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Property Change of Use

What is Change of Use?

The Town and Country Planning Order 1987 puts uses of land and buildings into various categories known as 'Use Classes'.

To change a use within the same class (e.g. A1 to A1) does not constitute ‘development’ and does not require planning permission.

However, you may require planning permission to switch uses between classes, unless the proposed change is a permitted development, in which case an application for a certificate of lawfulness should be submitted to the Local Authority.

Many small businesses will be in Class A1 (shops) or A2 (financial and professional services). Small industrial premises in residential areas could be classified as B1, and warehouses as B8. Commercial and other clinics would be in Class D1 (non-residential institutions) and leisure uses and gyms would be in D2 (assembly and leisure).

It is strongly advised to check whether a change of use is likely to be granted before buying or leasing premises.

Drawing and Planning have a successful history of helping many of our clients gain Change of Usage Planning Consent from their Local Councils.

Call us today on 0208 202 3665 or fill in our enquiry form to find out how we can help you gain Change of Usage Planning Permission.

Use Class A1 - Shops / Retail

Changing to A1

If you own a property that you would like to use as an A1 shop, or are thinking of taking a lease on a property but need to change the current use of the property, you have come to the right place.  In many instances a property will be permitted a change to A1 only requiring an application for a certificate of lawfulness for the change of use. However, in some cases changing to an alternate use may require planning permission.

Changing from A1

If you are a landlord or business owner and are looking to change the designation of a property from A1 to any alternative use, you will need planning permission before doing so. The most common change from A1 is either to an A3 restaurant or an A5 hot food takeaway, but there are many other potential uses. In our capacity as planning consultants we have successfully secured planning permission for changes from A1 shops to D1 gyms, B1 offices, D1 nurseries, D1 dental centres, and many more.

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Use Class A2 - Financial And Professional Services

Changing to A2

If you are looking to change the use of a property to A2 to be used for financial & professional services you may or may not need to apply for planning permission, depending on whether there is are permitted change rights. For example, if the property in question is designated as an A3 restaurant, A4 pub or A5 hot food takeaway, it may be possible to change it to A2 without applying for change of use consent, subject to it meeting certain requirements.

To find out if you need planning permission for a change of use you can contact us and one of our consultants will be happy to go through the scheme with you. Changing any other property to A2 will always need planning permission.

Changing from A2

If the current designation of a property is A2 and you wish to change it to another use class, you will most likely need to apply for planning permission. In the event that your desired change is to A1 and the shop has a ground floor window display, you may be able to proceed with the change without applying for planning permission for the change of use.

We recommend that you determine early on whether planning permission is needed for a proposed change, as it may prove costly to apply once you have already taken a lease and set up the business. As planning consultants we have successfully secured planning permission for many of our clients seeking to change the use of an A2 premises to A3 restaurants, B1 offices, D2 gym facilities and others.

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Use Class A3 - Restaurants and Cafes

Changing to A3

We are consistently approached by prospective restaurateurs who have set their eyes on a particular property where they wish to open a new restaurant. Not all properties are suitable for use as a restaurant as there are many issues that may pose challenges to securing planning permission. In determining the suitability of a site for use as a restaurant we address all the issues that the Council planners may raise. A key issue is usually the placement of an extraction flume from the kitchen in a manner that will not adversely affect the amenity of the surrounding properties. Other concerns we address are the availability of parking and public transport, site access, opening hours, potential objections from neighbours and many other issues.

As experts in the change of use planning we offer our clients free advice on the suitability of a site in an effort to minimise the hassle associated with opening a new for use as a restaurant. In the past we have successfully secured the change of use of countless A1 retail units to restaurants, several former pubs, warehouses and even a former library. If you are considering a change of use to A3, get in touch and we would be happy to work with you to get planning permission for a restaurant.

Changing from A3

In the current economic climate many restaurants have been forced to close down business. This has resulted in an abundance of vacant A3 premises on our high street. You may have a vacant A3 on your hands but can't find an interested party, or you may have a need for a new premises for your business and have found the perfect site. Whatever the reason you need to change from A3, we are here to help you!

To secure a change of use, it is preferable for the property to have been vacant for approximately two years. As part of the application it will be necessary to justify the loss of the A3 unit and argue for the necessity or benefit of the proposed change. As planning consultants with particular expertise in change of use applications we have successfully changed A3 premises to a variety of uses required by our clients. Get in touch with us today to learn how we can help you get the change of use you require.

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Use Class A4 - Drinking Establishments

Changing to A4

Changing from A4

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Use Class A5 - Hot food takeaways

Changing to A5

If you are looking to open a hot-food takeaway business or get a change of use to A5 for your property, you have come to the right place. Changing the use of a premises to A5 can normally be achieved provided certain criteria are satisfied. We have an extensive record of helping our clients get the planning permission they require to set up their business very quickly and with minimum hassle. As part of a change of use planning application, it is always necessary to justify the loss of the unit you are changing from and put forth a compelling argument for the proposed change to A5.

We know what to look out for and have overcome every possible obstacle in getting a change of use to A5. One of the main issues, apart from justifying the change of use, is the placement of the extraction flume. This must be situated in a way that it does not adversely affect the neighbouring properties and not be visible from the street. Other issues usually relate to late opening hours, employment and access. As planning consultants, we continue to achieve planning permission for change of use to A5 on a regular basis. If you would like to discuss your scheme with us and find out how we can help you get change of use consent, please contact us and one of our consultants will be happy to go through it with you.

Changing from A5

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Use Class B1 Business

Changing to B1

Changing from B1

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Use Class B2 General Industrial

Changing to B2

Changing from B2

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Use Class B3 Special Industrial Group A

Changing to B3

Changing from B3

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Use Class B4 Special Industrial Group B

Changing to B4

Changing from B4

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Use Class B5 Special Industrial Group C

Changing to B5

Changing from B5

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Use Class B6 Special Industrial Group D

Changing to B6

Changing from B6

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Use Class B7 Special Industrial Group E

Changing to B7

Changing from B7

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Use Class B8 Distribution or Storage

Changing to B8

Changing from B8

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Use Class C1 Hotels and Hostels

Changing to C1

Changing from C1

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Use Class C2 Residential Institutions

Changing to C2

Changing from C2

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Use Class C3 Dwellings, Houses, Flats, Apartments

Changing to C3

Changing from C3

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Use Class C4 Houses in Multiple Occupation

Changing to C4

Changing from C4

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Use Class D1 Non Residential Institutions

Changing to D1

Changing from D1

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Use Class D2 Assembly and Leisure

Changing to D2

Changing from D2

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Sui Generis

Changing to Sui Generis

Changing from Sui Generis

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If you are looking to change a vital element of a building which will affect its main purpose, you may need to look into planning permission and change of use. Change of use is, quite simply, when you make major differences to a property which affects the service you give, changing it from one class to another. But what are building use classes?

When asking what are building use classes, you need to consider the simple concept of use class orders and the like. The government has use class orders (such as classes A, B, C and D) so that they can easily identify a use, and any major change that may affect the surrounding area. If your change won’t move the building from one class to another then no planning permission is needed – otherwise you will need to submit an application for change to one of the classes A, B C and D.

The classes are fairly simple overall, mainly changing depending on the service and overall use of a particular building. Again this is for simplicity’s sake, and without it the council would find it a lot more difficult to class buildings and such based on overall priority and benefit to the people, since that is ultimately what the function of a council is for, and you need to abide by all the regulations at all times.

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