Changes to the Use Classes Order come into force

Legislation Update
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Today, new regulations come into force which significantly streamline the use classes order.

Use classes A1, A2, A3, B1 (a, b and c) and certain uses within classes D1 and D2 are now subsumed into the newly created Class E. As a result, commercial units operating under these existing uses are now able to switch flexibly between a wide range of town centre uses without applying for planning permission.

There are detailed provisions which provide clarity on how and when the changes take effect within the transitional period, namely:

– From today, all buildings and land operating under the above use classes transfer to the new Class E. Changing to another use within Class E is now possible without planning permission;

– Buildings/land not currently operated under their permitted use must be brought into that use prior to changing use within Class E;

– From today until 31 July 2021, change of use PD rights described in the GPDO will be applied based on the existing use classes, as they existed on 31 August 2020. New PD rights are to be introduced from 1 August 2021;

– Applications for planning permission, permission in principle or approval of reserved matters under an outline application, submitted before 1 September 2020 and referring to the existing use classes, must be determined using the existing use classes;

– Planning Practice Guidance has been updated to reflect the new changes as they come into effect today.

We look forward to working with clients to use the new use classes and to seeing how these changes will reinvigorate the high street. If you have a building that requires a change of use and are unsure where it fits into the new system, please get in touch with the Firstplan team.