Classes of use

For planning applications

Local residents are sometimes confused by the different 'use classes' often referred to in planning applications. Here are the permissible classes of use as set out in the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987, together with some comments from the North Laine Community Association: 

  • A1 Shops: Shops, retail warehouses, hairdressers, undertakers, travel and ticket agencies, post offices, dry cleaners and internet cafés etc

This use class includes food outlets which do not cook or serve hot food, such as those selling coffee and cakes, sandwiches, fruit smoothies or salads. Many of the coffee shops run as A1 (although many do have A3 use).

  • A2 Financial and professional services: Banks, building societies, estate and employment agencies, betting offices, and other financial and professional services
  • A3 Restaurants and cafés
    Restaurants, snack bars and cafés

Those serving hot food, especially those serving food prepared on the premises. Many of the cafés in the North Laine are in fact A1 (see above). As a use class A3 is the same whether it is for a nice pleasant restaurant or for one which is part of a fast food chain. Once a premises has been granted A3, the use class goes with the premises even if the ownership (and type of restaurant) changes.

  • A4 Drinking establishments: Pubs and bars
  • A5 Hot food take-aways: Take aways
  • B1 Business: Offices, research and development, light industry appropriate in a residential area
  • B2 General industrial
  • B8 Storage and distribution including open-air storage
  • C1 Hotels:  Hotels, boarding and guesthouses where no significant element of care is provided
  • C2 Residential institutions: Residential care homes, hospitals, nursing homes, boarding schools, residential colleges and training centres
  • C3 Dwelling houses: Family houses or houses occupied by up to six residents living together as a single household, including a household where care is provided for residents
  • D1 Non-residential institutions: Surgeries, nurseries, day centres, schools, art galleries, museums, libraries, halls, churches
  • D2 Assembly and leisure: Cinemas, concert halls, bingo and dance halls, casinos, swimming baths, skating rinks, gymnasiums or sports arenas (except for motor sports, or where firearms are used)

Uses for which no classes are specified are known as 'sui generis'. This includes theatres, amusement arcades, launderettes and dry cleaners, car showrooms, taxi or hire car premises, scrap yards, and prisons.

This page was added on 24/02/2008.

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