Using commercial premises for retail or professional services purposes

Premises used for Shops and Professional Services


Shops – use class A1

Use of commercial premises as a shop comes within use class A1 of the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended). Use class A1 covers a variety of retail uses, the most common being for the retail sale of goods other than hot food. However, other uses come with use class A1 too. These include use:

• as a post office

• for the sale of tickets or as a travel agency

• for the sale of sandwiches or other cold food for consumption off the premises

• for hairdressing

• for the direction of funerals

• for the display of goods for sale

• for the hiring out of domestic or personal goods or articles

• for the reception of goods to be washed, cleaned or repaired

• where the sale, display or service is to visiting members of the public

• as an internet café, where the primary purpose of the premises is to provide facilities for enabling members of the public to access the internet.

Financial and professional services – use class A2

Use class A2 covers premises where financial and professional services are provided to visiting members of the public. Examples include banks, estate agents and solicitors.

Can I change the permitted use?

Certain changes of use of class A1 premises do not require planning permission (subject to certain conditions being complied with). These are:

• Change of use within use class A1, for example from a retail shop to a hairdressing salon

• Change to an A2 use (financial and professional)

• Change to an A3 use (restaurants and cafes)

• Change to a mixed use for any A1 or A2 use plus up to two flats

• Change to a D2 use (assembly and leisure)

• Change to a C3 use (dwellinghouse).

Planning permission is required for any other change of use. Similarly, certain changes of use of class A2 premises do not require planning permission (subject to conditions being complied with). These are:

• Change of use within use class A2, for example from a bank to an estate agency

• Change to an A1 use, where the premises include a ground floor display window.

• Change to an A3 use (restaurants and cafes)

• Change to a mixed use for any A2 use plus up to two flats

• Where the premises include a ground floor display window, change to a mixed use for any A1 use plus up to two flats

• Change to a D2 use (assembly and leisure)

• Change to a C3 use (dwellinghouse).

Other changes of use from class A2 require planning permission.

Top