New Use Classes Categorisation - Watch this Space

Profession:Herbert Smith

The DTLR has recently published a comprehensive review of the existing use classes legislation. The purpose of the review is to examine the Use Classes Order 1987 in terms of its contribution to the delivery of a number of stated planning objectives, namely: Achievement of integrated transportThe efficient use of land and buildingsThe enhancement of the vitality and viability of town centresThe facilitation of economic developmentThe protection of the environmentThe protection of public amenityThe proposals will be subject to a full consultation in due course but the review is now likely to be a point of reference particularly for local authorities, where it can assist in determining what use class particular uses fall within, where this is not clear under the 1987 Order. Good examples are coffee shops and internet cafés. This note is intended to give a brief overview and a useful alert of the findings and consequential proposed changes which are set out in more detail in the table.The main planning objective with regard to the A Use Class is to create “viable and vital town centres”. Activities in this class attracted the most comment e.g. warehouse clubs, sandwich bars, internet cafés, pubs and takeaway facilities. The breadth of activities included in this class is in itself an issue. Each activity often has a different impact, raising issues on traffic, noise, smells and customer activity at unwanted hours. The objective of protecting public amenity is also of particular relevance and the implementation of transport policy is important. A particular emphasis is given to the achievement of integrated transport throughout the review. In this context the aim is to create mixed use centres providing a wide range of uses in one area, resulting in the need for only “one trip”, and at the same time provide public transport to minimise use of private vehicles.It is evident from the proposals (set out in the table) that where planning authorities have identified that public amenity is threatened or transport issues are pertinent, greater control is being imposed. The use of a size threshold (suggested as gross lettable area of 100 sq m) allows freedom to smaller establishments, but at the same time controls activities which could have a larger impact.With regard to the B Use Class the main planning objective is the promotion of economic development. Again, the wide range of activities included in each part of this class potentially enables change...

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