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

Class JA - 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.

Class JA works well for shops (A1), financial or professional establishments (A2), takeaway (A5), betting office, payday loan shop or launderette (all sui generis). 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.

Note that from September 1st 2020 restaurants, shops, offices and financial locations in England will come under the new Use Class E –  this allows for the free change of any of the uses within it and therefore Class JA of the GPDO is redundant as far as retail( A1) to offices is concerned.  If you wish to move from a takeaway, betting office, payday loan shop or launderette to an office this is still valid. A takeaway will become sui generis after 1st September, but until the 31st July 2021 you can continue to use this as if it was still A5. 

 

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.), SSSI, safety hazard area, Listed Buildings, Scheduled Monument or in a military explosives storage area!  

As from 1st September 2020 you can use Use Class E to convert the shop to any other use within Use Class E – this removes some of the restrictions of Class JA.

 

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

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.

 

Page updated 21st August 2021

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