There are four main use class typologies:- A Classes, which cover retail and food and drink consumption; B classes which cover places of work like office and manufacturing; C classes, which cover places of residence and D classes which cover institutions and leisure uses.  New rules have however created some new classes which include Class E, which includes commercial, business and service uses; Class F1, which includes learning and non-residential institutions and Class F2, which includes local community.

The new Class E incorporates the previous shops (A1), financial and professional services (A2), restaurants and cafes (A3) and offices (B1) use classes.  Uses such as gyms, nurseries and health centres (previously in D1 non-residential institutions and D2 assembly and leisure) and other uses considered suitable for a town centre are also included in new Class E.

Use Class F1 (Learning and Non-residential institutions) incorporates those uses from the former D1 non-residential institutions use class, which are more likely to involve buildings which are regularly in wider public use such as schools, libraries and art galleries.

The new Class F2 (local community) groups together those uses from the former D2 use Class, which provide for group activities of a more physical nature – swimming, skating and areas for outdoor sports etc (not including use of motorised vehicles or firearms).  It also includes where the use is principally by the local community.  The F2 class also includes what would be considered shops servicing the essential needs of local communities.  This is defined as a shop mostly selling a range of essential dry goods and food to visiting members of the public where there is no commercial class retail within 1000 metres and the shop area is no larger than 280m2.

The residential (C classes), general industrial (B2) and storage and distribution (B8) use classes remain unchanged (expect for a new cross reference in B2 to the new ‘commercial’ class).

The former A4 drinking establishments and A5 hot food takeaway use classes have been removed and these uses do not now fall within any class meaning these uses will be subject to full consideration through the planning application process.  The same can be said of cinemas, concert, dance and bingo halls which previously fell into the D2 use class, i.e. you will require planning permission to change their use.

Importantly, a building or use will continue to be subject to any permitted development rights that it was entitled to on or before 31 August 2020.  However, this transitional provision will only remain in place until 31 July 2021.  Importantly, it is worth remembering that a change of use within a single use class is not considered to be development and therefore does not require planning permission.

These changes come into effect on 1 September.