KEW Planning



England’s Use Classes Order 2020

A reform to the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 2015 (as amended) came into effect from the 1st of
September 2020.

The UCO groups different uses of buildings and land into use classes, meaning that a change of use within a specific class does not require planning permission, as it is considered to be permitted development. The English government argued a complete overhaul was necessary in order to allow flexibility for businesses to adapt and diversify to meet changing needs and demands, especially in light of Covid-19’s economic impact. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced high-streets to adapt their purpose by introducing other uses in addition to their more traditional uses, such as retail and hospitality.

The new UCO aims to “simplify” the system of use classes in England by introducing new use classes, namely Class E, (Commercial, Business and Service), Class F.1 (Learning and Non-residential institutions) and Class F.2 (Local community). The details of the new class orders can be found here.

Retail to Residential Permitted Development changes

These permitted development rights were introduced to aid the country’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and will continue until the 31st of July 2021. However, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MCHLG) now propose to draw these uses together into a single right to change use from Class E (Commercial, Business and Service use class) to residential use (Class C3).

We have written this article to detail the exact changes.