Change to the Use Classes Order. What you need to know.
13 October 2020 by Sharon Smith
As part of the government’s response to planning and the Covid-19 pandemic we have seen a change to the Use Classes Order to create the new more flexible Class E use class.
The purpose of this change has been to allow the commercial sector to change rapidly and respond during the Covid-19 pandemic to preserve business and economic activity as far as possible through the flexibility that Class E provides.
What were the old use Classes?
The old use Classes A, B1, and D were revoked from the 1st September 2020 and replaced by the new Class E, which is in force until the end of July 2021. Class E now provides some flexibility for the commercial, business, and service sectors.
What are the new use Classes?
The new Class E is divided into categories (a) to (g), which broadly encompass the now revoked Classes, but where the uses are contained within a single-use Class thereby providing the flexibility throughout the use Class that was not fully available with the now revoked Classes.
Previously some changes of use may not have been possible without the submission and consideration of an express planning application, all taking time to prepare by the applicant and determine by the local planning authority. The flexibility now means that changes of use, subject to meeting the requirements and there being no controlling planning conditions, can be more responsive to economic circumstances if the existing and proposed use fall within the new use Class E.
New defined local community use
Class F has also been introduced from the 21st September replacing the revoked use Classes of D1 and D2(e). In addition, a newly defined local community use has been introduced. This local community use Class makes provision for community shops (subject to criteria), halls/meeting places for the principal use by the local community, areas/places for outdoor recreation that does not include motorised vehicles/firearms, and for indoor/outdoor swimming pools or skating rinks.
Amongst others pubs, wine bars/drinking establishments, drinking establishments with expanded food provision, venues for live music, cinemas, concert halls, bingo halls, dance halls, and hot food takeaways are now sui generis uses meaning any change of use of these uses now requires express planning permission.
If you would like a free 15-minute virtual appointment with Sharon to discuss the revised use classes or any other planning related matter, please contact FJG on 01206 700113 or email [email protected].
For more information on legal updates and changes during the Coronavirus pandemic, visit our Coronavirus Legal Advice hub.