Changes To The Use Classes Order In England 2020

Sep 1 2020

Darren Best

Since 1987, the uses of land and buildings in the UK were grouped into various categories, known as "use classes". However, from September 2020, radical changes to the 1987 Use Classes Order come into effect. But what does this mean and how can it affect you? 


Why are the use classes changing? 

The new use class regulations, which come into effect on September 1st, 2020, have been brought in to support the government's “Project Speed”, with the aim of accelerating infrastructure projects to help rebuild the economy after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Under the new regulations, the government have made it easier for buildings and land in town centres to change use class without planning permission, as well as create new homes from the regeneration of vacant and redundant buildings.


What’s changed from the 1987 Use Classes Order?

After analysing the old Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order of 1987 and the new regulations, we can see that Parts A and D of the original 'Schedule to the Use Classes Order' have been deleted.

Now, use classes A1, A2, A3, B1, part of D1 (clinics, health centres, creches, day nurseries and day centres) and D2 (gymnasiums and indoor recreations not involving motorised vehicles or firearms) have been changed to use class E.

D1 property will now be referred to as use class F.1 and includes all learning and non-residential institutions, and D2 property will be known as use class F.2.

The remaining use classes have become sui generis uses – this means that no changes of use to or from these uses fall within permitted development.

Use class B2 remains, in an amended form. Part C of the original 'Schedule to the Use Classes Order' is not affected by the new Regulations and use classes C1, C2, C2a, C3 and C4 remain the same.

For the full breakdown, see below.


What are the new use classes?

The new regulations introduce the following three new use classes:

1. Class E – “Commercial, Business and Service Uses”

This includes:

  • Shops (A1)
  • Financial and professional services (not medical) (A2)
  • Café or restaurant (A3)
  • Office other than a use within Class A2 (B1(a))
  • Research and development of products or processes (B1(b))
  • For any industrial process (which can be carried out in any residential area without causing detriment to the amenity of the area) (B1(c))
  • Clinics, health centres, creches, day nurseries, day centres (D1)
  • Gymnasiums, indoor recreations not involving motorised vehicles or firearms (D2)

2. Class F.1 – “Learning and Non-Residential Institutions”

This includes:

  • Schools (D1)
  • Non-residential education and training centres (D1)
  • Museums (D1)
  • Public libraries (D1)
  • Public halls (D1)
  • Exhibition halls (D1)
  • Places of worship (D1)
  • Law courts (D1)

3. Class F.2 – “Local Community Uses”

This includes:

  • Shops not more than 280sqm mostly selling essential goods, including food and at least 1km from another similar shop
  • Hall or meeting place for the principal use of the local community (D2)
  • Indoor or outdoor swimming baths, skating rinks, and outdoor sports or recreations not involving motorised vehicles or firearms (D2)

4. Sui Generis

This includes:

  • Pub or drinking establishment (A4)
  • Hot food takeaway (A5)
  • Venue for live music (D2)
  • Cinema (D2(a))
  • Concert hall (D2(b))
  • Bingo hall (D2(c))


Savoy Stewart can assist you when marketing different commercial property types in line with the new regulations. Feel free to get in touch if you need any help or advice from our team. 


Feature image credit: alejandro dans neergaard / Shutterstock


This site uses Google Analytics cookies. We use the Google Analytics to help us improve the site. The cookies collect information in an anonymous form, including the number of visitors to the site, where visitors have come to the site from and the pages they have visited on the site. Please accept if you would like to continue with cookies enabled. If you want to change your settings click here