Following new legislation introduced by the Government, a number of key changes have been brought in that affects property use classes. Those properties previously grouped together as D1 or D2 use are amongst those more significantly affected. As in all changes, there will be wrinkles to be ironed out in understanding how certain buildings fit into the new categories. In combination with Rapleys planning sector, we will be able to help clients with this substantial modification. 

New Planning Use classes

The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Regulations 2020 amend the previous categories from those of 1987 and introduce significant changes to the system of ‘use classes’.

In force from 1 September 2020, subject to certain transitional provisions, the core changes introduce three new use classes for the classification of uses of property.

Class E (Commercial, business and service): including retail, restaurant, office, financial/professional services, indoor sports, medical and nursery uses along with “any other services which it is appropriate to provide in a commercial, business or service locality.”

Class F.1 (Learning and non-residential institutions): including non-residential educational uses, and use as a museum, art gallery, library, public hall, religious institution or law court.

Class F.2 (Local community): including use as a shop of no more than 280 sq m mostly selling essential goods, including food and at least 1km from another similar shop, and use as a community hall, area for outdoor sport, swimming pool or skating rink.

Of particular interest to Charities and Not For Profit organisations is the deletion of the previous Classes D1 and D2, non-residential institutions and assembly and leisure uses respectively. They are both removed for the introduction of Class E which covers a wide range of uses such as retail, food, financial services, gyms, healthcare, nurseries, offices and light industrial use. A change of use within the same use class does not constitute development and therefore does not require planning permission, so more mixed-use and/or faster and more flexible changes of use should be possible in the future.

Charities Act Reports

In addition to the development consultancy and currently very active agency work of the Rapleys Not for Profit sector, we are authors of a great many Charities Act Reports for many clients. Each time a charity disposes of property, whether it is the sale or for leases of over seven years, a Charities Act Report has to be written by a qualified surveyor. This report includes a valuation and a wider consideration of the circumstances that may be considered at first by the charities trustees. The report will represent the independent verification that the asset is disposed of in a manner that is in the organisations best interests and with appropriate marketing and publicity. A key point is that the surveyor undertaking the valuation is qualified, independent, and objective. Rapleys are able to maintain the independence and objectivity with a number of qualified surveyors registered as valuers by the RICS within the Charities Sector.

Our recent register of Charities Act reports has included:

  • Former charity school
  • Vicarage
  • Community hall
  • Church
  • Agricultural land
  • Town centre retail outlet

It is advisable for charities to have the surveyors professional advice from a Charities Act report when acquiring new property, but this is not a legal requirement.

Properties currently on the market

Recently brought to market where interest so far has not been encumbered by the lockdown, or the general status of the market and economy are six sites.

To view properties currently on the market please click here. [PDF link to properties]

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