Use Class E (Commercial, Business and Service)

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

Use Class E (Commercial, Business and Service)

Use Class E (Commercial, Business, and Service) 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 – Use Class E

The key benefit of Use Class E 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.

Use Class E Permitted Development

The amendments to the use class order has created confusion and a lack of clarity as to whether permission is required or whether some change of use to Use Class E are permitted development.

Where previous uses fell into the, now deleted, use classes, generally these automatically become the new class and as such 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 to class e is not permitted development. Advice should be sought accordingly.

There are instances where permanent or temporary changes would fall under use class e permitted development.

A lawful development certificate can confirm that such changes to Use Class E are permitted development.

Use class E examples

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

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


We have been involved with a range of different locations in relation to the B1 use class including within urban areas – Town Centres, edge of town centres etc as well as other locations such as out of centre and rural locations.

Whether the project is for a sole B1 use class or a mixed-use, a separate building or part of a larger development or a single storey detached ancillary building all the way to a high-rise office block, Plande can help you to achieve planning permission for your B1 use class project – contact us today to discuss how we can help.


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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