Wed, May 22 2024 08:40:46 AM  |  /


Important Changes To The Way Businesses Operate

Friday, June 11 2021

Changes to use of commercial properties ‘USE CLASS’ as of September 1st 2020.

·     Change of use, can typically occur within the same use class or from one class to another.

Class A1/2/3 has been changed and will be treated as ‘Class E’

What are classes A1/2/3?

A4/5 uses are not covered by the new Class E and become defined as ‘Sui Generis’

·     A1 shops – Shops, hairdressers, post offices, pet shops, travel and ticket agencies, showrooms, warehouses(retail), dry cleaners, domestic hire shops, funeral directors, sandwich bars, undertakers, funeral directors and internet cafés.

·     A2 Financial and professional services - Financial services such as banks and building societies, professional services (other than health and medical services) and including estate and employment agencies. ((IT DOES NOT INCLUDE BETTING OFFICES OR PAY DAY LOAN SHOPS – THESE WILL NOW BE CLASSED AND “SUI GENERIS” uses. See below for more details.

·     A3 Restaurants and cafes - for the sale of F&B (Food and beverages) for consumption on the premises – includes restaurants, snack bars and cafes.

·     A4 Drinking establishments – Has stayed the same. Public houses, wine bars or other establishments used to provide drinks to the public. (BUT NOT NIGHT CLUBS) including drinking establishments that provide food.

·     A5 hot food takeaways – For the same of hot food that is NOT consumed on the premises (Take away only)

What is a ‘SUI GENERIS’

‘Sui Generis is a Latin term in this context it means ‘In a class of its own

It includes the following

  • theatres
  • amusement arcades/centres or funfairs
  • launderettes
  • fuel stations
  • hiring, selling, and/or displaying motor vehicles
  • taxi businesses
  • scrap yards, or a yard for the storage/distribution of minerals and/or the breaking of motor vehicles
  • ‘Alkali work’ (any work registerable under the Alkali, etc. Works Regulation Act 1906 (as amended))
  • hostels (providing no significant element of care)
  • waste disposal installations for the incineration, chemical treatment or landfill of hazardous waste
  • retail warehouse clubs
  • nightclubs
  • casinos
  • betting offices/shops
  • payday loan shops
  • public houses, wine bars, or drinking establishments – from 1 September 2020, previously Class A4
  • drinking establishments with expanded food provision – from 1 September 2020, previously Class A4
  • hot food takeaways (for the sale of hot food where consumption of that food is mostly undertaken off the premises) – from 1 September 2020, previously Class A5
  • venues for live music performance – newly defined as ‘Sui Generis’ use from 1 September 2020
  • cinemas – from 1 September 2020, previously Class D1(a)
  • concert halls – from 1 September 2020, previously Class D1(b)
  • bingo halls – from 1 September 2020, previously Class D1(c)
  • dance halls – from 1 September 2020, previously Class D1(d)

What makes a license use become ‘Sui Generis?

It gets put into a class of its own when they fall outside the defined limit of any other class use.

‘Class B1’ has revoked as of September 1st, 2020 and will now fall under ‘Class E’


B1 business –


·     B1(a) – Offices – other than a use within class A2 ^ find the above for more information.

·     B1(b) – Research and development of products or processes

·     B1(c) – Industrial processes


Please note: uses if B2 and B8 remain valid

(B2 general industries - Use for industrial process other than one falling within class E(g) (previously class B1) (excluding incineration purposes, chemical treatment or landfill or hazardous waste)

(B8 Storage or distribution) – The class includes open-air storage.



Class C is not affected by the 1 September 2020 changes.


(The following fall under the class C category)


·     C1 Hotels - Hotels, boarding and guest houses where no significant element of care is provided (excludes hostels)

·     C2 Residential institutions - Residential care homes, hospitals, nursing homes, boarding schools, residential colleges and training centres

·     C2(a)Secure Residential Institution - Use for a provision of secure residential accommodation, including use as a prison, young offenders’ institution, the detention centre, secure training centre, custody centre, short term holding centre, secure hospital, secure local authority accommodation or use as a military barracks

·     C3 Dwelling houses - This class is formed of three parts


C3(a) - covers use by a single person or a family (a couple whether married or not, a person related to one another with members of the family of one of the couple to be treated as members of the family of the other), an employer, and certain domestic employees (such as an au pair, nanny, nurse, governess, servant, chauffeur, gardener, secretary and personal assistant), a career and the person receiving the care and a foster parent and foster child.


C3(b) - covers up to six people living together as a single household and receiving care e.g. supported housing schemes such as those for people with learning disabilities or mental health problems.


C3(c) - allows for groups of people (up to six) living together as a single household. This allows for those groupings that do not fall within the C4 HMO definition, but which fell within the previous C3 use class, to be provided for i.e. a small religious community may fall into this section as could a homeowner who is living with a lodger


  • C4 Houses in multiple occupations - Small shared houses occupied by between three and six unrelated individuals, as their only or main residence, who share basic amenities such as a kitchen or bathroom.


      Class D - Class D is revoked from 1 September 2020.


  • D1 is split out and replaced by the new Classes E(e-f) and F1
  • D2 is split out and replaced by the new Classes E(d) and F2(c-d) as well as several newly defined ‘Sui Generis’ uses.


  • D1 Non-residential institutions - Clinics, health centres, crèches, day nurseries, day centres, schools, art galleries (other than for sale or hire), museums, libraries, halls, places of worship, church halls, law court. Non-residential education and training centers
  • D2 Assembly and leisure - Cinemas, music and concert halls, bingo and dance halls (but not night clubs), swimming baths, skating rinks, gymnasiums, or area for
  • indoor or outdoor sports and recreations (except for motorsports, or where firearms are used)


Class E is introduced on 1 September 2020.

In 11 parts, Class E more broadly covers uses previously defined in the revoked Classes A1/2/3, B1, D1(a-b), and ‘indoor sport’ from D2(e):

E(a) Display or retail sale of goods, other than hot food

E(b) Sale of food and drink for consumption (mostly) on the premises

E(c) Provision of:

E(c)(i) Financial services,

E(c)(ii) Professional services (other than health or medical services), or

E(c)(iii) Other appropriate services in a commercial, business, or service locality

E(d) Indoor sport, recreation, or fitness (not involving motorized vehicles or firearms)

E(e) Provision of medical or health services (except the use of premises attached to the residence of the consultant or practitioner)

E(f) Creche, day nursery or day centre (not including a residential use)

E(g) Uses which can be carried out in a residential area without detriment to its amenity:

E(g)(i) Offices to carry out any operational or administrative functions,

E(g)(ii) Research and development of products or processes

E(g)(iii) Industrial processes.



Class F has been recently introduced as of September 1st

In two main parts, Class F covers use previously defined in the revoked classes D1, ‘outdoor sport’, ‘swimming pools’ and ‘skating rinks’ from D2(e), as well as newly defined local community uses.

  • F1 Learning and non-residential institutions – Use (not including residential use) defined in 7 parts:
    • F1(a) Provision of education
    • F1(b) Display of works of art (otherwise than for sale or hire)
    • F1(c) Museums
    • F1(d) Public libraries or public reading rooms
    • F1(e) Public halls or exhibition halls
    • F1(f) Public worship or religious instruction (or in connection with such use)
    • F1(g) Law courts
  • F2 Local community – Use as defined in 4 parts:
    • F2(a) Shops (mostly) selling essential goods, including food, where the shop’s premises do not exceed 280 square meters and there is no other such facility within 1000 meters
    • F2(b) Halls or meeting places for the principal use of the local community
    • F2(c) Areas or places for outdoor sport or recreation (not involving motorized vehicles or firearms)
    • F2(d) Indoor or outdoor swimming pools or skating rinks


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