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Home > Company News > Use Class Orders explained, by Alison Broderick, Savills Planning

Use Class Orders explained, by Alison Broderick, Savills Planning

Posted on: 27/10/2020

The Use Class Order relates to the town and country planning process, grouping property and land into classes according to function.

Until September 2020, there were four classes, A-D, each containing a number of subgroups. Since then, a significant reform of the Use Class Order has taken place, introducing Classes E, F.1 and F.2.

A change of use within the same class does not constitute development and therefore doesn’t require planning permission.

Not everything is covered by the Use Class Order, with notable exceptions being theatres, hostels and casinos. Businesses which sit outside the system are known as ‘sui generis’, Latin for ‘of its own kind’. These may require planning permission for change of use.

The Use Class Order is updated periodically and it is the responsibility of the local authority to determine the class of any individual property. A campaign group has taken the case to the High Court to determine whether a judicial review of the changes introduced in September should take place, and whether they were brought in lawfully.

If you are planning to change the use of a property – you will need to check with your local authority to determine whether planning permission is required.

In many instances, a Change of Use application will need to be submitted, although there are exceptions where legislation allows some changes under permitted development rights. Sometimes prior notification will need to be made to the local planning authority – a purposefully ‘light touch’ application where the principle of development is agreed through PD rights.

If an application is required, the local authority will consider any change of use on the basis of providing a suitable balance between residential development and uses for business purposes.



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