Whatever type of commercial property in London you may be looking for, please see below a Use Class Guide detailing the classifications of the various types of commercial property.

Summary Guide to Use Classes Order and Permitted Changes of Use

Use Classes OrderInc. 2005 Amendment (See note 1) Use Classes Order 1972 Description General Permitted Development (Amendment) Order 2005 (see note 2)
A1 Shops (see note 3) Class I Shops, Retail Warehouses,
Hairdressers, Undertakers,
Travel & Ticket Agencies,
Post Offices, Dry cleaners,
Internet Cafes etc.
No permitted changes

Pet Shops, Cat-meat shops, Tripe shops, Sandwich bars,
Showrooms, Domestic hire shops, Funeral directors

No permitted changes

A2 Financial and Professional
Services (see note 3)
Class II Banks, Building Societies, Estate & Employment Agencies, Professional & Financial Services, Betting Offices Permitted change to A1 where a ground floor display window exists
A3 Restaurants & Cafes Restaurants, Snack Bars, Cafes Permitted change to
A1 or A2
A4 Drinking Establishments Pubs or bars Permitted change to A1, A2 or A3
A5 Hot Food Takeaways Hot food takeaways Permitted change to A1, A2 or A3
Sui Generis (see note 4) Shops selling and/or Displaying Motor Vehicles, Retail Warehouse Clubs, Launderettes, Taxi or Vehicle Hire Businesses, Amusement Centres, Petrol Filling Stations No permitted changes
B1 Business (see note 5) Class II
Offices, not within A2 Permitted change to B8 where no more than 235m2
(b) Research and Development, Studios, Laboratories, High Technology Permitted change to B8 where no more than 235m2
Class III
Light Industry Permitted change to B8 where no more than 235m2
B2 General Industry (see note 6) Class IV-IX General Industry Permitted change to B1 or B8 B8 limited to no more than 235m2
B8 Storage or Distribution Class X Wholesale Warehouses, Distribution Centres, Repositories Permitted change to B1 where no more than 235m2
Sui Generis Any works registerable under the Alkali, etc. Works Regulation Act 1906 No Permitted change
C1 Hotels (see note 7) Class XI Hotels, Boarding and Guest Houses No Permitted change
C2 Residential Institutions Class XII Residential Schools and Colleges No Permitted change
Class XIV Hospitals and Convalescent / Nursing homes No Permitted change
C3 Dwelling Houses (see note 8) Dwellings, small businesses at home, communal housing of elderly and handicapped people No Permitted change
Sui Generis Sui Generis No Permitted change
D1 Non-residential Institutions Class XIII Places of Worship, Church Halls No Permitted change
Class XV Clinics, Health Centres, Crèches, Day Nurseries, Consulting Rooms No Permitted change
Class XVI Museums, Public Halls, Libraries, Art Galleries, Exhibition Halls No Permitted change
Non – residential Education and Training Centres No Permitted change
D2 Assembly and Leisure Class XVII Cinemas, Music and Concert Halls No Permitted change
Class XVIII Dance, Sports Halls, Swimming Baths, Skating Rinks, Gymnasiums No Permitted change
Other Indoor and Outdoor Sports and Leisure Uses, Bingo Halls, Casinos No Permitted change
Sui Generis (See note 4) Class XVII Theatres, Night-Clubs No Permitted change


  1. The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 is the principle order which has been subject to a number of subsequent amendments. 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. The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Amendment (England) Order 2005 introduced new A4 and A5 classes and placed motor car showrooms and night clubs in Sui Generis category.
  2. The permitted development rights shown in the final column do not require planning permission where all the criteria set out in the order are met and no restrictive conditions apply.
  3. The General Permitted Development Order 1995 provides for 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 Use 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 defined as a hotel or a boarding or guesthouse 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.
  11. The above is intended as a general guide only. Reference must be made in the final instance to the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, as amended the Use Classes (Amendment) Order 2005, and General Permitted Development (Amendment) Order 2005 and written confirmation obtained from the Local Planning Authority that no consent is required.


With over 40 years experience in providing expert advice in the acquisition, disposal, rent reviews, lease renewals & dilapidation issues of office suites/buildings and in London.


48 Charles Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 5EN


 020 7499 6070




Simon Korn

  • 020 7499 6070
  • info@simonkorn.co.uk


© Simon Korn 2024. Blog and Privacy Policy