Planning Permission

Guide to the use class order in England (from October 2020)

Following the introduction of the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020, our updated two-page guide to the Use Classes Order in England brings together all of the latest changes.

This is intended as an initial reference guide only. Reference must be made to the Use Classes Order 1987 (as amended) and the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (as amended) for limitations (e.g. floorspace maxima), restrictions, conditions and details of any requirements for any application for determination as to whether the prior approval of the local planning authority will be required (which may include the prior approval of building operations).

There have been numerous amendments to these Orders and reference to consolidated versions is recommended.


Use Class from 1 September 2020 Use Class until 31 August 2020 and for the purpose of interpreting permitted development rights to 31 July 2021 Permitted change until at least 31 July 2021

Class B2

General industry
(no change)

B2 – General industry
Industrial process other than that falling within Class B1
Permitted change to B1 and B8

Class B8

Storage and distribution
(no change)

B8 – Storage and distribution
Use for storage or as a distribution centre
Permitted change to B1

Use Class from 1 September 2020 Use Class until 31 August 2020 and for the purpose of interpreting permitted development rights to 31 July 2021 Permitted change until at least 31 July 2021

Class C1

Hotels
(no change)

C1 – Hotels
Hotels, boarding and guest houses (where no significant element of care is provided)
Permitted change to state-funded school or registered nursery (and back to previous lawful use) (subject to prior approval)

Class C2

Residential institutions
(no change)

C2 – Residential institutions
Residential accommodation and care to people in need of care, residential schools, colleges or training centres, hospitals, nursing homes
Permitted change to state-funded school or registered nursery (and back to previous lawful use) (subject to prior approval)

Class C2a

Secure residential institutions
(no change)

C2a – Secure residential institutions
Prisons, young offenders’ institutions, detention centres, secure training centres etc.
Permitted change to state-funded school or registered nursery (and back to previous lawful use) (subject to prior approval)

Class C3

Dwelling-houses
(no change)

C3 – Dwelling-houses
Uses as a dwellinghouse (whether or not as main residence) by: A single person or by people to be regarded as forming a single household Not more than 6 residents
Permitted change to C4

Class C4

Houses in multiple occupation
(no change)

C4 – Houses in multiple occupation Permitted change to C3

Use Class from 1 September 2020 Use Class until 31 August 2020 and for the purpose of interpreting permitted development rights to 31 July 2021 Permitted change until at least 31 July 2021

Class E

Commercial, Business and Service
Shops, restaurants, financial and professional services, indoor sport, recreation or fitness, not involving motorised vehicles or firearms, health or medical services, creche, nursery or day centre principally to visiting members of the public, an office, research and development, or any industrial process that can be carried out in any residential area without detriment to amenity.

A1 – Shops (part)
Shops, retail warehouses, post offices, ticket and travel agencies, sale of cold food for consumption off premises, hairdressers, funeral directors, hire shops, dry cleaners, internet cafes
Temporary permitted change (3 years) to a flexible use falling within A2, A3, B1 (e.g. where a condition prevents operation of the UCO), public library, gallery, exhibition hall, museum, clinic or health centre (interchangeable with notification) see also 2019 Order

Permitted change of A1 or mixed A1 and dwellinghouse to C3 (subject to prior approval) (see also 2018 Order and 2020 Order)

Permitted change to D2 (subject to prior approval)

Permitted change from A1 to mixed use (A1 or A2 & up to 2 flats); and from mixed use (A1 & up to 2 flats) to A1 or A2

A2 – Financial and professional services
(Banks, building societies, estate and employment agencies, professional services (not health or medical services))
Temporary permitted change (3 years) to a flexible use falling within A1, A3, B1 (e.g. where a condition prevents operation of the UCO), public library, gallery, exhibition hall, museum, clinic or health centre (interchangeable with notification) see also 2019 Order

Permitted change of A2 or mixed A2 and dwellinghouse to C3 (subject to prior approval) (see also 2018 Order and 2020 Order)

Permitted change to D2 (subject to prior approval)

Permitted change from A2 to mixed use (A1 or A2 & up to 2 flats); and from mixed use (A1 & up to 2 flats) to A1 or A2

A3 – Food and drink
Restaurants and cafes
Temporary permitted change (3 years) to a flexible use falling within A1, A2, B1 (e.g. where a condition prevents operation of the UCO), public library, gallery, exhibition hall, museum, clinic or health centre (interchangeable with notification) see also 2019 Order

Temporary permitted change of use to a use for the provision of takeaway food, including class A5 (from 24 March 2020 to 23 March 2021, subject to notification)

B1 – Business
a. Office other than a use within Class A2
b. Research and development of products or processes
c. For any industrial process (which can be carried out in any residential area without causing detriment to the amenity of the area)
Permitted change to B8

B1(a) office permitted change to C3, see also 2020 Order

Temporary permitted change (3 years) to a flexible use falling within A1, A2, A3 (e.g. where a condition prevents operation of the UCO), public library, gallery, exhibition hall, museum, clinic or health centre (interchangeable with notification) see also 2019 Order

Permitted change to state-funded school or registered nursery (and back to previous lawful use) (subject to prior approval)

D1 – Non-residential institutions (part)
Clinics, health centres, creches, day nurseries, day centre
Temporary permitted change (3 years) to a flexible use falling within A1, A2, A3, B1 (interchangeable with notification) see also 2019 Order
D2 – Assembly and leisure (part)
Gymnasiums, indoor recreations not involving motorised vehicles or firearms
Permitted change to state-funded school or registered nursery (and back to previous lawful use) (subject to prior approval)

Temporary permitted change (3 years) to a flexible use falling within A1, A2, A3, B1 public library, gallery, exhibition hall, museum, clinic or health centre (interchangeable with notification) see also 2019 Order

Use Class from 1 September 2020 Use Class until 31 August 2020 and for the purpose of interpreting permitted development rights to 31 July 2021 Permitted change until at least 31 July 2021

Class F1

Learning and non-residential institutions

D1 – Non-residential institutions (part)
Schools, non-residential education and training centres, museums, public libraries, public halls, exhibition halls, places of worship, law court
See Class D1 permitted development rights above

Class F2

Local community uses
Community halls, outdoor sport or recreation not involving motorised vehicles or firearms, indoor or outdoor swimming pools or skating rinks, shop of less than 280sqm selling essential goods and at least 1km from a similar shop

D2 – Assembly and leisure (part)
Indoor or outdoor swimming baths, skating rinks, and outdoor sports or recreations not involving motorised vehicles or firearms
See Class D2 permitted development rights above
A1 – Shops (part) See Class A1 permitted development rights above

Use Class from 1 September 2020 Use Class until 31 August 2020 and for the purpose of interpreting permitted development rights to 31 July 2021 Permitted change until at least 31 July 2021

Sui generis

Uses which do not fall within the specified use classes above

Includes theatres, large HMO (more than 6 people sharing), hostels, petrol filling stations, shops selling and/or displaying motor vehicles, scrap yards, retail warehouse clubs, nightclubs, launderettes, taxi or vehicle hire businesses, amusement centres, casinos, funfairs, waste disposal installations, betting offices, payday loan shops, pubs or drinking establishments, drinking establishments with expanded food provision, hot food takeaways, venues for live music performance, cinemas, concert halls, bingo halls, dance halls.

A4 – Pub or drinking establishment Permitted change to or from a use falling “within Class A4 with a use falling within Class A3” (“drinking establishments with expanded food provision”)

Temporary permitted change of use to a use for the provision of takeaway food, including class A5 (from 24 March 2020 to 23 March 2021, subject to notification)

A5 – Hot food takeaway Permitted change to A1, A2 or A3

Temporary permitted change (3 years) to a flexible use falling within A1, A2, A3, B1, public library, gallery, exhibition hall, museum, clinic or health centre (interchangeable with notification) see also 2019 Order

Permitted change to B1(a) offices (subject to prior approval)

Permitted change to C3 (subject to prior approval) see also 2020 Order

D2 – Assembly and leisure (part)
Cinemas, concert halls, bingo halls and dance halls
See Class D2 permitted development rights above
Sui Generis
Includes theatres, large HMO (more than 6 people sharing), hostels, petrol filling stations, shops selling and/or displaying motor vehicles, scrap yards, retail warehouse clubs, nightclubs, launderettes, taxi or vehicle hire businesses, amusement centres, casinos, funfairs, waste disposal installations, betting offices, payday loan shops
Casino to A3 (subject to prior approval)

Casino to D2

Amusement centre or casino to C3 (subject to prior approval) see also 2020 Order

Betting office or payday loan shop to A1, A2, A3, D2 (subject to prior approval)

Betting office or payday loan shop to mixed-use A1 and up to 2 flats (if a display window at ground floor level), or mixed A2 and up to 2 flats, or mixed-use betting office or payday loan shop and up to 2 flats

Betting office, payday loan shop or launderette to B1(a) offices (subject to prior approval)

Betting office, payday loan shop or launderette to C3 (subject to prior approval) see also 2020 Order

Mixed use betting office, payday loan shop or launderette and dwellinghouse to C3 (subject to prior approval) see also 2020 Order

Mixed use betting office or payday loan shop and up to two flats to A1 (if a display window at ground floor level), A2, betting office or payday loan shop

Temporary permitted change (3 years) from betting office or payday loan shop to A1, A2, A3, B1, public library, exhibition hall, museum, clinic or health centre (interchangeable with notification)

Additional changes of use
Agriculture buildings Permitted change to C3 (subject to prior approval) (the provisions of the 2015 Order must be read with the provisions of the 2018 Amendment Order and 2019 Amendment Regulations); see also 2020 Order

Flexible changes to A1, A2, A3, B1, B8, C1, D2 (subject to limitations and prior approval process): new use is sui generis

Permitted change to state-funded school or registered nursery (subject to prior approval)

Temporary change of use Any building in any Use Class and any land within its curtilage, except Class A4 or Class AA use (“drinking establishments with expanded food provision”), can be used as a state-funded school for up to 2 academic years (with limitations and conditions).

Certain vacant commercial land (with all buildings demolished) may be developed to provide temporary school buildings, and the land used as a state-funded school for up to 3 academic years, subject to prior approval, and with limitations and conditions, including that the building must be removed at the end of the third academic year.

Where planning application made after 5 December 1988, permitted development rights allow the use to be changed to another use granted permission at the same time for a period of ten years from the date of planning permission, unless consisting of a change of use to a betting office or payday loan shop: GPDO (2015) Schedule 2 Part 3 Class V.

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