Skip to main content

A1 Use Class – Retail and Shops

The A1 use class (generally known as general retail) includes shops, retail warehouses, hairdressers, undertakers, travel and ticket agencies, post offices and many more.

Class A1 – Retail and Shops

Retail A1 (generally known as general retail) includes shops, retail warehouses, hairdressers, undertakers, travel and ticket agencies, post offices, pet shops, sandwich bars, showrooms, domestic hire shops, dry cleaners, funeral directors and internet cafes. NB: See also the other uses including A2, A3, A4, A5

The A1 planning use category is a key part of villages, towns and cities and continues to undergo change, with different forces impacting on the viability and vitality of the Class A1 and the retail sector as a whole. Internet shopping, business rates, changing lifestyles and the regeneration of many places each have their own impacts.

At Plande, we have been involved with many aspects of the A1 use category from creating new premises (either as stand alone or as part of a wider mixed use development) or changing from an A1 use (for example to other business or residential uses) where such spaces are deemed no longer viable.


Permitted Development Change of or to an A1 Use

While many changes of use (especially if building works are incorporated) will require planning approval, there are many changes that can be done under permitted development (or Prior Approval). NB: Specialist advice and clarification from the LPA should be sought before any works are carried out.


England - A1 Use class

In England, from 1st September 2020, changes were made to the Use Classes Order. All “A” classes are now revoked, with the previous A1 Use, generally incorporated within Class E (Commercial, Business & Service).

In addition, shops selling essential goods may also fall under Class F2 (local community).

Wales & Northern Ireland - A1 Use class

This use class is applicable in Wales and Northern Ireland although the specific allowable inclusions or exclusions, as well as allowable permitted development changes of use, may vary from those stated above.

Scotland - Retail A1

In Scotland, Class 1 relates to Shops and includes for the retail sale of goods other than hot food; post office; the sale of tickets; travel agency; sale of cold food for consumption off the premises; hairdressing; the direction of funerals; the display of goods for sale; the hiring out of domestic or personal goods or articles; launderette or dry cleaners; the reception of goods to be washed, cleaned or repaired; where the sale, display or service is principally to visiting members of the public.

Disclaimer: This page provides an introduction only and is not a definitive statement of the law and should therefore not be relied upon. The information above relates to England only. Policies across the rest of the UK may differ. Contact your Local Planning Authority for advice and confirmation before any works are carried out. All images used are for illustrative purposes only. Read the full disclaimer here.

Get in touch

Whether you need an expert on your team to secure permission for a major mixed-use scheme or a unique self-build home, our fresh planning insights will help you achieve your goal.