WHAT IS CLASS A PLANNING USE?

town centre shop retail use planning photo

WHAT IS CLASS A PLANNING USEAGE? 

DO I NEED PLANNING PERMISSION TO CHANGE TO OR FROM CLASS A USE?

Our FAQ Series answers some of the most commonly searched for queries across TownPlanning.info.

Today we take a look at the planning use classes that once covered various forms of shops and services – the A class uses.

SPOILER ALERT – THE A-CLASSES ARE NOW EXTINCT IN ENGLAND …

In September 2020 changes to the Planning Use Classes Order were made that abolished the A Class definition for uses of land and buildings across England.

Classes A1, A2 and A3 joined business class B1 along with health and assembly uses D1 and D2 in a newly created Class E – Commercial, Business and Service.

Classes A4 and A4 became sui generis (i.e. not falling within any of the specified use classes).

To make things even more complicated – some shops of less than 280sqm selling essential goods and at least
1km from a similar shop were put within a new Class F2!

Some retail/service uses including theatres, 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, betting offices, pay day loan shops for example became ‘sui generis’.

Interim arrangements were put in place to allow permitted development rights to continue to 31st July 2021, but after that date – the A classes were no more.

THE OLD CLASS A USES – SHOPS AND SERVICES

So what were the old A-class uses before they were subsumed or split into other Classes in 2020? The following explains.

USE CLASS A1 – SHOPS (part)

Planning Use Class A1 included 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.

USE CLASS A2 – FINANCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

Planning Use Class A2 included banks, building societies, estate and employment agencies, professional services (not health or medical services).

USE CLASS A3 – FOOD AND DRINK

Planning Use Class A3 included restaurants and cafes.

USE CLASS A4 – PUBS AND DRINKING ESTABLISHMENTS

Planning Use Class A4 includes pubs and drinking establishments.

USE CLASS A5 – HOT FOOD TAKEAWAY

Planning Use Class A5 included hot food takeaways.

MORE INFO ON PLANNING USE CLASSES

For more information on the current planning use classes, when planning permission is needed and the ‘prior approval’ process, see our Guide to Planning Change of Use and the Use Classes Order.

Guide is correct at time of writing in September 2021 and is intended for initial reference only.  For further details, refer to the Use Classes Order 1987 (as amended) and the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (as amended). 

TownPlanning.info has an extensive catalogue of articles and guides which help explain the town planning system in England. 

See below for links to some of our most popular pages or use the search function and menus at the top of the page.  

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA

RELATED TOPICS