Temporary buildings and uses
This covers both temporary trading for up to 2 years in a new use class as well as items such as car boot sales and film making.
Whilst a change of use might not need permission, any external building work associated with a change of use may still require planning permission. The table below simplifies the complex legislation and should be read as a guide only, and in conjunction with the additional comments and restrictions below. Where we have articles on this Planning Geek website we have added direct links. P4/Class…. refers to the various sections within the GPDO – see this page for all those sections.
For permanent changes of use from say Offices to Residential, see this section.
This page was last updated on 30th March 2020 to reflect the latest changes to the GPDO.
|A2 (professional and financial services) when premises have a display window at ground level, but excluding betting offices or pay day loan shops|
|A3 (restaurants and cafes)|
|A4 (drinking establishments)|
|A5 (hot food takeaways)|
|B1(c) (light industrial)|
|B2 (general industrial)|
|B8 (storage and distribution)|
|C2 (Residential institutions)|
|C2(a) (Secure Residential institutions)|
|C4 (small houses in multiple occupation)|
|D1 (Non-residential institutions)|
|D2 (Assembly and leisure)|
The table provides a summary for the most common changes of use that apply in most circumstances, but there may also be further restrictions that do not allow you to implement the change of use. For example, if the property is within a Conservation Area, National Park, or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, or if the building is a Listed Building or Scheduled Monument, within a site of special scientific interest, safety hazard area, or military explosives area.
Local planning authorities can also remove permitted development rights in certain areas, meaning that you will require planning permission, so you should always check with your local council before you consider undertaking any works.
Some changes of use are also permitted, either only on a temporary basis, and/or subject to additional restrictions.
Some changes of use are subject to a prior approval procedure with the local planning authority. This seeks approval of various matters, dependent on the nature of the use, but might typically include matters relating to parking and highways, flooding, and contaminated land. In the case of A3 uses, prior approval is required in respect of matters relating to noise, odour, waste collection, impact of the hours of opening, transport and highways impact, impact on existing shopping provision, the design of any external changes and a statement specifying the net increase in dwellinghouses proposed by the development.
All prior approval applications require a fee to be paid to the local planning authority. Currently £96 or £206. See fees.
Where a property is in two use classes – then it will be classed as sui generis. The one exception is a building with B1 & B2 use as long as the section allocated to B2 is not substantially increased.
Temporary change of use
Buildings with A1, A2, A3, A5, B1, D1 and D2 uses are permitted to change use for a single period of up three years to A1, A2, A3, B1, D1(a), D1(e), D1(f) and D1(g).
Changes of use requiring a planning application
Other than for the permitted changes of use listed above and changes where both uses fall within the same ‘use class’, planning permission is generally required for a material change of use.
Most external building work associated with a change of use is also likely to require planning permission, although the The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 does also allow some minor external changes.
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