The ‘Classes’ of potential uses are divided into groups. For example, the uses falling under Part A are types of professional service provided to the public and business communities, including the sale of goods or service in shops. Each Part is further divided into sub-groups, which each then contains the specific uses the law is actually concerned with. Each of the subgroups is assigned a letter (from A to D) and a number, creating for example a ‘Class A1 Use’, a ‘Class B3 Use’, etc.

The Regulations amend Part B (and its associated Use Class) (the “Original Use Classes”) of the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (the “1987 Order”) and revokes Parts A and D (and their associated Original Use Classes) of the 1987 Order. The Regulation also introduces three new use classes (the “New Use Classes”), Class E, Class F.1 and Class F.2

From 1 September 2020, where a building or other land is being used for a purpose falling within one of the Original Use Classes, that building or other land will be treated as if it is being used for the corresponding New Use Class. New planning applications (including variations and reserved matters approvals) will also be determined by reference to the New Use Classes.

The Original Use Classes will remain relevant for certain “change of use” permitted development rights until 31 July 2021 and there are also some transitional provisions in the Regulations (“Transitional Provisions”) relating to permitted development prior approvals and planning applications or Article 4 Directions made before 1 September 2020 and the uses or Use Classes that apply to those. The Transitional Provisions will remain in place until 31 July 2021.

(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

(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.

(Local community) – including use as a shop of no more than 280 sqm 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.

You give us your specific property requirements and we go out into the market to source you a property that matches. We will introduce off market and marketed properties to you. If you like any of the properties, you let us know and we will arrange a viewing for you. If you would like to make an offer, we will advise and negotiate the terms on your behalf and get the heads of terms agreed. The heads of terms are the basics of the deal and we hand these over to your solicitor to prepare the legal paperwork.

You are free to work with more than one agent or search for properties yourself. We only ask that if we are the first to introduce a property, you pursue it through us.

Our standard fees are 2% of the Purchase price or 10% of the annual rent, depending on whether it’s a freehold or leasehold opportunity.

Our services are free initially, a fee will only become due if we are successful in introducing you to a property which you acquire.

Yes, we can get involved once you have found a property or attend auctions with you. However, we charge a different fee for this work.

We don’t deal with any other property type, so we have a firm grasp of what’s available at all times. As we are looking at the whole market new sites a brought to our attention weekly.

We can’t guarantee any specific timeframe as it depends on the specific requirement and the location. We’ve had clients that we’ve worked with for a matter of weeks but others where it’s taken well over a year.

We are not region specific and as such have clients and contacts all over the UK.

Yes, we will attend viewings to see the site with you in most circumstances.

Yes, we specialise in change of use applications to D1. Please get in contact to discuss the process as it can vary depending on the property.

For leasehold properties the industry standard is a quarter rent upfront and a quarters rent to be held as a deposit. This will vary depending on the covenant strength of the organisation.

For purchases most banks will not lend more than 70% towards the purchase meaning the church will need to have at least 30% of the purchase price saved.

Covenant strength is basically an assessment of the strength of a potential tenant before agreeing terms to rent out a commercial property.  In other words, the landlord will want to assess your financial stability and profitability by looking at your accounts and taking up references.  The landlord will be making an assessment of your track record and whether your business can realistically afford the rent.

There is no guarantee the change of use will be granted. We can make assessments based on the type of property and location but ultimately an application must be submitted to find out. The council can’t make a decision until they see the actual plans, drawings and details of what you intend to do to the building and how the change of use will affect the community.

Depending on the complexity of the project the preparation of the application documents can take up to 6 weeks. The official process upon submission of the application is 8-10 weeks. However, in our experience most councils have a back log and take slightly longer. If permission is refused you also have a number of opportunities to appeal the decision and make changes. It is important to note there is no guarantee the council will grant the permission.

It is a breach of planning law to use a building for a use outside its specified use class. The council can serve an Enforcement Notice on the premises, which will require you to stop any activity that does not fall under the use class the building currently has. Should this be ignored further you could face large fines or be prosecuted.

Contact a planning consultant immediately to take proper advice on your next course of action.