Government proposes reform of the Use Class Order

· The government has announced changes to Town Centre Use Classes, which will provide more flexibility for changes in uses without the need for planning permission as high streets and city centres struggle to deal with the impact of on-line retailers and Covid 19.

· The changes will be implemented from 1 September 2020.

· The new use Class E will replace the existing A1, A1, A3 and B1 use classes.

· These existing classes refer to the following:
o Class A1 – shops;
o Class A2- financial and professional services;
o Class A3 – restaurants and cafes;
o Class B1 – business.

· Through the creation of the new use Class E, land or buildings that are utilised for the above uses will not need to obtain planning permission for changes within this use class.

· There will also be new class, Class F1 and F2 will also allow the change of use within each class.

· The Class F1 will be used for learning and non-residential institutions. This will include:
A) for the provision of education;
B) for the display of works of art (otherwise than for sale or hire),
C) as a museum,
D) as a public library or public reading room,
E) as a public hall or exhibition hall,
F) for, or in connection with, public worship or religious instruction,
G) as a law court.

· The Class F2 will be used for local community use. This will include:
A) A shop mostly selling essential goods, including food, to visiting members of the public in circumstances where:
i) The shops premises cover an area not more than 280 metres square
ii) There is no other such facility within 1000 metre radius of the shops location
B) A hall or meeting place for the principal use of the local community.
C) An area or place for outdoor sport or recreation. These activities should not involve motorised vehicles or firearms.
D) An indoor or outdoor swimming pool or skating rink.

· These changes should allow more flexibility for businesses adapting to post-Covid demands with less high street footfall, the rise of home working and growth of e-commerce .

If there is any information you wish to discuss further, please contact one of our partners.

This article is prepared with the intention of providing general information on the changes in law. Philip Ross Solicitors accept no responsibility for errors it may contain and the coverage of the topic is not comprehensive. You are advised to speak directly to the writer or another partner within this firm with any specific enquiries on the topic addressed.

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Daniel co-founded a successful niche West End London law firm where he was a partner for over twenty years. He now acts for numerous property investors, developers, retail chains and high net worth individuals.