In many cases involving similar types of use, a change of use of a building or land does not need planning permission. Planning permission is not needed when both the present and proposed uses fall within the same 'class', or if the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 specifies that a change of class is permitted to another specified class (see table below).

For example, a hairdressers could be changed to a shoe shop without permission as these uses fall within the same 'class', and a restaurant could be changed to a shop or a estate agency as the Use Class Order allows this type of change to occur without requiring planning permission.

Most external building work associated with a change of use is likely to require planning permission.

From

To

A2 (professional and financial services) when premises have a display window at ground level

A1 (shop)

A3 (food and drink)

A1 or A2

B1 (business) (permission limited to change of use relating to not more than 500 square metres of floor space)

B8 (storage and distribution)

B2 (general industrial)

B1 (business)

B2 (general industrial) (permission limited to change of use relating to not more than 500 square metres of floor space)

B8 (storage and distribution)

B8 (storage and distribution) (permission limited to change of use relating to not more than 500 square metres of floor space)

B1 (business)

C4 (houses in multiple occupation)

C3 (dwellinghouse)

Sui Generis - Car showrooms only

A1 Shop

Additionally, a planning application is not required for change of use in the following circumstances:

  • from A1 or A2 to A1 plus a single flat above
  • from A2 to A2 plus a single flat above.

These changes are reversible without an application only if the part that is now a flat was, respectively, in either A1 or A2 use immediately before it became a flat.