Rural Hub

Planning use classes – September 2020

2 mins

It has become an increasingly popular practice in recent years for rural landowners to diversify by changing the use of redundant agricultural buildings to commercial uses, falling within Use Class B1 (office, research and development, industrial processes). Changes to planning use classes, which came into force on 1st September 2020, present an opportunity for further diversification.

Former ‘B1’ uses now fall within Use Class E – which encompasses a greater variety of potential uses, that can be changed between without the need for planning permission. This change not only allows existing tenants to rapidly adapt their businesses where required, it also enhances the appeal of the premises to a wider range of prospective end users, whose intended use may previously not have been permitted under B1.

This particular change was primarily intended to support town centres and high streets, though premises in more rural locations can also benefit from the greater flexibility offered by Class E.

It remains to be seen how local authorities will deal with the considerable variation between the impacts of differing uses on factors such as residential amenity, parking, vehicle movements and noise.

It is also worth noting that the introduction of the amendments to the Use Class order is the subject of a legal challenge at present in respect of the lack of an environmental assessment or appropriate public consultation process. The legal hearing is due to take place in October.

The General Permitted Development Order (GDPO) has not yet been updated to reflect the amended Use Classes Order. It is understood that changes to GDPO are likely to be introduced before 1 August 2021, and that in the mean-time between 1 September 2020 to 31 July 2021, the GDPO should be interpreted as it exists as at 31 August 2020.

The planning team at Strutt & Parker are, as always, happy to advise further on any queries relating to these updates, or any other planning matters.

2 mins

Related Articles


Class MA permitted development rights

The government has introduced new permitted development rights to allow for the change of use from commercial, business use and service use (Class E) to residential use (Class C3), opening up new opportunities for farmers and landowners. It follows a shakeup of use classes in September 2020, when a new Class E definition was introduced […]

Planning White Paper – what does it mean for rural areas?

The government has recently published its long-awaited Planning for the Future White Paper which sets out its vision for a radical reform of the current planning system, with an apparent overarching intention to modernise it, and speed up decision-making. The White Paper confirms the much-talked-about plans for zoning land into three categories: growth areas suitable […]

Planning permission deadlines extended until 2021

The government has agreed to extend planning permission deadlines in England in a move which will support landowners with development interests. Recent data published by the government estimated that by the end of June 2020, more than 400 residential permissions providing more than 24,000 new homes would have expired since the start of lockdown with […]

Covid-19: Impact on the planning system and strategic development

The following is a round-up from Strutt & Parker’s national planning team on changes to the planning system as a result of Covid-19, including key considerations for landowners with strategic land. Planning consents The government’s guidance to local planning authorities is to ensure the planning system continues to function, especially where this will support the […]

Talk to us

Want to talk to us about our rural specialisms? Send us a message and we will make sure it gets to the right person.

Please write your name
Please write a message

Sign up

Sign up to be notified when we launch new publications so you’re always ahead of the research.

Please write your name
Please write a correct email address
Send me updates about
Please tick a box