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On 1st September 2020, significant changes were introduced to the English planning system through the new Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020. 

What’s changed in the classification system?

The new regulations simplify the old categorisation of premises – from 17 classes to just three:

  1. Class E
    (Commercial, business and service) – including retail, restaurants, offices, financial/professional services, indoor sports, dental and medical clinics and nurseries.

  2. Class F.1
    (Learning and non-residential institutions) – including non-residential educational uses, museums, art galleries, libraries, public halls, religious institutions and courts of law.

  3. Class F.2
    (Local community) – including use as a shop of no more than 280 sqm mostly selling essentials like food and 1km+ from another similar store, or use as a community hall, area for outdoor sport, swimming pool or skating rink.


Why have the changes been brought in?

These changes in classification have mainly been introduced to enable easier repurposing of buildings on our high streets, where changes in retail have led to many buildings standing empty.

With more business uses coming under the same category, it means that far fewer businesses will need to apply for a change of use when taking over a new premises.


What do these changes mean for the dental profession?

The most significant change is the creation of a new “Commercial, Business and Service” use known as “Class E”. This brackets together a wide variety of uses, all of which are now considered to be in the same use class:

– Retail
– Restaurants
– Financial, professional or other commercial services
– Publicly accessible indoor sport, recreation or fitness
– Publicly available medical or health services
– Crèches, day nurseries and day centres
– Offices, including research and development
– Industrial uses which do not harm amenity

As planning permission is not needed for changes of use within the same class, a dental surgery can now be opened up in any of the former property spaces listed above without obtaining permission.

This means it is now a lot quicker and easier to open a dental or medical clinic in an existing property than before.

If you are interested in opening a new clinic, the Apollo team is here to help.
Get in touch with us to discuss your project.

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