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Andrew Granger & Co tells us why it has never been easier to change the use of a building or business in a town centre

Tue 4 August 2020

Recently the government announced radical changes to the Use Class Order, which will provide increased flexibility to change uses within town centres without the need to obtain planning permission.

The idea being that this will help our high streets and town centres to provide more space for new businesses and help them to adapt quickly to what consumers and businesses need.

The changes include the new Class E which will replace the following existing use classes:

-          Class A1 – shops

-          Class A2 – financial and professional services

-          Class A3 – restaurants and cafes

-          Class B1 – business

So, as of 1st September 2020, when the changes come into force, land or buildings within the above use classes will not need to obtain planning permission for changes within the new Use Class E.

Along with this the new laws will deliver much-needed new homes and revitalise town centres across England, according to Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick.

The new rules will mean full planning applications will not be required to demolish and rebuild unused buildings as homes, and commercial and retail properties can be quickly repurposed to help revive our high streets and town centres.

Homeowners will also be able to add up to two additional storeys to their town centre home to create new homes or more living space for growing families through a fast track approval process, still ensuring that the impact on neighbours and the appearance of the planned extension are carefully considered.

The thought is that this will reduce pressure to build on greenfield sites and deliver more homes that fit the character of their local area, without the red tape.

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, said: “We are reforming the planning system and cutting out unnecessary bureaucracy to give small business owners the freedom they need to adapt and evolve, and to renew our town centres with new enterprises and more housing.

These changes will help transform boarded up, unused buildings safely into high quality homes at the heart of their communities. It will mean that families can add up to two storeys to their home, providing much needed additional space for children or elderly relatives as their household grows.”

For further information and a detailed breakdown of the changes please call Andrew Granger & Co’s planning team on 01858 439090 who will be happy to offer advice.