Wheeler and Lai Surveyors

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Planning Law September 2020 Overhaul

From the 1st of September 2020, the government announced an overhaulf of the Town & Country Planning System, and changes to the Use Classes Order.

The Use Classes describes what type of business you are able to carry out in a property. And as from of 1st September 2020, there has been a re-allocation of businesses and re-grouping of uses to make it easier to change from one use to another. A real change and opportunity for businesses who are looking for business premises, more options and possibilities!

This is a real game changer and an overhaul of the planning system. We have often had conversations with business owners, who ask us “Can I turn this shop into a cafe? And we used to say, “Not unless it’s A3”. NOW, this is changing, you would be permitted to move freely within a Class from retail to restaurant, from restaurant to a health clinic.

If you’re looking to open a Gym, and were worried you won’t get planning in a retail location or a Clinic in an B1a premises, this is changing too.

The new class is known as Class E. Class E is now very broad, and covers shops, financial services, restaurants and cafes, office, research and development, clinics, health centres creches, day nurseries and day centres, gymnasiums, indoor sports and recreation.

Other new categories are F1, F2 and changes to Sui- Generis. Takeaways are now in Sui-Generis. The planning changes also involve permitted development changes, involving additional floors. This will not be explored here, but more information can be found here – Planning Portal.

What impact will this have on existing lease?

In leases it usually states the permitted use of the property, and it will depend on the wording of the lease whether there will become a wider use ability or a narrowing of the use. This may have an impact on rent reviews, where a perceived narrowing of the use can put the tenant at a disadvantage, and less comparable to market evidence. This may mean a variation on the rental to adjust to the restrictive nature of the use. The key point to look at is the wording of the lease, such as “use of Class A1 allowed at the time of this lease” or “use Class A1 from time to time”, which gives more flexibility in terms of changing the use to match the Planning system changes.

If you are in need of premises or would like us to market your property, contact us and we’ll help you.


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