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Class JA – retail, takeaway, betting office, payday loan shop, and launderette uses to Offices

retail to officesClass O of the GPDO has meant that many offices have been removed from communities throughout England. As a result Class JA has been introduced to convert retail and similar to offices.

This works well for shops (A1), financial or professional establishments (A2), takeaway (A5), betting office, payday loan shop or launderette. This change of use class was introduced by the government in May 2019. You can convert up to 500 sq m of the existing shop space under Class JA.

What are the restrictions on Class JA?

As you might expect there are a couple of restrictions with Class JA. Most importantly the retail unit must have been in use on or before 29th October 2018. You can’t convert it away from being an office without planning permission, not even back to a shop and certainly not to residential under Class O! You also cannot extend the new offices, which is possible under PD to normal offices. You can’t use Class JA in Article 2(3) land (conservation area, the Broads, AONB, national park etc.), SSI, safety hazard area, Listed Buildings, Scheduled Monument or in a military explosives storage area!

Okay….  so how do we apply for Class JA?

You will need to submit a prior approval (56 days) request to the local authority. They will assess it against transport and highways, noise from surrounding properties, and whether the loss of the retail shop or similar has an effect of the local economy. This is especially true of locations in key shopping areas (KSA) where the loss of the unit might affect the sustainability of the area. As a result the local planning authority (LPA) will require a viability report to demonstrate that there is no demand for the current usage and that a sale or letting has not been possible. Remember that you can’t then convert it to any other use unless you obtain planning permission.

Check out other permitted development options on our changes of use page.

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