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Date Posted on StartInBusiness.co.uk: 11/12/2005

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Quick Explanation of the Official Classification of Types of Property Usage in the UK

As defined by part of the UK Statutory Instrument 1987 No. 764, The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987

Info for People Who Are Offering or Seeking Commercial Property

If you are selling, leasing, seeking, buying or about to rent a commercial property it is worth taking the time to read the information on this page and the full version of The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (see weblinks at bottom of the article).

Note: In other parts of our website we have taken the official property classification system and used it loosely as a base for the 'type categories' in our classified listings of properties offered and properties wanted. So, please discuss the exact possible uses of properties with the relevant advertisers.

If you are seeking property, this page will help you to understand what types of properties to search for to match your intended use.

If you are offering property, this page will help you to understand what types of potential tenants or buyers are likely to be interested in your property. Thus, allowing you to target your advertising more effectively.

In some circumstances it may be possible to change the official use of a property, but this is at the discretion of the Local Authority Planning Department that has jurisdiction over it. For information and advice on changing the use of a property it is worth discussing your ideas with a local commercial estate agent who has experience in dealing with that particular planning office. They will tell you if your plans match those of the beurocrats and how much chance you have of achieving your goals.

Why Do These Classifications Exist?

Most properties in the UK have their 'nature of use' defined by the local authority that has jurisdiction over them.

A property with A3 usage, for example, can be used for "the sale of food or drink for consumption on the premises or of hot food for consumption off the premises".

This gives local town and country planners a lever that they can use to ensure that their plans for an area are realised. For example, they can reduce the number of late-night revellers in a residential area by ensuring that no commericial properties there have an A3 usage, e.g pubs. They might also want to prevent offices (B1 usage) in that area to ensure that there is more car parking available for residents during the day. Furthermore, they may refuse to allow properties with B7 usage in a housing estate to prevent residents complaining about the smells of boiling tripe or the noise of scraping fish skins. :o)

On a serious note, the explosions at the Buncefield fuel depot near Hemel Hempstead (11 Dec 2005) highlight the importance of ensuring that certain business activities are restricted to specific locations.

Uses for which no classes are specified are known as 'sui generis'.

Use Classes and Their Meanings

PART A
    Class A1. Shops
    Use for all or any of the following purposes—
       (a) for the retail sale of goods other than hot food,
       (b) as a post office,
       (c) for the sale of tickets or as a travel agency,
       (d) for the sale of sandwiches or other cold food for consumption off the premises,
       (e) for hairdressing,
       (f) for the direction of funerals,
       (g) for the display of goods for sale,
       (h) for the hiring out of domestic or personal goods or articles,
       (i) for the reception of goods to be washed, cleaned or repaired,
    where the sale, display or service is to visiting members of the public.
    Class A2. Financial and professional services
    Use for the provision of —
       (a) financial services, or
       (b) professional services (other than health or medical services), or
       (c) any other services (including use as a betting office) which it is appropriate to provide in a shopping area,
    where the services are provided principally to visiting members of the public.
    Class A3. Food and drink
    Use for the sale of food or drink for consumption on the premises or of hot food for consumption off the premises.


PART B
    Class B1. Business
    Use for all or any of the following purposes—
       (a) as an office other than a use within class A2 (financial and professional services),
       (b) for research and development of products or processes, or
       (c) for 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.
    Class B2. General industrial
    Use for the carrying on of an industrial process other than one falling within class B1 above or within classes B3 to B7 below.
    Class B3. Special Industrial Group A
    Use for any work registrable under the Alkali, etc. Works Regulation Act 1906[5](a) and which is not included in any of classes B4 to B7 below.
    Class B4. Special Industrial Group B
    Use for any of the following processes, except where the process is ancillary to the getting, dressing or treatment of minerals and is carried on in or adjacent to a quarry or mine:—
       (a) smelting, calcining, sintering or reducing ores, minerals, concentrates or mattes;
       (b) converting, refining, re-heating, annealing, hardening, melting, carburising, forging or casting metals or alloys other than pressure die-casting;
       (c) recovering metal from scrap or drosses or ashes;
       (d) galvanizing;
       (e) pickling or treating metal in acid;
       (f) chromium plating.
    Class B5. Special Industrial Group C
    Use for any of the following processes, except where the process is ancillary to the getting, dressing or treatment of minerals and is carried on in or adjacent to a quarry or mine:—
       (a) burning bricks or pipes;
       (b) burning lime or dolomite;
       (c) producing zinc oxide, cement or alumina;
       (d) foaming, crushing, screening or heating minerals or slag;
       (e) processing pulverized fuel ash by heat;
       (f) producing carbonate of lime or hydrated lime;
       (g) producing inorganic pigments by calcining, roasting or grinding.
    Class B6. Special Industrial Group D
    Use for any of the following processes:—
       (a) distilling, refining or blending oils (other than petroleum or petroleum products);
       (b) producing or using cellulose or using other pressure sprayed metal finishes (other than in vehicle repair workshops in connection with minor repairs, or the application of plastic powder by the use of fluidised bed and electrostatic spray techniques);
       (c) boiling linseed oil or running gum;
       (d) processes involving the use of hot pitch or bitumen (except the use of bitumen in the manufacture of roofing felt at temperatures not exceeding 220°C and also the manufacture of coated roadstone);
       (e) stoving enamelled ware;
       (f) producing aliphatic esters of the lower fatty acids, butyric acid, caramel, hexamine, iodoform, napthols, resin products (excluding plastic moulding or extrusion operations and producing plastic sheets, rods, tubes, filaments, fibres or optical components produced by casting, calendering, moulding, shaping or extrusion), salicylic acid or sulphonated organic compounds;
       (g) producing rubber from scrap;
       (h) chemical processes in which chlorphenols or chlorcresols are used as intermediates;
       (i) manufacturing acetylene from calcium carbide;
       (j) manufacturing, recovering or using pyridine or picolines, any methyl or ethyl amine or acrylates.
    Class B7. Special Industrial Group E
    Use for carrying on any of the following industries, businesses or trades:—

    Boiling blood, chitterlings, nettlings or soap.

    Boiling, burning, grinding or steaming bones.

    Boiling or cleaning tripe.

    Breeding maggots from putrescible animal matter.

    Cleaning, adapting or treating animal hair.

    Curing fish.

    Dealing in rags and bones (including receiving, storing, sorting or manipulating rags in, or likely to become in, an offensive condition, or any bones, rabbit skins, fat or putrescible animal products of a similar nature).

    Dressing or scraping fish skins.

    Drying skins.

    Making manure from bones, fish, offal, blood, spent hops, beans or other putrescible animal or vegetable matter.

    Making or scraping guts.

    Manufacturing animal charcoal, blood albumen, candles, catgut, glue, fish oil, size or feeding stuff for animals or poultry from meat, fish, blood, bone, feathers, fat or animal offal either in an offensive condition or subjected to any process causing noxious or injurious effluvia.

    Melting, refining or extracting fat or tallow.

    Preparing skins for working.
    Class B8. Storage or distribution
    Use for storage or as a distribution centre.


PART C
    Class C1. Hotels and hostels
    Use as a hotel, boarding or guest house or as a hostel where, in each case, no significant element of care is provided.
    Class C2. Residential institutions
    Use for the provision of residential accommodation and care to people in need of care (other than a use within class C3 (dwelling houses)).

    Use as a hospital or nursing home.

    Use as a residential school, college or training centre.
    Class C3. Dwellinghouses
    Use as a dwellinghouse (whether or not as a sole or main residence) —
       (a) by a single person or by people living together as a family, or
       (b) by not more than 6 residents living together as a single household (including a household where care is provided for residents).
PART D

    Class D1. Non-residential institutions
    Any use not including a residential use —
       (a) for the provision of any medical or health services except the use of premises attached to the residence of the consultant or practioner,
       (b) as a crêche, day nursery or day centre,
       (c) for the provision of education,
       (d) for the display of works of art (otherwise than for sale or hire),
       (e) as a museum,
       (f) as a public library or public reading room,
       (g) as a public hall or exhibition hall,
       (h) for, or in connection with, public worship or religious instruction.
    Class D2. Assembly and leisure
    Use as —
       (a) a cinema,
       (b)>t3>a concert hall, 
       (c) a bingo hall or casino,
       (d) a dance hall,
       (e) a swimming bath, skating rink, gymnasium or area for other indoor or outdoor sports or recreations, not involving motorised vehicles or firearms. 

Copyright and Source of this Information

The "Use Classes and Their Meanings" part of this page is copied from part of the UK Statutory Instrument 1987 No. 764, The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (page 2). The instrument is © Crown Copyright 1987, so, if you copy it, you must ensure that it is accurate and make the source and copyright evident to users.

To see the full and original text, go to: http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si1987/Uksi_19870764_en_2.htm
Read the first page of the instrument here:
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si1987/Uksi_19870764_en_1.htm



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last modified: December 11th, 2005