All buildings fall under a Use Class as defined in the The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended). However there is not a list of use classes within this country. Please do not reply upon apps to tell you either, as these are woefully out of date.
These are divided into five sections. These are businesses which primarily serve people, businesses which supply or support others, locations where people sleep, locations where they don’t and a category for those locations which are unique in themselves.
Now that that is clear! We will list out each section in turn with as many examples as possible to avoid confusion.
Class A1 – Shops and Retail Units – for the retail sale of goods other than hot food, as a post office, for the sale of tickets or as a travel agency, for the sale of sandwiches or other cold food for consumption off the premises, for hairdressing, for the direction of funerals, for the display of goods for sale, for the hiring out of domestic or personal goods or articles, for the washing or cleaning of clothes or fabrics on the premises, for the reception of goods to be washed, cleaned or repaired, as an internet café; where the primary purpose of the premises is to provide facilities for enabling members of the public to access the internet.
Class A2 – Financial and professional services – financial services, or professional services (other than health or medical services), or any other services which it is appropriate to provide in a shopping area.
Class A3 – Restaurants and cafes – Use for the sale of food and drink for consumption on the premises. Can be a ‘pub’ that sells food and drink.
Class A4 – Drinking establishments – Use as a public house, wine-bar or other drinking establishment where no food or very little is served.
Class A5 – Hot food takeaways – Use for the sale of hot food for consumption off the premises.
Class B1(a) – Business – as an office other than a use within class A2 (financial and professional services),
Class B1(b) – Business – for research and development of products or processes, or
Class B1(c) – Business – for any industrial process
Class B2 – General industrial – Use for the carrying on of an industrial process other than one falling within class B1 above.
Class B8 – Storage or distribution – Use for storage or as a distribution centre.
Class C1 – Hotels – Use as a hotel or as a boarding or guest house where, in each case, no significant element of care is provided (not hostels).
Class C2 – Residential institutions – Use for the provision of residential accommodation and care to people in need of care (other than a use within class C3 (dwelling houses)). Use as a hospital or nursing home. Use as a residential school, college or training centre
Class C2A – Secure residential institutions – Use for the provision of secure residential accommodation, including use as a prison, young offenders institution, detention centre, secure training centre, custody centre, short-term holding centre, secure hospital, secure local authority accommodation or use as military barracks
Class C3 – Dwellinghouses – Use as a dwellinghouse (whether or not as a sole or main residence) by— (a) a single person or by people to be regarded as forming a single household; (b) not more than six residents living together as a single household where care is provided for residents; or (c) not more than six residents living together as a single household where no care is provided to residents (other than a use within Class C4).
Class C4 – Houses in multiple occupation – Use of a dwellinghouse by not more than six residents as a “house in multiple occupation”.
Class D1 – Non-residential institutions – Any use not including a residential use — for the provision of any medical or health services except the use of premises attached to the residence of the consultant or practitioner, as a crêche, day nursery or day centre, for the provision of education, for the display of works of art (otherwise than for sale or hire), as a museum, as a public library or public reading room, as a public hall or exhibition hall, for, or in connection with, public worship or religious instruction
Class D2 – Assembly and leisure – Use as a cinema, a concert hall, a bingo hall, a dance hall, a swimming pool, skating rink, gymnasium or area for other indoor or outdoor sports or recreations, not involving motorised vehicles or firearms.
Sui Generis – Properties not fitting in any of the above categories / use classes. Meaning “of its (his, her, or their) own kind; in a class by itself; unique” These include theatres, large houses in multiple occupation (seven or more), hostels providing no significant element of care, scrap yards, fuel stations and shops selling and / or displaying motor vehicles, retail warehouse clubs, nightclubs, launderettes, dry cleaners, police stations, taxi businesses, amusement centres, casinos, tattoo parlours etc. To change from one sui generis use to another sui generis use requires planning permission.
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.