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Green Live Commercial Agents | Guide to Commercial Use Class Order Guide to Commercial Use Class Order

Guide to Use Classes Order and Permitted Changes of Use

(England and Wales) 


Use Classes
Order 1987
(see note 1)

Use Classes
Order 1972


General Development
Order 1988
(see note 2)


Class I

Shops, retail warehouses, hairdressers, undertakers, travel and ticket agencies, post offices, dry cleaners, etc
Pet shops, cats-meat shops, tripe shops, sandwich bars
Showrooms, domestic hire shops, funeral directors

No permitted change
(see note 3)

Financial and

Class II

Banks, building societies, estate and employment agencies
Professional and financial services, betting offices

Permitted change to A1 where a ground floor
display window exists
(see note 3)

Food and Drink

Restaurants, pubs, snack bars, cafés, wine bars, shops for sale of hot food

Permitted change to A1 or A2

Sui Generis
(see note 4)

Shops selling and/or displaying motor vehicles

Launderettes, taxi or vehicle hire businesses, amusement centres, petrol filling stations

Permitted change to A1

No permitted change

(see note 5)

Class II

Class III

Offices, not within A2
Research and development studios, laboratories, high tech
Light industry

Permitted change to B8 where no more than 235sqm

General Industrial
(see note 6)

Class IV-IX

General industrial

Permitted change to B1 or B8
B8 limited to no more than 235 sqm

Storage and distribution

Class X

Wholesale warehouse, distribution centres, repositories

Permitted change to B1 where no more than 235 sqm

Sui Generis
(see note 4)


Any work registrable under the Alkali, etc. Works Regulation Act, 1906

No permitted change

(see note 7)

Class XI

Hotels, boarding and guest houses

No permitted change

Residential Institutions

Class XII
Class XIV

Residential schools and colleges
Hospitals and convalescent/nursing homes

No permitted change

Dwelling Houses
(see note 8)


Dwellings, small businesses at home, communal housing of elderly and handicapped

No permitted change

Sui Generis
(see note 4)



No permitted change

Non-residential Institutions

Class XIII
Class XV

Class XVI

Places of worship, church halls
Clinics, health centres, crèches, day nurseries, consulting rooms
Museums, public halls, libraries, art galleries, exhibition halls
Non-residential education and training centres

No permitted change

Assembly and Leisure

Class XVII

Cinemas, music and concert halls
Dance, sports halls, swimming baths, skating rinks, gymnasiums
Other indoor and outdoor sports and leisure uses, bingo halls, casinos

No permitted change

Sui Generis
(see note 4)

Class XVII


No permitted change


  1. Changes of use within a specific class do not require planning permission provided that: the use subsists; the planning permission has been implemented; and no restrictive condition is attached to the consent
  2. The permitted development rights shown in the final column do not require planning permission where all criteria set out in the Order are met and no restrictive conditions apply
  3. The General Development (Amendment) Order 1995 provides for the permitted change of use of a building from Class A1 or Class A2 to a mixed use for the purposes of either Class A1 or Class A2 and as a single flat, and from such a mixed use to Class A1 or Class A2 use provided the Class A1 or Class A2 use is situated on a floor below the single flat and various other conditions are met.
  4. Sui Generis is a term which refers to a use on its own. Any planning use not falling within a specific class within the Classes Order falls within this category.
  5. A B1 use must be capable of being undertaken "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".
  6. The Use Classes (Amendment) Order 1995 amends the 1987 Order by omitting Classes B4 - B7 (special industrial groups B - E). Industrial processes previously within these classes now fall within Class B2 (general industrial).
  7. A C1 use is defines as a hotel or a boarding or guest house where, in each case, no significant element of care is provided.
  8. Six or less residents unless living together as a family.
  9. It should be noted that permitted changes of use identified above are ratchet changes, i.e. cannot be made in reverse.
  10. Various other permitted development rights exist for, inter alia, industrial and warehouse buildings, dwelling houses, agricultural buildings, schools, colleges, universities, hospitals and development by statutory undertakers.

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