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Commercial Property Use Classes and Permitted Development Rights

The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended) categorises land and buildings into groups of similar land uses called ‘Use Classes’. The following list gives an indication of the types of commercial property uses which fall within each use class, however this list is not exhaustive. 

Part A

Class A1 – Shops, retail warehouses, hairdressers, undertakers, travel agency, post office, pet shop, sandwich bars, showrooms, domestic hire shops, dry cleaners

Class A2 – Financial and Professional Services such as banks, building societies, estate agencies 

Class A3 – Food and Drink premises such as restaurants, snack bars and cafes

Class A4 – Public houses, wine bars and other drinking establishments

Class A5 – Hot food takeaways 


Part B

Class B1 - Offices, research and development of products and processes

Class B2 – General Industrial

Class B8 – Storage and Distribution


Part C

Class C1 – Hotels, boarding and guest houses

Class C2 – Residential Institutions such as residential care homes, hospitals, nursing homes, boarding schools, residential colleges and training centres

Class C2A – Secure Residential Institution including use as a prison, young offenders institution, detention centre, secure training centre custody centre, short term holding centre, secure hospital, secure local authority accommodation and military barracks

Class C3 – Dwellinghouses

Class C4 – Houses in multiple occupation


Part D

Class D1 – Non-residential institution including clinics, health centres, crèches, day nurseries, schools, museums, libraries, halls, places of worship, church halls and law courts

Class D2 – Assembly and Leisure including cinemas, music and convert halls, bingo and dance halls, swimming baths, skating rinks and gymnasiums


Sui Generis

 Certain uses do not fall within any use class, these uses are considered ‘sui generis’. Sui generis uses include theatres, scrap yards, nightclubs, petrol stations, launderettes, taxi businesses, amusement centres, casinos, large HMOs, hostels, betting office, pay day loan shop.

Changing of Use

It is generally the case that planning permission is required to change from one use class to another, however there are exceptions where the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (as amended) does allow some changes between uses.

The JLL Planning, Development and Heritage team have produced a‘Guide to the Use Classes Order’ that indicates permitted development rights that different uses might benefit from, as well as identifying the limitations, conditions and prior approval requirements. Where prior approval is required from a Local Planning Authority the procedures and provisions for submitting such applications are set out in more detail in the GPDO.

If permitted development is not allowed, this does not mean that Planning Permission will not be granted by the Local Planning Authority. If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact the JLL Planning, Development and Heritage team.