Changes to Use Classes Order

Under the mantra of “Build Build Build”, the Government has set out new Permitted Development Rights.  They will involve deregularisation of the planning system with radical reforms to the existing Use Classes Order.


The changes are intended to give greater flexibility for changing a building’s use without planning permission.  It is hoped that this will create new homes from the regeneration of vacant and redundant buildings.


The measures are expected to come into effect from September this year and will be set out in a paper due for release later this month.

What is the current Use Classes Order?

The current Use Classes Order is a Statutory Instrument that groups buildings into various categories known as ‘Use Classes’.


Planning permission is generally not required for a building to change use within that same class.  This is known as ‘Permitted Development’.


An example of Permitted Development would be converting a Pet Shop to a Hairdressers, as both fall within Use Class A1 (Shops).  Conversely, converting a bank (Use Class A2), to a residential home (Use Class C3), would require planning permission.  This is because they each fall within different Use Classes.

What are the changes?

In the speech given on 30 June, Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out some of the proposed changes.  They include the following:


  • The ability to demolish and rebuild vacant and redundant buildings without planning permission.  Provided that they are rebuilt as homes.
  • A broader range of commercial premises will be included within Permitted Development rights.
  • Property owners will have permission to build further accommodation above their existing home through a fast track approval process.


The measures are intended to make it much easier for new homes to be created.  It is hoped that they will encourage the regeneration of vacant buildings.  The Government has also claimed that the proposal will help to ease the pressure to build on greenfield land by regenerating town centres and making brownfield development easier.


The details are yet to be fully scrutinised.  They could be perceived as a welcome boost to the housing market or as legislation that leads to poorer quality housing.

What can we do to help?

David Cosby are a multidisciplinary Chartered Surveying practice.  We have a dedicated Architectural department able to provide professional and friendly advice on your proposed project.


Whether for conversion, extension, new-build, or alterations, we work closely with our clients in developing a brief that meets design aspirations, site constraints and budget.


We await publication of the full paper later this month and welcome the ability to fast-track certain projects.  It is, however, critical that the growth of residential development in urban areas does not lead to reduced quality design.  To this end, we will be maintaining our own mantra of ‘Quality Planning, Quality Design, Quality Build’.


If you have a project that you would like to discuss, then please call us on 01327 361664 or contact us here.

© David Cosby Chartered Surveyors 2019