Each building generally has a Use Class Order.  This is the classification given by the Local Authority, and indicates the type of use that would be permitted for that building or site.  The classification is outlined by the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended).

For example, shops and retail usage fall into the category of ‘A1 Shops’, businesses usually fall into ‘B1 Business’, and dwellings usually fall into C3.  Please see the link below for a full list of Use Class Orders.

If you wish to change an existing Use, an Application for Change of Use will be required.  It is worth remembering that if you are buying or leasing a premises to run your business from, you should check whether you need to obtain Planning Permission for your intended use.  We can help you with these enquiries.

There are occasions where a change of use of a building or land does not need Planning Permission, because the present and proposed uses fall within the same ‘Class’.

Since 30th May 2013, the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order also says that a change of Use Class is permitted to another specified Use Class.  The Government legislation on this matter is susceptible to change, so please visit http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/permission/commonprojects/changeofuse to check the latest guidance.

Usually, changes to the exterior of a building and external signage associated with a Change of Use will require an Application for Planning Permission.

If you are in doubt, or require any further information or help, please do get in touch; we’ll be pleased to help.