Changes afoot on the High Street?
14 May 2019
For some time we have been battling with the questions around when does a restaurant (A3) become a bar (A4), and when does a coffee shop (A1) become a café (A3)
The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 puts uses of land and building into various categories known as “Use Classes”. Just as businesses are generally required to seek planning permission for any development works they want to undertake, it is also necessary to obtain planning permission to change the use of a premises from one class to another. There are some exceptions, where the legislation allows for a change between uses, or permits some development without the need for a full planning application.
Most readers will be familiar with the legislation, but it has been amended many times over the years, so it’s worth monitoring proposed revisions and considering their potential impact. On the 3 May, the Government published its response to the consultation on the use classes order and the permitted development rights. This confirms the Government “intend to amend the shops use class to ensure it captures current and future retail models, which will include clarification on the ability of the A use classes to diversify and incorporate ancillary uses without undermining the amenity of the area”.
Quite how this will pan out is not clear. For some time we have been battling with the questions around when does a restaurant (A3) become a bar (A4), and when does a coffee shop (A1) become a café (A3). Hopefully the amendments will provide greater clarity and flexibility. It’s not clear when the new legislation will be implemented, but our eagle-eyed leisure team will be keeping a close watch on developments. If you would like to discuss primary versus ancillary uses, and flexible and viable High Streets, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.