From 1 September major changes will be made to the Town and Country
Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987. These changes apply to England only.
Commercial property owners and developers should take note of these changes
as they may affect, either positively or negatively, your ability to change
the use of your property.
Changes to the current use classes
The Use Classes Order will continue to apply in its current form to
properties in Wales. However, significant changes are being made to the
regime in England. As the Property document portfolio focuses largely on
offices, shops and industrial premises, our landlord customers will be
particularly interested in the use classes below and their new equivalents:
• Class A1 (shops) is revoked and replaced with Class E(a).
• Class A2 (financial and professional services) is revoked and replaced
with Class E(c).
• Class A3 (restaurants and cafes) is revoked and replaced with Class E(b).
• Class A4 (pubs, wine bars or other drinking establishments) is revoked
and no equivalent use class will exist. Instead this use becomes “sui
generis”, meaning that a specific planning permission is required to change
to and from this use.
• Class A5 (hot food takeaways) is also revoked and becomes sui generis.
• Class B1(a), (b) & (c) (offices, research and light industry) are
revoked and replaced with Class E(g).
• Class B2 (general industrial uses) remains.
• Class B8 – (storage and distribution) remains.
• Class D2 (assembly and leisure) is revoked. Some of its uses become sui
generis, including cinemas and live music venues, others are moved to Class
E(d) (indoor sport) or F2 (local community uses).
New use classes E and F2
New Class E covers shops and restaurants (previously A1 and A3), financial
and professional services (previously A2), offices, research and light
industry (previously B1), indoor sports uses (previously D2) and medical
services, nurseries and day centres (previously D1). This is significant
because changes within a use class may be made freely and do not require
New Class F2 is for local community uses and includes four quite different
uses: small shops (under 280 square metres, where there is no other such
facility within 1km), community halls, outdoor sports facilities and indoor
or outdoor swimming pools and skating rinks. The idea is apparently to
protect these facilities by limiting the scope for a change of use.
Changes of use
Landlords and developers should note that, until 31 July 2021, the old use
classes will apply for the purposes of Permitted Development rights (i.e.
changes between use classes allowed under the General Permitted Development
The lease templates have been updated to include, for properties in England,
references to the new use classes. The updated templates should be used for
new lettings from 1 September. No action is required in the case of
existing leases. When granting leases, landlords should consider whether
they wish to stipulate a wide “permitted use”, e.g. “use within class E” or
a more specific use, e.g. “as a shop”.
The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute
legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific