What is a Change of Use

  image showing reception in one of our change of use projects

Change of use from A1 retail to D2 studio gym (2,400 square feet.)

 

If you wish to apply for a change of use of a premises, you may need planning permission from your LPA. However, permission will not be needed if your existing and intended use fall within the same class or range of classes, see class list in the table below. Also certain changes of use are permitted without applying for permission, as also shown in brief in the second table below.

 

Use Classes


Uses for buildings are classed in the order shown below, and their respective planning permissions should correspond with the correct class. The LPA will decide the appropriate class per case.

ClassDefinition
A1Shops
A2Financial and professional services
A3Restaurants and cafés
A4Drinking Establishments
A5Hot Food Takeaways
B1Business
B2General industrial
B3 to B7Special industrial
B8Storage or distribution
C1Hotels and hostels
C2Residential institutions
C3Residential dwellings
D1Non-residential institutions
D2Assembly and leisure
Sui GenerisThe sui generis legal definition is buildings that do not fall within any particular use class

Please note the above list is not exhaustive and is intended as a guide. You can call or email us to discuss your intended use via the link below.

 

Sui generis

One sui generis example could be a theatre. In fact there are several, as follows:

  • amusement arcade
  • casino
  • dry cleaning
  • hostel without significant care provision
  • HMO with occupation payable
  • launderette
  • nightclub
  • filling stations
  • car show room
  • warehouse retail club e.g. cash & carry
  • scrap yard
  • private pre-booked taxi firm
  • theatres

 

render showing gym in one of our change of use projects

Training area for martial arts gym

 

Changes of Use


Examples under Permitted Development

FromTo
A1A1 plus up to two flats above
A2A2 plus up to two flats above
A2 (professional and financial services) when premises have a display window at ground levelA1 (shop)
A3 (restaurants and cafes)A1 or A2
A4 (drinking establishments)A1, A2 or A3
A5 (hot food takeaways)A1, A2 or A3
B1 (business) (not more than 500 square metres of floor space)B8 (storage and distribution)
B2 (general industrial)B1 (business)
B2 (general industrial) (not more than 500 square metres of floor space)B8 (storage and distribution)
B8 (storage and distribution) (not more than 500 square metres of floor space)B1 (business)
C3C4 HMOs
C4C3
Sui generis – casinoD2 – Leisure
Agricultural buildings under 500 square metresA1, A2, A3, B1, B8, C1 and D2 (subject to prior approval of certain aspects)
B1, C1, C2, C2A and D2State-funded school (subject to prior approval of certain aspects)
B1(a) office useC3 residential use (subject to prior approvalof certain aspects)
A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, B1, D1 and D2A1, A2, A3 and B1 uses for a single period of up two years
B1 and B2B8 Thresholds increased from 235 square metres to 500 square metres
B2 and B8B1 Thresholds increased from 235 square metres to 500 square metres for permitted development
A1 and A2 small shop or provider of professional / financial servicesC3 residential use (subject to prior approvalof certain aspects)
A1 shopBank or a building society
Buildings used for agricultural purposesC3 residential use (subject to prior approvalof certain aspects)
Offices (B1), hotels (C1), residential (C2 and C2A), non-residential institutions (D1), and leisure and assembly (D2)Nurseries providing childcare (subject to prior approval of certain aspects)
Buildings used for agricultural purposesate funded school or nursery providing childcare (subject to prior approval of certain aspects)

Please note the above list is intended as a guide.

You can find more exhaustive information on the Planning Portal,

or you can contact us to check if your proposed change of use falls under PD.

   image showing cafe in one of our change of use projects

The cafe at the gym, which had been changed from retail to leisure class

 

In addition to the above complex list of changes, do take note that LPAs can remove Permitted Development rights under Article 4 if they wish to conserve aspects of the area surrounding your proposal. In those cases you would be advised to make a full planning application for a change of use.

The reason we now have Permitted Development was to facilitate developing unused buildings, sustaining and regenerating brownfields and partly addressing the shortage of housing stock. PD in changes of use was intended to ease the process for business owners to meet local customer demand, e.g. changing use from A1 to A3, retail to restaurant.

For more information see on how planning rules have been relaxed, see NPPF.

Betting and loan shops are excluded from the retail class to give LPAs more control in allowing these to start up in their districts of governance.

See link: DCLG for more information about effective local government and planning.

 

What is a material change of use?

These include any change of use whose proposed use is residential or part-residential, e.g. converting commercial properties into homes such as an office above a shop which is to be developed as a flat. This is a conversion of commercial property to residential, or part-residential.

 

Other examples:

  • house to a flat conversion
  • flats to house conversion
  • convert shop to residential (less likely on the High Street, but more feasible from a corner shop)

You may wish to consult the material change of use case law, if you are interested in residential changes of use.

 

At EA we look at 7 aspects:

    1. social demographics adjacent to the proposed site 2. the likely effect on economic factors the change of use will have 3. how the change of use will benefit for the habitants of the immediate area. 4. whether traffic will be affected 5. how it will affect the surrounding infrastucture 6. whether parking spaces will be adequate or impacted
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