Oval Partnership Briefing Note

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Types of shops/businesses

According to the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 shops are those with A1 planning consent namely, premises which are used 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.

In planning terms, hot food take-away businesses are not considered as shops.  However, in practical usage they are.  For example, who would disagree with using ‘Fish and Chip Shop’ .  In contrast, referring to a ‘restaurant shop’ or ‘dentist shop’ doesn’t make sense.

Traditionally, shops tended to be fairly specialised but, as many have diversified, they are sometimes difficult to classify.  In particular, newsagents, convenience stores, grocers and small supermarkets can sometimes be difficult to tell apart.  The following table defines some of the main shop/business types that can be found in the typical urban neighbourhood.  



Trade association

Retail shops/businesses (Planning Use Class A1)


A retail shop whose core business is the sale of newspapers and magazines.  A neighbourhood newsagent will typically sell tobacco, confectionary, soft drinks, light snacks, ice creams, stationery items, greeting cards.  Some will sell lottery tickets, oyster card top up machines etc. Dedicated newsagents are relatively rare and are most likely to be found in high traffic areas such as stations.

National Federation of Retail Newsagents
 http://www.nfrnonlin e.com/

Green grocers

A retail shop whose core business is the sale of fresh fruit and vegetables.   A neighbourhood green grocer will typically stock a small range of other food products including processed food

Convenience stores

A retail shop (primarily self-service) whose core business is to offer a wide range of day to day products.  The product range will typically be that of a newsagent but with a narrower range of papers and magazines.  It will also offer a broad range of processed foods and household products

Association of Convenience Stores
http://www.acs.org. uk/


A retail shop (primarily self-service)  whose core business is the sale of food products.  The product range will be that of a green grocer but with a much wider range of processed food and household products

National Grocers Association http://www.nationalgr ocers.org/


A supermarket is a large retail shop (primarily self-service) whose core business is the sale of food products.  It stocks the same wide range of food and household products as a grocer but has a more extensive range of different brands.  Larger supermarkets will have product departments. 


Delicatessens are retail businesses which specialise in the sale of fine foods and delicacies typically with a regional speciality such as Italian or Portuguese. Many offer a café service.

Shops/businesses providing services (A3/A5)

Cafe and cafés

The core business of a cafe is selling hot food for consumption on the premises often with a counter service.   A traditional British cafe (greasy spoon) is a small restaurant where dress is informal.  Tea, instant coffee, breakfasts and light meals would be the norm.  Such cafes are in decline in favour of continental-style cafés where fresh coffee, pastries, sandwiches are the norm.  Most cafes are open during the working day.


The core business of a restaurant is selling hot food for consumption on the premises.  Table service and full meals would be the norm and dress more formal than for a cafe. Most restaurants will be open at lunch times and evenings.  

Take-away shops

A take-away shop is one whose core business is selling hot food for the consumption off the premises. It may or may not provide a table service.  Take-away shops normally specialise for example: burgers, Chinese, chicken, fish and chips, kebabs etc.