Changes to the planning system from 1st September 2020

Changes to the planning system from 1st September 2020

Changes to Use Classes Order In England – How will this affect my business?

From the 1st of September 2020 changes to the planning system have been implemented. The changes were made to simplify the complex classification system to make it easier for businesses to adapt in a post-covid landscape. In effect the Government are keen to try and reinvigorate high streets. As well as removing hurdles for businesses looking to “pivot” in order to survive and continue to serve the local communities and employ staff.

Pivot: Pivoting toward new markets, services or products is a great way to build on the foundation a business has, expand revenue and bring more profit.

Changes to Classes

From the 1st September a new classification E (Commercial, Business and Services) incorporates the previous A class. The previous A class included; A1 retail, A2 finance, A3 restaurant, A4 pub and A5 takeaway uses. It is now possible to change uses within this E class without needing to secure planning consent. A4 Public Houses are excluded from the changes to change further depletion of the pub stocks. Pubs are now within Sui Generis (unique) where individual circumstances impact planning.

Within the Sui Generis class are Pubs, Cinemas, concert halls, wine bars and takeaways. One particular issue that we perceive is that the distinction between a pub and a restaurant has become narrower over the last 20 years. Some traditional pubs becoming very reliant on food income and their celebrity chefs to continue to trade. We expect there will be some litigation or challenge in this area.

The business community has received the changes mostly positively. However, only time will tell whether changing use with the E class will be straight forward. User clauses within leaseholds will change in all leases from 1st September onward. Business owners with restrictive covenants should still seek Landlords consent prior to affecting any lasting changes.

For Further information: Changes use classes order in England

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