Radical new legislation is changing the commercial scenery

A great deal of very significant planning legislation came into force in September 2020 and we find ourselves constantly asked by our clients and prospective tenants about the changes made to the Town and County Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 that we felt it beneficial to write another piece on the same subject.

The changes came into effect from 1 September 2020 and the main change was to allow permitted uses to be changed within the same use class without any need for obtaining planning permission. Use classes A1, A2, A3 and B1 have all been abolished and grouped together in a new class E.

What it means is that a change of use from a shop to an office, or an office to a leisure facility, or a creche to a light industrial process – is no longer classed as “development”.  Such changes no longer require planning permission and they cannot be scrutinised or opposed by the local planning authority.



Download our’Use Classes in England’ chart here.

This is a truly radical change. In many cases it should be welcomed – take a look at the local high street even before the Pandemic it wasn’t quite the bustling centre of social and business life that it once was, albeit that recovery is starting to happen.

But while it is the high street, principally, that is supposed to be the main beneficiary of these changes there is nothing in the legislation excluding its effect from out of town shopping centres and business parks. The effects of all this are going to be extremely far-reaching and new cases are being determined on an almost weekly basis.

If you need help with the current or proposed use of a premises then please get in touch with us and we can put you in touch with one of our associate planning consultants.

Content accurate at time of publishing.

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