Planning Use Class

All buildings fall under a Use Class as defined in the The Town and Country Planning (Use ClassesOrder 1987 (as amended). However there is no longer a list of use classes within this country. Please do not reply upon apps to tell you either, as they can be inaccurate.

Although having just said that, we have produced our own. There did used to be a Use Class Gazetteer used by local authorities, but this is woefully out of date. You can view our own version here.

A full timeline or history of the Use Classes Order is now available here.

The Use Class Order 2020 was an update to the Use Class Order 1987 and the changes are summarised here and detailed on the timeline here.

This section can also be found under the domain of which will direct to straight to this page.

Use Classes are divided into six sections. These are ‘Use Class B – businesses which supply or support others’, ‘Use Class C – locations where people sleep’, Use Class E – ‘ commercial, business and Service’, Use Class F1 – ‘learning and non-residential institutions’, Use Class F2 – ‘local community uses’ and a Sui Generis – ‘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.

Click on the respective parts to see locations contained within them……


Use Classes

Part B – Business that supply people

Use Class B2 – General Industrial
Use Class B8 – Storage and Distribution

Part C – Locations where people sleep

Use Class C1 – Hotels
Use Class C2 – Residential Institutions
Use Class C2A – Secure residential institutions
Use Class C3 – Dwellinghouses
Use Class C4 – HMOs
Use Class C5 – Short Term Holiday Lets (proposed)

Use Class E – Commercial, Business and Service

Use Class E – Various uses from shops, offices, restaurants, light industrial and much more

Use Class F1 – Learning and non-residential institutions

USe class F1 – Schools, galleries, museums and more

Use Class F2 – Local community uses

Use Class F2 – Local Community uses

Sui Generis – everything else!

If it isn’t in one of the use classes above, then it is under Sui Generis (a bit of Latin pronounced [SOO] + [EE] – [JEN] + [UH] + [RIS] )

Sui Generis – Unique, one of a kind

What happens if a building has two uses? 

Where a property is in two use classes – then it will be classed as sui generis.

However quite often it does not have two use classes – if a museum has an office attached then the office is ‘ancillary’ to the museum. The museum is the element that keeps the organisation going, without that the office is pointless. Therefore the office is Use Class F1 along with the museum. The Office is not in Use Class E.

Where there really are two uses then the building will be sui generis. However, also be careful in case the building is actually two separate planning units. If they are not linked then they would each retain their own planning Use Class.

The one exception is a building with Class E, sub-paragraph (g)  & B2 use as long as the section allocated to B2 is not substantially increased.





Citation and commencement

1. This Order may be cited as the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 and shall come into force on 1st June 1987.


2. In this Order, unless the context otherwise requires:—

“care” means personal care for people in need of such care by reason of old age, disablement, past or present dependence on alcohol or drugs or past or present mental disorder, and in class C2 also includes the personal care of children and medical care and treatment;
“day centre” means premises which are visited during the day for social or recreational purposes or for the purposes of rehabilitation or occupational training, at which care is also provided;
“industrial process” means a process for or incidental to any of the following purposes:—
(a) the making of any article or part of any article (including a ship or vessel, or a film, video or sound recording);
(b) the altering, repairing, maintaining, ornamenting, finishing, cleaning, washing, packing, canning, adapting for sale, breaking up or demolition of any article; or
(c) the getting, dressing or treatment of minerals;
in the course of any trade or business other than agriculture, and other than a use carried out in or adjacent to a mine or quarry;
“site” means the whole area of land within a single unit of occupation.

Use Classes

3.— (1) Subject to the provisions of this Order, where a building or other land is situated in Wales and is used for a purpose of any class specified in Schedule 1, the use of that building or that other land for any other purpose of the same class is not to be taken to involve development of the land.

(1A) Subject to the provisions of this Order, where a building or other land is situated in England and is used for a purpose of any class specified in—
(a) Part B or C of Schedule 1, or
(b) Schedule 2,
the use of that building or that other land, or if specified, the use of part of that building or the other land (“part use”), for any other purpose of the same class is not to be taken to involve development of the land.

(1B) Part B of Schedule 1 applies to a building or other land that is situated in England subject to the modifications set out in paragraph (1C).

(1C) Part B of Schedule 1 applies to a building or other land that is situated in England as if—
(a) Class B1 (Business) were omitted, and
(b) for Class B2 (General industrial) there were substituted—
       “Class B2. General industrial
Use for the carrying on of an industrial process other than one falling within the uses described in Schedule 2, Class E, sub-paragraph (g).”

(2) References in paragraph (1) and (1A) to a building include references to land occupied with the building and used for the same purposes.

(3) A use which is included in and ordinarily incidental to any use in a class specified in Schedule 1 or 2 is not excluded from the use to which it is incidental merely because it is specified in the Schedule Schedule 1 or 2 as a separate use.

(4) Where land on a single site or on adjacent sites used as parts of a single undertaking is used for purposes consisting of or including purposes falling within—
(a) in relation to Wales, Classes B1 and B2 in Schedule 1, or
(b) in relation to England, the use described in Schedule 2, Class E, sub-paragraph (g) and Class B2 in Schedule 1 as modified by paragraph (1C)(b),
those classes may be treated as a single class in considering the use of that land for the purposes of this Order, so long as the area used for a purpose falling within Class B2, or Class B2 as modified, is not substantially increased as a result.

(6) No class specified in Schedule 1 or 2 includes use —
(a) as a theatre,
(b) as an amusement arcade or centre, or a funfair,
(c) as a launderette,
(d) for the sale of fuel for motor vehicles,
(e) for the sale or display for sale of motor vehicles,
(f) for a taxi business or business for the hire of motor vehicles,
(g) as a scrapyard, or a yard for the storage or distribution of minerals or the breaking of motor vehicles,
(h) for any work registrable under the Alkali, etc. Works Regulation Act 1906,
(i) as a hostel,
(j) as a waste disposal installation for the incineration, chemical treatment (as defined in Annex I to Directive 2008/98/EC under heading D9) or landfill of hazardous waste as defined (in relation to England) in regulation 6 of the Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005 or (in relation to Wales) in regulation 6 of the Hazardous Waste (Wales) Regulations 2005;
(k) as a retail warehouse club being a retail club where goods are sold, or displayed for sale, only to persons who are members of that club,
(l) as a night-club.
(m) as a casino,
(n) as a betting office,
(o) as a pay day loan shop.
(p) as a public house, wine bar, or drinking establishment,
(q) as a drinking establishment with expanded food provision,
(r) as a hot food takeaway for the sale of hot food where consumption of that food is mostly undertaken off the premises,
(s) as a venue for live music performance,
(t) a cinema,
(u) a concert hall,
(v) a bingo hall,
(x) a dance hall.

(6A) For the purpose of paragraph (6)—
“high-cost short-term credit” has the meaning given in the edition of the Financial Conduct Authority’s Handbook which came into effect on 1st April 2014 (following an amendment by the Authority in the Consumer Credit (Consequential and Supplementary Amendments) Instrument 2014); and
“pay day loan shop” means premises—
(a) from which high-cost short-term credit is provided principally to visiting members of the public and includes premises from which such credit is provided in addition to other financial or professional services, and
(b) which, but for provision made in this article, would fall within Class A2 (financial and professional services) of the Schedule Schedule 1 or Class E (Commercial, Business and Service) of Schedule 2 to this Order.

Change of use of part of building or land

4. In the case of a building used for a purpose within class C3 (dwellinghouses) in Schedule 1, the use as a separate dwellinghouse of any part of the building or of any land occupied with and used for the same purposes as the building is not, by virtue of this Order, to be taken as not amounting to development.


5. The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1972 and the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Amendment) Order 1983 are hereby revoked.

Schedule 1

Part B (Use Class B)
Part C (Use Class C)

Schedule 2

Part A – Commercial, Business and Service
(Use Class E)
Part B – Local Community and Learning
(Use Class F1 / Use Class F2)





Page Updated: 14th February 2024