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A4 Use Class – Drinking Establishments

The A4 Use Class relates to drinking establishment premises, for example, public house (pub), wine bar or other drinking establishments.

A4 Use Class – Drinking Establishments

The A4 Use Class relates to drinking establishment premises, for example, public house (pub), wine bar or other drinking establishments.

Nightclubs are not included within the use class and would normally be Sui Generis.

This is a relatively new class, in England, created in a change to the use classes order, splitting the original A3 use into three separate uses, A3,  A5 and A4 Use Class.

While this currently does not apply in Wales, recent consultations have sought a similar splitting of the A3 use to create effectively an A4 Use Class like England.

Changes in consumer spending and high street trends and changes mean such A4 Use Class can be popular within existing facilities with dual uses (i.e. café’s/ coffee shops) in the daytime and an A4 Use Class at night-time. While such use can make the premises more efficient and viable with alternative uses when otherwise the premises would be shut, this can create complex issues and requires careful consideration and advice should be sought accordingly.


Change of use from A4 Use Class to dwelling houses.

With the closure of many Public Houses in recent times there are many which have been changed into dwelling houses.

Particularly in a rural area such conversions can have a significant detrimental impact on the committee.

As such it some premises (and other suitable land or buildings) have received or are able to receive protection as Assets of Community Value or Local Authorities have introduced Article 4 Directions preventing such changes in use.

This is a very complex area of law and appropriate advice should be taken accordingly.


A4 Use Class planning permission for Drinking Establishments

With changes, in 2017, to the Permitted Development regulations, there are now only limited opportunities for permitted development change of use, primarily linked to an expanded food provision service.

As such the majority of new A4 Use Class facilities will need to submit a planning application in order to obtain planning approval.


England - A4 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 A4 Use (Drinking Establishments) now classed as Sui Generis  (drinking establishments) – public house, wine bar, drinking establishment, or drinking establishment with expanded food provision.

Wales - Drinking Establishments

In Wales, Drinking Establishments fall under an A3 Use Class. For more information please see here.

Northern Ireland & Scotland

In Northern Ireland and Scotland, drinking establishments are classed as a Sui Generis use.

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.

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