IMPORTANT: New Legislation – relating to the Use Classes Order 1987 (01/09/2020) …

[UPDATE: For subsequent amendments to the below SI 2020 No. 757, please view this post and this post.]

The following 1 new Statutory Instrument (SI) comes into force on 01/09/2020:

New Legislation:

  • September 2020: SI 2020 No. 757 - The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 (pdf) (link).


  • The above SI 2020 No. 757 makes amendments to the following SIs:
    - Use Classes Order 1987.
    - Fees Regulations 2012.
  • The "Explanatory Memorandum" (link) to SI 2020 No. 757 includes the following information:
    - "These Regulations [SI 2020 No. 757] amend and simplify the system of use classes in England.".
    - "They create a new broad ‘Commercial, business and service’ use class (Class E) which incorporates the previous shops (A1), financial and professional services (A2), restaurants and cafes (A3) and offices (B1) use classes. Uses such as gyms, nurseries and health centres (previously in use classes D1 Non-residential institutions and D2 Assembly and leisure) and other uses which are suitable for a town centre area are also included in the class. This new class allows for a mix of uses to reflect changing retail and business models. It therefore, recognises that a building may be in a number of uses concurrently or that a building may be used for different uses at different times of the day. Changes to another use, or mix of uses, within this class do not require planning permission. Bringing these uses together and allowing movement between them will give businesses greater freedom to adapt to changing circumstances and to respond more quickly to the needs of their communities.".
    - "These Regulations [SI 2020 No. 757] also create new ‘Learning and non-residential institutions’ (F1) and ‘Local community’ (F2) use classes to ensure that those uses which are important to local communities can be protected through the planning system. Changes of use within each of these classes do not require planning permission. However, other material changes of use do require planning permission ensuring that such changes of use can be fully considered by the local planning authority and residents.".
    - "The ‘Learning and non-residential institutions’ use class (F1) incorporates those uses from the former D1 Non-residential institutions use class which are more likely to involve buildings which are regularly in wider public use such as schools, libraries and art galleries.".
    - "The ‘Local community’ use class (F2) groups together those uses from the former D2 use class which provide for group activities of a more physical nature – swimming pools, skating rinks and areas for outdoor sports. It also includes the use of buildings where this is principally by the local community. The class also recognises the importance of small, local shops in meeting the day to day shopping needs of local communities, particularly in rural communities, large residential estates and outside main shopping areas generally. Therefore, alongside community social facilities, the F2 class includes what would be considered shops servicing the essential needs of local communities. This is defined as a shop mostly for the sale of a range of essential dry goods and food to visiting member of the public where there is no commercial class retail unit within 1000 metres and the shop area is no larger than 280m2. This provides some protection for such shops while placing those shops found on high streets and town centres in the new ‘commercial’ class.".
    - "The residential (C classes), General industrial (B2) and Storage and distribution (B8) use classes remain unchanged (except for a new cross reference in B2 to the new ‘commercial’ class).".
    - "The revisions to the Use Classes Order also provide for the need for local consideration of some uses. The former A4 Drinking establishments and A5 Hot food takeaway use classes have been removed. We recognise that changes of use to or from these uses can give rise to important local considerations, for example, to ensure that local pubs can be protected or to prevent the proliferation of hot food takeaways. We have therefore, included these uses in the list of uses which are specifically identified in the Use Classes Order (see Article 3(6)) as uses which do not now fall within any use class. We have also taken this approach with cinemas, concert, dance and bingo halls which fell within the former D2 use class. This will mean that changes to and from these uses will be subject to full local consideration through the planning application process.".
    - "These reforms are primarily aimed at creating vibrant, mixed use town centres by allowing businesses greater freedom to change to a broader range of compatible uses which communities expect to find on modern high streets, as well as more generally in town and city centres. They apply to all uses of land and buildings across England.".
    - "There are a number of permitted development rights which grant general planning permission allowing changes of use between the former use classes without the need to submit a planning application. These regulations [SI 2020 No. 757] provide transitional provisions which retain the effect of the permitted development right based on the classes that were in place prior to these regulations coming into force. A building or use will continue to be subject to any permitted development rights that it was entitled to on or before 31 August 2020. These transitional provisions will remain in place until 31 July 2021 when new, revised permitted development rights will be introduced. These savings provisions also apply to relevant Article 4 Directions.".

Comments by the Planning Jungle website:

  • [Note: To view this information, please log onto the website as a member].

Other Notes:

  • The "Explanatory Memorandum" (link) to SI 2020 No. 757 states the following:
    - "This statutory instrument amends The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended by S.I. 1991/1567, 1992/610, 1992/657,1994/724, 1995/297, 1999/293, 2005/84, 2006/220, 2006/1282, 2010/653, 2011/988, and 2015/597). There are other amendments not relevant to this instrument. There are no current plans to consolidate this legislation.".
  • The "Use Classes Order 1987 (Consolidated)" document on the Planning Jungle website has been updated to incorporate the above SI 2020 No. 757, and currently incorporates a total of 16 SIs (i.e. the original SI + 15 amendment SIs).

Other Sources of Information:

  • October 2018: Planning Reform - Supporting the high street and increasing the delivery of new homes (pdf) (link).
    - Note: For more information about the above document, please view this post.
  • March 2019: Written statement to Parliament by James Brokenshire MP (link).
    - Note: For more information about the above document, please view this post.
  • May 2019: Government response to consultation on Planning Reform - Supporting the high street and increasing the delivery of new homes (May 2019) (pdf) (link)
    - Note: For more information about the above document, please view this post.
  • July 2020: "Explanatory Memorandum" to SI 2020 No. 757 (pdf) (link).

Updates to the Planning Jungle website: