All you should know about Change of use planning

What is change of use planning?  

A change of use land or building requires planning permission if it constitutes a material change of use.  

What is a material change of use in planning?  

A material change of use is when there is a change in the purpose or the circumstances in which you use a building. So, that it or any part of it is used as a dwelling where it wasn’t before.  

When does a change of use require planning permission?  

Typically, if it’s proposed to change from one use class to another, you will need planning permission. Most external building work associated with a change of use is also likely to need planning permission. However, if both present and proposed uses fall within the same ‘class’ you will often not need planning permission.  

What are use classes?  

The town and country planning order 1987 sets out various categories of use referred to as use classes. Which relate to the use of land and buildings.  

Use   The use class up to 31st August 2020Use class from 1st September 2020 
General industrial  B2 B2 
Storge or distribution  B8 B8 
Hotels, boarding, and guest houses  C1 C1 
Residential institutions  C2 C2 
Dwelling houses  C3 C3 
House in multiple occupation (HMO) C4 C4 
Non-residential: health centres, clinics, nurseries, day centres  D1 
Gymnasiums, indoor recreations D2 E  
Shops other than F2 A1 E  
Financial and professional services  A2 E  
Cafe or restaurant  A3 
Non-residential: schools, educations centers, museums, libraries, public halls, law courts, places of worship D1 F1 
Shops selling mostly essential goods, with no other facility within 1,000m A1  F2 
Hall or meeting place for the use of the local community D2 F2 
Indoor or outdoor swimming pools, skating rinks, and outdoor sports D2 F2 
Cinemas, concert halls, and dance halls D2 Sui Generis 
Pub, wine bar, or drinking establishment A4 Sui Generis 
Hot food takeaway A5 Sui Generis 
Theatres, large HMO, hostels, petrol stations, shops selling motor vehicles, retail warehouse, nightclubs, taxis, arcades, casinos, funfairs, betting offices, payday loan shops Sui Generis Sui Generis  

How long is change of use planning?  

Planning applications may take up to eight weeks to be processed. Larger or more complex projects may take longer for the planning to be accepted. If you speak with your local planning officer, they may be able to advise you on when you may get a decision.  

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