Understanding Use Classes Order reform

PDP_Use Class Order

The government have recently announced some profound changes to the way in which use of land and buildings is categorised – the 2020 Use Classes Order amendments. The reforms will bring in three new land use classes, which are broad in nature, and will replace several of the more narrow and prescriptive elements of the previous system.

In essence, the reforms have been designed to offer landowners a greater level of flexibility to change between the various uses within the new classes. The most noteworthy change in the pooling of shops, offices, restaurants and cafes, together with business uses. Following the change to the legislation due on the 1st September a landowner owning any of these types of property will be able to change the buildings use to any other falling within that category without the need to apply to the local authority.

This is going to have a particularly interesting impact on the high street, and retail centres in general. The emergence of internet shopping and out-of-town shopping centres have caused a huge downturn in the number of people travelling into town centres, issues which have been compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic. The rationale behind the new changes is to give landowners and business operators’ additional flexibility to respond to demands in the market. There are still some questions about the level of influence Authorities will have to push back on these flexibilities. The picture will undoubted become clearer over the next 6 months, and we will certainly be keeping our clients updated on the situation but these are certainly the most notable changes to the land use system since its creation in 1987.

At a time of significant change for the English Planning system we outline in detail the new permitted development rights that have emerged as well as the changes to the Use Classes Order in this briefing note.

Comprising town planners, architects and architectural assistants our staff bring a wealth of experience from a range of backgrounds and various parts of the UK. Our planners have worked in the public & private sectors, and have excellent working relations with Local Planning Authorities.

For further information and clarification on the amendments to the Use Classes Order, Rory Bradford from our Planning team explains the changes being made, and the impacts they may have for landowners and business operators in the following short video.

If you have further questions, or to discuss a specific building or site please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free 30 minute consultation to discuss your project.

Please click here to download the slides that accompany this video.

You can also download a summary of the 2020 Use Classes Order amendments here.

Main Image: Thanks to Cactus Images

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