All buildings have a use class. The original Use Class Order 1987 has been recently updated in the Use Class Order 2020.
List of use classes
There is no official list of use classes is therefore open to interpretation of the above legislation. There are sometimes disputes (and varies between local planning authority) about which use class a building should fall under. In this case, it might be wise to engage an architect or planning consultant to advise and liaise on your behalf.
Most households (single person, couple or family) would fall under C3(a), except for those living together as a single household and receiving care, which would be C3(b).
Those living in a group without care is C3(c). This could be a household with a lodger or a religious group (and not an HMO as described below).
CLASS C4 (up to 6 people)
Large houses in multiple occupation (seven or more) will be under SUI GENERIS.
Hotels and B&Bs
Hostels, however, would be under SUI GENERIS.
Holiday lets can be classed as either SUI GENERIS, C1 or C3 and will depend on the level of occupation. See our full article here on change of use to a holiday let.
Secure residential institutions would be under CLASS C2(a).
Shops and supermarkets
UNLESS … If the shop is less than 280m² and there is no other shop in a 1km radius, it will come under CLASS F2: local community uses. Shops selling motor vehicles will come under SUI GENERIS.
Restaurants and cafes
(BUT not hot food takeaways or pubs/bars – see below).
Commercial business & service buildings
For example: post offices, travel agents, hairdressers/barbers, funeral directors, dry cleaners, key-cutting/shoe repair, internet cafes, estate agents.
Hot food takeaways
Bars and pubs
Offices and light industrial buildings
Doctors, dentists, health clinics
Nurseries and crèches
Gyms and indoor sports and recreation
Fore example: schools, museums, hospitals, libraries, council buildings, churches, halls (not for local use – see below).
Local community buildings
For example: local community halls, swimming pools, skating rinks, outdoor sports and recreation.
Unique uses that cannot put into another class, or miscellaneous. We’ll list some of the most common buildings that fit into the SUI GENERIS use class (if not already mentioned above).
- Music / dance halls
- Concert halls
- Bingo halls
- Casinos and betting and amusement shops/arcades
- Payday loan shops
- Scrap/storage yards
- Petrol Stations
- Police stations,
- Taxi businesses
- Car hire locations
- Tattoo parlours, beauticians, massage parlours, nail bars
What if a building has more than one use?
Often a mixed-use building will be classed as SUI GENERIS, but there are some exceptions so check with your local authority.
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