Changes to the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order

United Kingdom

Changes to the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 will be introduced this summer. These changes have been introduced following a public consultation procedure ending in April 2002.

Under the existing system pubs, restaurants and takeaways have had the same classification making it possible for them to change to one of the other uses without planning permission. The consultation process revealed concerns about the impact on local amenity caused by takeaways and their customers. There is also no clear existing category for nightclubs. The Government feels that the impact on amenity of nightclubs is distinct and different from other uses so should have its own classification.

The new system aims to give local authorities more control over town centre activities by being able to prevent, for example, restaurants from being able to change into pubs or takeaways.


Internet cafes will be classed as A1 use.


The present A3 class will be split into: A3 - restaurants and cafes (it will no longer be possible, under A3, to sell hot food for consumption off the premises); A4 - pubs and bars; and A5 – takeaways (it is thought that this will be defined along the lines of the sale of hot food for consumption off the premises).


A new class D3 (late night leisure) will be introduced which will apply to nightclubs. Planning permission will be required for any change of use from or to a D3 classification.

A change of use from A3 to A1 or A2 will be permitted as will a change from A4 and A5 to A1, A2 or A3. Any other change will require planning permission.

At this stage, there is no further information available as to what constitutes, for example, a takeaway or late night leisure. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has confirmed that further information will not be made available until shortly before the order comes into force this summer.

This note is not exhaustive and is intended only as a general overview of the changes.

For more information please contact Tony Kitson, a partner in the planning team at CMS Cameron McKenna, at

[email protected]