Posted by tungstenmg Last updated 7th September 2020 reading time
What is a planning class?
Since 1987 there has been a Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order which replaced the 1972 and 1983 versions and it states the uses of a property that have been assigned by the local authority.
Knowing about the planning classes is key for anyone purchasing a property with the plan to demolish the buildings or change how the building or land is used such as creating flats from an office block. The changes can be internal as well as external, and can fall under permitted development rights which mean you do not need to apply for planning permission. You must do your due diligence on your purchase to know how your development plans will be affected by its current class and what class you wish to move it to.
There is a new Class F1 for residential and non-residential institutions and Class F2 for community uses
What does the new planning class mean?
The biggest change to the planning system was announced by the Prime Minister this summer as they introduced a new class, Class E.
As of 1st September 2020 the classes will be A1 (Shops), A2 (Financial and professional services), Class A3 (Restaurants and cafes), and Class B1 (Business) are to be treated as falling within the new Class E (Commercial, business, and services).
It means that you should be able to make a change of use within the sub categories of Class E easier then before, which should give a property developer more flexibility.
New Class E will help the government rejuvenate, and safeguard our town centres and long suffering High Streets, with greater flexibility to move between a range of commercial uses within Class E.
What are the pros and cons for this new class?
More flexibility for commercial, business, and service change of use
Ability to rejuvenate and assist our high streets and town centres
Sign that property laws are being revwied and being updated to allow property developers to provide what the current market needs
There could be restrictions on how you move around the sub-classes
Local authorities will still have control over planning applications
There are other issues with change of use such as listed building status