Class M – certain uses to residential
Class M was updated in 2021 and given the new title of ‘certain uses to residential’. The government must have taken a while to think up that title! The reason for the change is that retail is now covered under Class MA.
Therefore Class M now allows betting offices, payday loan shops, hot food takeaways or launderette to be converted to residential. This class requires a prior approval request to the local authority.
You can convert up to 150 square metres of floor space to residential. So if the unit is larger, then it would be recommended to apply to convert the rear whilst keeping a viable unit at the front. By a viable unit, 30 sq m plus is deemed to be acceptable in many cases.
One of the most important restrictions with Class M is the date stamp of 20th March 2013. In other words the unit must have been in use as a one of the above uses on or before this date. If it was created after this date or has had another use since, then you will require full planning.
As with most prior approvals there are several restrictions and this is true of Class M. You will need to adhere to minimum space standards.
You must supply floor plans as part of the application and it will require the the provision of adequate natural light in all habitable rooms of the properties created under Class M. The GPDO defines a habitable room as any rooms used or intended to be used for sleeping or living which are not solely used for cooking purposes, but does not include bath or toilet facilities, service rooms, corridors, laundry rooms, hallways or utility rooms.
You cannot use Class M in
- Article 2(3) Land – Conservation Area, AONB, SPA, the Broads, National Park, World Heritage Site
- Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
- Safety Hazard Zone
- Military Explosives Area
- Listed Building
- Scheduled Monument
Assuming none of the above restrictions affect you, then the local authority will assess the application against Transport & Highways, Contamination and Flood Risk.
The application which should include any building works required such as replacing the shop front, has a time limit, like several other prior approvals of 56 days. Once granted you have three years from the date of the prior approval to carry out the works.
Check out other permitted development options on our changes of use page.
Class M – certain uses to dwellinghouses
M. Development consisting of—
(a) a change of use of a building from—
(i) a use falling within one of the following—
(bb) betting office;
(cc) pay day loan shop;
(dd) hot food takeaway; or
(ii) a mixed use combining use as a dwellinghouse with a use falling within one of the uses mentioned in paragraph (i)(aa), (bb) or (cc) (whether that use was granted permission under Class G of this Part or otherwise);
to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) of Schedule 1 to the Use Classes Order; or
(b) development referred to in sub-paragraph (a) together with building operations reasonably necessary to convert the building to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses).
Development not permitted
M.1 Development is not permitted by Class M if—
(a) the building was not used for one of the uses referred to in Class M(a)—
(i) on 20th March 2013, or
(ii) in the case of a building which was in use before that date but was not in use on that date, when it was last in use;
(c) the cumulative floor space of the existing building changing use under Class M exceeds 150 square metres;
(d) the development (together with any previous development under Class M) would result in more than 150 square metres of floor space in the building having changed use under Class M;
(e) the development would result in the external dimensions of the building extending beyond the external dimensions of the existing building at any given point;
(f) the development consists of demolition (other than partial demolition which is reasonably necessary to convert the building to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order); or
(g) the building is—
(i) on article 2(3) land;
(ii) in a site of special scientific interest;
(iii) in a safety hazard area;
(iv) in a military explosives storage area;
(v) a listed building; or
(vi) a scheduled monument.
M.2—(1) Where the development proposed is development under Class M(a) together with development under Class M(b), development is permitted subject to the condition that before beginning the development, the developer must apply to the local planning authority for a determination as to whether the prior approval of the authority will be required as to—
(a) transport and highways impacts of the development,
(b) contamination risks in relation to the building,
(c) flooding risks in relation to the building,
(d) whether it is undesirable for the building to change to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order because of the impact of the change of use—
(i) on adequate provision of services of the sort that may be provided by a building falling within article 3(6)(c) (launderette) of the Use Classes Order, but only where there is a reasonable prospect of the building being used to provide such services,
(e) the design or external appearance of the building,, and
(f) the provision of adequate natural light in all habitable rooms of the dwellinghouses,
and the provisions of paragraph W (prior approval) of this Part apply in relation to that application.
(2) Where the development proposed is development under Class M(a) only, development is permitted subject to the condition that before beginning the development, the developer must apply to the local planning authority for a determination as to whether the prior approval of the authority will be required as to the items referred to in sub-paragraphs (1)(a) to (d) and (f), and the provisions of paragraph W (prior approval) of this Part apply in relation to that application.
(3) Development under Class M is permitted subject to the condition that—
(a) development under Class M(a), and under Class M(b), if any, must be completed within a period of 3 years starting with the prior approval date;
(b) a building which has changed use under Class M is to be used as a dwellinghouse within the meaning of Class C3 of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order and for no other purpose, except to the extent that the other purpose is ancillary to the primary use as such a dwellinghouse; and
(c) where the proposed development includes a change of use of a building from a use falling within Class A1 or Class A2 of the Use Classes Order, the developer must apply for a determination under sub-paragraph (1) or (2) on or before 31 July 2021.
Page updated: 27th February 2022