class A4 buildings are not included within this).

Please note: Permitted development rights can be removed by an Article 4 Direction. It is advised to check whether an Article 4 Direction is in place before proceeding with a permitted change of use. Please contact us if you require further assistance.

Planning permission is not needed when the existing and the proposed uses fall within the same ‘use class’, or if The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (as amended) (GPDO) says that a change of use is permitted to another specified ‘use class’.

For example, a greengrocer’s shop could be changed to a shoe shop without the need for planning permission as these uses fall within the same ‘use class’, and a restaurant could be changed to a shop or a estate agency as the GPDO allows this type of change to occur without requiring planning permission.

Whilst a change of use might not need permission, any external building work associated with a change of use may still require planning permission.

The table below summarises the permitted changes of use following the latest updates to legislation which came into force on 6 April 2016 (see links below). The table simplifies the complex legislation and should be read as a guide only, and in conjunction with the additional comments and restrictions below.

Other restrictions

The table provides a summary for the most common changes of use that apply in most circumstances, but there may also be further restrictions that do not allow you to implement the change of use. For example, if the property is within a Conservation Area, National Park, or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, or if the building is a Listed Building or Scheduled Monument, within a site of special scientific interest, safety hazard area, or military explosives area.

Larger houses in multiple occupation usually require a licence, find out more information and how to apply for a licence in the private renting section of Gov.uk.

Local Planning Authorities can also remove permitted development rights in certain areas, meaning that you will require planning permission, so you should always check with your local Council before you consider undertaking any works.

Some changes of use are also permitted, either only on a temporary basis, and/or subject to additional restrictions.

Prior approval

Some changes of use are subject to a prior approval procedure with the Local Planning Authority. This seeks approval of various matters, dependent on the nature of the use, but might typically include matters relating to parking and highways, flooding, and contaminated land. In the case of A3 uses, prior approval is required in respect of matters relating to noise, odour, waste collection, impact of the hours of opening, transport and highways impact, impact on existing shopping provision, the design of any external changes and a statement specifying the net increase in dwellinghouses proposed by the development.

All prior approval applications require a fee to be paid to the Local Planning Authority.

Community assets

There are some restrictions on the change of use of public houses (A4) where they have been designated or could be nominated as a “community asset”. If a public house has already been defined by the Council as a community asset then there are no permitted development rights, and a planning application is required for any change of use or demolition. If the building is not a community asset, developers are required to give notice to the Local Planning Authority at least 56 days in advance of the commencement of any works. If community groups are then interested in buying the property to retain it as a community asset, then permitted development rights are temporarily removed, and the community group must be given the opportunity to purchase the property. See Assets of Community Value (England) Regulations 2012.

Mixed use

Where a development comprises a “mixed use” in the retail uses classes and betting office / pay day loans shop category then there are also some permitted development rights for changes of use of that mixed use, similar to the presiding use identified in the table above. Check with your Local Planning Authority (See GPDO Schedule 2, Part 3, Class M).

Office to Residential

Temporary permitted development rights currently apply in respect of the change of use of premises from a B1(a) office use to C3 residential use. This is subject to Prior Approval being sought in respect of flooding, contamination, highways and transport issues and impacts of noise from commercial premises on the intended occupiers of the development. For a property to benefit from C3 use, the use must begin by 30th May 2019 (See GPDO Schedule 2, Part 3, Class O) or for developments assessed against the post-6th April 2016 amendments (see SI 332 amendments in relation to change of use of offices to dwellinghouses), development must be completed within three years starting with the prior approval date.

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015, Schedule 2, Part 3, Class M (which was updated in 2016) also permits the building operations reasonably necessary to convert the building to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) of that Schedule and so the alterations to the windows can be carried out under this application and does not need a separate full application.

Storage / Distribution to Residential

Temporary permitted development rights also apply in respect of the change of use of premises from a B8 storage and distribution use under 500m2 to C3 residential use. This is subject to a number of criteria being met and subject to Prior Approval being sought in respect of air quality, transport and highways impacts, contamination risks, flooding risks, noise impact, and impact on the sustainability of adjoining uses. For a property to benefit from C3 use, the use must begin by 15th April 2018 (See GPDO Schedule 2, Part 3, Class P).

Temporary change of use

Buildings with A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, B1, D1 and D2 uses are permitted to change use for a single period of up two years to A1, A2, A3 and B1 uses. (See GPDO Schedule 2, Part 4 Class D)

Agricultural buildings

Agricultural buildings under 450m2 are permitted to change to C3 use (dwellinghouses), together with some building operations necessary to facilitate the conversion. This is subject to meeting certain criteria, including no more than 3 dwellings within an agricultural unit.

It is also subject to Prior Approval being sought in respect of transport and highways impacts, noise impact, contamination risks, flooding risks, whether the building is suitable for a residential use, and the design or external appearance of the building (See GPDO Schedule 2, Part 3, Class Q).

Agricultural buildings under 500m2 are permitted to change to a flexible commercial use, comprising A1, A2, A3, B1, B8, C1 or D2 uses. This is subject to meeting certain criteria, and Prior Approval being sought in relation to uses over 150m2 in respect of transport and highways impacts, noise impact, contamination risks and flooding risks (See GPDO Schedule 2, Part 3, Class R).

Agricultural buildings within land under 500m2 are permitted to change to a state funded school or a registered nursery. This is subject to meeting certain criteria, and Prior Approval being sought in respect of transport and highways impacts, noise impact, contamination risks, flooding risks and whether the building is suitable for the proposed use (See GPDO Schedule 2, Part 3, Class S).

Light industrial to dwellinghouses

This change of use is set out in Class PA, introduced by The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Order 2016.

It allows a change of use from B1(c) (light industrial) to C3 (dwellinghouses) subject to limitations and conditions including the prior approval of the local planning authority in respect of certain matters.

It is only applicable to applications received on or after 1 October 2017, for which prior approval is granted before 1 October 2020. Development must then be completed within 3 years of the prior approval date.

State funded schools and registered nurseries

Buildings and land within B1, C1, C2, C2A and D2 uses are permitted to change to a state funded school or registered nursery. This is subject to meeting certain criteria, and Prior Approval being sought in respect of transport and highways impacts, noise impact, and contamination risks (See GPDO Schedule 2, Part 3, Class T).

See here for further information on the use classes.

Contact us for more information on Use Classes Order and Permitted Changes of Use

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