Use Class E

Class E Planning was recently introduced in England to create a more flexible use.

Class E - Commercial, Business and Service

Use Class E Planning broadly incorporate the previous A1, A2, A3, B1, and part of both D1 and D2 uses and creates a more flexible use, in England only, generally incorporating:

  • (a) for the display or retail sale of goods, other than hot food, principally to visiting members of the public,
  • (b) for the sale of food and drink principally to visiting members of the public where consumption of that food and drink is mostly undertaken on the premises,
  • (c) for the provision of the following kinds of services principally to visiting members of the public—
    • (i) financial services,
    • (ii) professional services (other than health or medical services), or
    • (iii) any other services which it is appropriate to provide in a commercial, business or service locality,

    (d) for indoor sport, recreation or fitness, not involving motorised vehicles or firearms, principally to visiting members of the public,

    (e) for the provision of medical or health services, principally to visiting members of the public, except the use of premises attached to the residence of the consultant or practitioner,

    (f) for a creche, day nursery or day centre, not including a residential use, principally to visiting members of the public,

    (g) for—

    • (i) an office to carry out any operational or administrative functions,
    • (ii) the research and development of products or processes, or
    • (iii) any industrial process,
    • being a use, which can be carried out 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.

Change of use – Class E

The key benefit is that it facilitates a variety of uses within 1 use class and therefore without the need for planning permission for a change of use.

The use class doesn’t incorporate all of the previous A classes, with A4 (Drinking Establishments) and A5 (Hot Food Takeaways) being class as Sui Generis. Any changes of use to or from such uses, to a Use Class E would therefore still require planning consent.

Permitted Development Under Class E

The amendments to the use class order have created confusion and a lack of clarity as to whether permission is required. Also whether some changes of use to or from Class E are permitted development or require approval. As ever, the devil is in the detail! Plande will review your specific requirements against the plethora of, seemingly regularly changing rules and regulations.

Where previous uses fell into now deleted use classes, these generally become the new class. As such they don’t really fall into the context of class e permitted development. However, not all changes are allowed. For example, where previous approvals restricted or limited particular uses, it may mean that a change is not permitted development. Advice should be sought accordingly.

A Certificate of Lawfulness and/or Prior Approval applications can confirm that such changes to, or from Use Class E are permitted development, or do not require planning consent.


At Plande, we have been involved with a variety of commercial, business and service projects, which now fall under Class E Planning, including new build, extensions and mixed-use buildings comprising multiple uses.

Please see the relevant sector pages for more information relating to specific elements.


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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