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Change of use

If you want to change the way you use a property, you may need planning permission for change of use. Most uses fall into classes.

Classes of use

  • A1 Shops: Shops, post offices, travel agents, hairdressers, funeral directors, dry cleaners
  • A2 Financial and professional services: Banks, building societies, betting offices, and other financial and professional services
  • A3 Restaurants and cafes
  • A4 Drinking establishments
  • A5 Hot food takeaways
  • B1 Business: Offices, research and development, light industry appropriate in a residential area
  • B2 General industrial
  • B8 Storage and distribution: Including open air storage
  • C1 Hotels: Hotels, boarding and guest houses where no significant element of care is provided
  • C2 Residential Institutions: Residential care homes, hospitals, nursing homes, boarding schools, residential colleges and training centres
  • C3 Dwelling houses: Family houses, or houses occupied by up to six residents living together as a single household, including a household where care is provided for residents
  • D1 Non-residential institutions: Surgeries, nurseries, day centres, schools, art galleries, museums, libraries, halls, churches
  • D2 Assembly and leisure: Cinemas, concert halls, bingo and dance halls, casinos, swimming baths, skating rinks, gymnasiums or sports arenas (except for motor sports, or where firearms are used)

Uses that don’t fall in to these classes are regarded as sui generis - "in a class of their own".

They include:

  • betting offices/shops
  • pay day loan shops
  • theatres
  • houses in multiple occupation
  • hostels providing no significant element of care
  • scrap yards
  • petrol stations selling or displaying motor vehicles
  • retail warehouse clubs
  • nightclubs
  • launderettes
  • taxi businesses
  • amusement centres
  • casino

Changes of use within the same class do not usually require Planning Permission or a planning application.

For a full list of changes of use that do not require Planning Permission visit the Change of Use page on the Planning Portal website (link opens in new window).

If you are in doubt whether you need Planning Permission for change of use please contact us for advice.

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