Use Class E – Commercial, Business and Service
Use Class E of the Use Classes Order 1987 (as amended) was introduced on 1st September 2020 and covers the former use classes of A1 (shops), A2 (financial and professional), A3 (restaurants and cafes) as well as parts of D1 (non-residential institutions) and D2 (assembly and leisure) and puts them all into one new use class.
The full description is for the uses within Class E can found further down the page.
What constitutes a Use Class E property?
Use Class E allows for many different uses and unless a planning restriction exists can be utilised for any of the examples below at any time without consultation with the local authority. You can chop and change as you wish. Note that external changes to a Use Class E building may require planning. Licencing may also be required in order to operate.
The list below are many of the uses for Use Class E, but is not the entire list thanks to c) iii) which says ‘any other services which it is appropriate to provide in a commercial, business or service locality‘. As a result of this line, it opens several uses for Use Class E that previously were considered to be Sui Generis. Although if the business previously had planning to move to Sui Generis and is listed below, this then creates a potential grey area. Is it E or does it remain as Sui Generis. Personally we think it moves to Sui Generis automatically.
Activities such as a dance studio will come under indoor sports and recreation and therefore Use Class E as opposed to a dance hall which is a more formal setting in sui generis.
A recent appeal APP/R5510/X/22/3290784 was confirmed by the inspectorate that a former restaurant could become a tanning salon, a use that was previously deemed as Sui Generis. Similar uses should now fall under Use Class E such as massage parlours.
Permitted Development Changes for Use Class E
There are several permitted development rights to go from or to Use Class E from/to other use classes.
From another use to Use Class E:
Class A – Sui Generis (Casino, Betting Office, Payday Loan Shop, Hot Food Takeaway) to Use Class E
Class R – Sui Generis (agricultural building) to Flexible commercial use (Including Use Class E)
Class D – Betting Office, Payday Loan Shop, Hot Food Takeaway to Use Class E for a period of up to 3 years up to 150m2
From Use Class E to another use:
Class G – one or two flats (C3) above Use Class E, Payday Loan Shop, Betting Office
Class MA – Use Class E to C3
Class T – Use Class E to State Funded School
Class D – Use Class E to Betting Office, Payday Loan Shop, Hot Food Takeaway for a period of up to 3 years up to 150m2
Class C – Use Class E to State Funded School for up to two years.
If you require assistance with planning permission please either request a free fee proposal, or book a Zoom call with Ian, the founder of Planning Geek. Our team of planning consultants are here to help.
Examples for Use Class E
According to the Planning Geek directory of uses, Use Class E includes Artists Studio, Banks, Barbers, Bookshop, Building Societies, Building Societies, Cafés, Car Servicing, Chemist, Clinics, Crèches, Day Nurseries, Dentists, DIY Shed, Doctors, Dry Cleaners, Employment Agencies, Estate Agencies, Funeral Directors, GP, Gyms, Hairdressers, Health Centres, Hire Shops, Indoor Sports & Recreation, Industrial Processes in a residential area without causing detriment to the amenity of the area, Internet Cafes, Job Centre, Light Industrial, Music Studio, Non-retail Photographic Studio, Offices, Osteopath, Pet Shops, Pharmacy, Phone Shop, Photographic Studio, Police Offices, Post Offices, Printers (small), Professional Services, Recording Studios, Research & Development, Restaurant, Retail Warehouses, Sale of cold food for consumption off premises, Sandwich Shop, Shops (except some local under Use Class F2), Snooker Hall, Solicitors, Ticket Agencies, Tourist Information, Travel Agencies, Veterinary Practice (Vets), Beauty Salons*, Dog Grooming Parlour*, Massage Parlour*, Nail Bar*, Sunbed Salon*, Tanning Salon*, Tattoo Parlours*
* Traditionally we have considered tattoo parlours or beauty salons to be sui generis, but the new wording in Use Class E says ‘any other services which it is appropriate to provide in a commercial, business or service locality’ which in our opinion brings several other local uses into Use Class E. You might however find that the local authority doesn’t agree. We hope they do.
Use Class E Legislation
Use Class E – Commercial, Business and Service –
Use, or part use, for all or any of the following purposes—
a) for the display or retail sale of goods, other than hot food, principally to visiting members of the public,
b) for the sale of food and drink principally to visiting members of the public where consumption of that food and drink is mostly undertaken on the premises,
c) for the provision of the following kinds of services principally to visiting members of the public—
(i) financial services,
(ii) professional services (other than health or medical services), or
(iii) any other services which it is appropriate to provide in a commercial, business or service locality,
d) for indoor sport, recreation or fitness, not involving motorised vehicles or firearms, principally to visiting members of the public,
e) for the provision of medical or health services, principally to visiting members of the public, except the use of premises attached to the residence of the consultant or practitioner,
f) for a creche, day nursery or day centre, not including a residential use, principally to visiting members of the public,
(i) an office to carry out any operational or administrative functions,
(ii) the research and development of products or processes, or
(iii) any industrial process, being a use, which can be carried out in any residential area without detriment to the amenity of that area by reason of noise, vibration, smell, fumes, smoke, soot, ash, dust or grit.
Where a property is in two use classes – then it will be classed as sui generis. The one exception is a building with Use Class E, sub-paragraph (g) & B2 use as long as the section allocated to B2 is not substantially increased.
Use Class E Page Updated: 21st January 2024