What is Class E and why is it important? 27 Jan 2022
Throughout the pandemic the retail sector has suffered with store closures. The Government responded to the problem by changing the Use Class Order to help businesses locate premises with less restriction, giving a mixture of different uses the ability to find a property without having to apply for a change of use.
What is class E?
A new use class was introduced on 1st September 2020 known as Class E. Class E consists of a broad range of uses including Classes A1, A2, A3 and parts of D1 and D2. The Government introduced Class E to help speed up the revival of town centre high streets and allow more flexibility to change between uses that fall within Class E without the need of seeking planning permission.
The three new use classes are, F.1 and F.2 which came into effect on the 1 September 2020. The most change will be seen through the new Class E, where a variety of different uses have been combined, providing more flexibility for businesses in their search for new premises.
Class E is now made up of the following uses:-
- A1 – Shops
- A2 – Financial and Professional Services (not medical)
- A3 – Café or restaurant
- B1(a) – Office other than a use within use class A2
- B1(b) – Research and development of products or processes
- B1(c) – For any industrial process (Which can be carried out in any residential area without causing detriment to the amenity of the area)
- D1 – Clinics, Health Centres, Creches, day nurseries and day centres.
- D2 – Gymnasiums, indoor recreations not involving motorised vehicles or firearms.
This means that if the use of a property falls within Class E, it is now possible to change to another use within the class without the need for planning permission. (All interested parties will need to carry out their own due diligence where some exceptions may apply). We have found that since this change was introduced it has helped many businesses with making the process simpler to find a suitable premises and provided more options within their search.
What if my use is not listed above?
Several remaining uses now fall under Sui Generis, not being able to change under Permitted Development, therefore tenants will need to make an application to the Local Authority for change of use.* This includes the following uses:-
- A4 Pub/drinking establishment
- A5 hot food takeaway
- D2 Live Music Venue
- D2(a) Cinema
- D2(b) Concert Hall
- D2 (c) Bingo Hall
Uses such as B2, B8, C1, C2, C2a, C3 and C4 remain unchanged.
*Local authority websites to make an application include:
- Search planning applications in Watford- click here
- Search planning applications covering Three Rivers- click here
- Search planning in Hertsmere- click here
What falls under F.1 and F.2?
Two other use classes were created in 2020, Class F.1 and F.2 and they include the following:-
- Non-residential educational uses
- Art Galleries
- Public Hall
- Religious institution
- Law Court
Class F.2 (local community)
Use as a shop of no more than 280 sq m mostly selling essential goods, including food. At least 1km away from a similar shop.
- A community hall
- Area for outdoor sport
- Swimming pool
- Skating rink
Where can I find out more information?
To find out what the existing use for a particular property is, or to confirm the specifics of any potential changes to the use of your property we recommend contacting your Local Planning Authority here to confirm whether or not planning permission or prior approval is required.
Alternatively, don’t hesitate to call one of our property experts on 01923 239080 for free advice if you are considering any change of use. Or to find out more about the services we offer, please click here