August 25th, 2020

All Change on the High Street

This month we take a look at the Government’s recent announcements to change the planning regime in respect of town centre uses.

The changes involve altering the Use Classes Order to make it easier for high street premises to change use without the need for a planning application. The new Order will create a new broad category of 'commercial, business and service' uses, to be known as Class E. This will bring together and replace the family of current shopping area 'A' use classes of most shops, professional & financial services and cafe / restaurants well as the existing B1 business use class, D1 health-related/day care uses and some D2 indoor sport and recreation uses like gyms.

Learning and community uses will live in a new grouping (Class F). F1 will include current D1 uses such as schools and places of assembly. F2 will embrace small spatially discrete local shops as well as some existing D2 uses such as community halls and outdoor recreation. Pubs/Drinks establishments (currently A4) and Hot food takeaways (currently A5) will be placed outside the Order as ‘sui generis’ uses along with some current D2 non-fitness leisure uses such as cinemas, live music venues and concert, bingo and dance halls.

General industry, storage and distribution and the residential use class categories remain unaltered.

The Government is hoping that their changes will simplify and update the Use Classes Order. They come into force in September.