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What are use classes?

The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1995 (as amended) (UCO) sets out various categories of use referred to as “use classes”. Planning permission is not required to change from one use to another in the same class. Also, the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015 (GPDO) exempts some changes from one use class to another from the need for planning permission and also some extensions and alterations to premises in certain use classes do not require planning permission. The Change of Use – Use Classes section of the Planning Portal has more information.

It should be noted that sometimes what are known as Article 4 Directions may take away rights to carry out development which would otherwise be allowed by the GPDO – your Planning Department should be able to advise if this applies to your area. Also conditions on a planning permission might take away rights to change uses under the UCO or the GPDO or to build extensions, etc under the GPDO – for instance, large stores on retail. parks sometimes have conditions on their planning permissions preventing the sale of food, so they do not adversely affect sales from nearby shopping centres.

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