Oval Partnership Briefing Note

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Planning Consent Briefing Note

When commercial properties are for sale or rent, estate agents’ signs will often include a statement such as ‘with A1 (or A3) consent’.  This refers to the planning ‘use class’ which determines what a property can be used for.  Here are the main use classes:





A1: Shops

B1: Business

C1: Hotels

D1: Non-residential institutions

A2: Financial and Professional Services

B2: General industry

C2; Residential Institutions

D2: Assembly and Leisure

A3: Restaurants and cafes

B3-7: Special Industrial Groups

C3: Dwelling Houses

A4: Drinking Establishments

B8: Storage or Distribution

C4: Houses in multiple occupation

A5: Hot Food Takeaways

Premises which don’t fit in any of these use classes are called ‘suis generis’-in a class of their own.  For example laundrettes, casinos and theatres are all suis generis.end

Generally speaking, it is easier to change within the main use classes; A, B, C and D.  For example, changing A4 to A1, 2 or 3 will be relatively easy but changing A1 to C3 would be much more difficult.  This is because local authorities wish to maintain a balance. For example, an area that ends up with an excess of A4 premises (drinking establishments) and too few C3 premises (dwelling houses) might not have enough customers to go around.  An important consideration for planning authorities to avoid certain combination for example having certain B3-7 industrial groups close to quiet C3 residential areas.

From an investor’s perspective having the right planning permission can be worth a lot of money.  For example, a plot of land with C3 consent will be worth much more than a plot without.  The Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area is an example of land which will have been mostly in class B but the ultimate aim of having a mixed area including a combination of A, B, C and D classes.

Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987

(as amended by The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Amendment) (England) Order 2005)

Use Classes Order Including 2005-6 Amendments


General Permitted Development (Amendment) Order 2005

A1: Shops

Use for all or any of the following purposes

(a) for the retail sale of goods other than hot food,

(b) as a post office,

(c) for the sale of tickets or as a travel agency,

(d) for the sale of sandwiches or other cold food for consumption off the premises,

(e) for hairdressing,

(f) for the direction of funerals,

(g) for the display of goods for sale,

(h) for the hiring out of domestic or personal goods or articles,

(i) for the reception of goods to be washed, cleaned or repaired,

where the sale, display or service is to visiting members of the public.

A2: Financial and Professional Services

Use for the provision of  

(a) financial services,[e.g. Banks, building societies, insurance services etc.] or

(b) professional services (other than health or medical services) [e.g. Estate and employment agencies], or

(c) any other services (including use as a betting office) which it is appropriate to provide in a shopping area,

where the services are provided principally to visiting members of the public.

Change to A1 permitted where a ground floor display window exists.

A3: Restaurants and cafes

Use for the sale of food and drink for consumption on the premises.

Change to A1 or A2 permitted

A4: Drinking Establishments

Use as a public house, wine-bar or other drinking establishment

Change to A1, A2 or A3 permitted

A5: Hot Food Takeaways

Use for the sale of hot food for consumption off the premises. .

Change to A1, A2 or A3 permitted

Sui Generis

Shops selling and/or displaying motor vehicles, retail warehouse clubs, laundrettes, taxi or vehicle hire businesses, petrol filling stations,

B1: Business

Use for all or any of the following purposes

(a) as an office other than a use within class A2 (financial and professional services), (b) for research and development of products or processes, or (c) for any industrial process, being a use which can be carried out in any residential area without detriment to the amenity of that area by reason of noise, vibration, smell, fumes, smoke, soot, ash, dust or grit.

Change to B8 permitted where no more than 235 m2

B2: General industry

Use for the carrying on of an industrial process other than one falling within class B1 above or within classes B3 to B7 below

Change to B1 permitted and B8 permitted where no more than 235 m2

B3: Special Industrial Group A

Use for any work registrable under the Alkali, etc. Works Regulation Act 1906(1)(a) and which is not included in any of classes B4 to B7 below. [repealed in 1992]

B4: Special Ind. Group B

Use for any of the following processes, except where the process is ancillary to the getting, dressing or treatment of minerals and is carried on in or adjacent to a quarry or mine:

(a) smelting, calcining, sintering or reducing ores, minerals, concentrates or mattes; (b) converting, refining, re-heating, annealing, hardening, melting, carburising, forging or casting metals or alloys other than pressure die-casting; (c) recovering metal from scrap or drosses or ashes;

(d) galvanizing; (e) pickling or treating metal in acid; (f) chromium plating.

B5: Special Ind. Group C

Use for any of the following processes, except where the process is ancillary to the getting, dressing or treatment of minerals and is carried on in or adjacent to a quarry or mine:

(a) burning bricks or pipes;(b) burning lime or dolomite; (c) producing zinc oxide, cement or alumina; (d) foaming, crushing, screening or heating minerals or slag; (e) processing pulverized fuel ash by heat; (f) producing carbonate of lime or hydrated lime; (g) producing inorganic pigments by calcining, roasting or grinding.

B6: Special Ind. Group D

Use for any of the following processes:

(a) distilling, refining or blending oils (other than petroleum or petroleum products); (b) producing or using cellulose or using other pressure sprayed metal finishes (other than in vehicle repair workshops in connection with minor repairs, or the application of plastic powder by the use of fluidised bed and electrostatic spray techniques); (c) boiling linseed oil or running gum; (d) processes involving the use of hot pitch or bitumen (except the use of bitumen in the manufacture of roofing felt at temperatures not exceeding 220�C and also the manufacture of coated roadstone);

(e) stoving enamelled ware; (f) producing aliphatic esters of the lower fatty acids, butyric acid, caramel, hexamine, iodoform, napthols, resin products (excluding plastic moulding or extrusion operations and producing plastic sheets, rods, tubes, filaments, fibres or optical components produced by casting, calendering, moulding, shaping or extrusion), salicylic acid or sulphonated organic compounds; (g) producing rubber from scrap; (h) chemical processes in which chlorphenols or chlorcresols are used as intermediates; (i) manufacturing acetylene from calcium carbide;

(j) manufacturing, recovering or using pyridine or picolines, any methyl or ethyl amine or acrylates.

B7: Special Ind. Group E

Use for carrying on any of the following industries, businesses or trades:

(a) Boiling blood, chitterlings, nettlings or soap.(b) Boiling, burning, grinding or steaming bones. (c) Boiling or cleaning tripe. (d) Breeding maggots from putrescible animal matter. (e) Cleaning, adapting or treating animal hair. (f) Curing fish. (g) Dealing in rags and bones (including receiving, storing, sorting or manipulating rags in, or likely to become in, an offensive condition, or any bones, rabbit skins, fat or putrescible animal products of a similar nature). (h) Dressing or scraping fish skins. (i) Drying skins. (j) Making manure from bones, fish, offal, blood, spent hops, beans or other putrescible animal or vegetable matter. (k) Making or scraping guts. (l) Manufacturing animal charcoal, blood albumen, candles, catgut, glue, fish oil, size or feeding stuff for animals or poultry from meat, fish, blood, bone, feathers, fat or animal offal either in an offensive condition or subjected to any process causing noxious or injurious effluvia. (m) Melting, refining or extracting fat or tallow. (n) Preparing skins for working.

B8:Storage or Distribution

Use for storage or as a distribution centre.

Permitted change to B1 where no more than 235 m2

Sui Generis

Scrap yard

C1: Hotels

Use as a hotel, boarding or guest house or as a hostel where, in each case, no significant element of care is provided.

C2; Residential Institutions

Use for the provision of residential accommodation and care to people in need of care (other than a use within class C3 (dwelling houses)).

Use as a hospital or nursing home.

Use as a residential school, college or training centre.

C3: Dwelling Houses

Dwellings, small businesses at home. (Does not include households consisting of more than six residents not in a family or households where care is provided for the residents).

C4: Houses in multiple occupation

Houses in multiple occupation

Permitted change to C3

D1: Non-residential institutions

Any use not including a residential use

(a) for the provision of any medical or health services except the use of premises attached to the residence of the consultant or practitioner,

(b) as a creche, day nursery or day centre,

(c) for the provision of education,

(d) for the display of works of art (otherwise than for sale or hire),

(e) as a museum,

(f ) as a public library or public reading room,

(g) as a public hall or exhibition hall,

(h) for, or in connection with, public worship or religious instruction.

D2: Assembly and Leisure

Use as

(a) a cinema, (b) a concert hall, (c) a bingo hall or casino, (d) a dance hall, (e) a swimming bath, skating rink, gymnasium or area for other indoor or outdoor sports or recreations, not involving motorised vehicles or firearms.

Sui Generis

Amusement arcades, theatres, night-clubs, casinos.

Planning Consent