Important Changes to Commercial Property Classification
December 18, 2020 No Comments

Important Changes to Commercial Property Classification


Posted by Mario Theodorou in Blog

The need to reinvigorate the High Street, coupled with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, has led one of the biggest shake-ups of the commercial property sector in recent history. The UK Government has now changed the classification system to allow businesses to switch categories without the need to apply for planning permission.

Here, Maunder Taylor, who offer commercial properties to rent in Totteridge, Whetstone, Potters Bar and the surrounding area, explain the differences – and why we should be your first port of call if you are looking to let or buy any type of business premises in the area.

The New E Category

The new E category now covers buildings which are used for Commercial, Business and Service purposes. Any premises which fall within this category are interchangeable, which means that an office can be turned into a shop, a gym or a bank – and back again, without the need to apply for planning permission. There is no geographical restriction either, so the category applies to out-of-town shopping centres as well as traditional high streets.

Here are the old categories which now fall within the new E classification.

A1 Shops – This category covered post offices, showrooms, funeral directors and retail warehouses. Stores which sold mostly essential goods, with a floor space under 280 m2 and with no other similar facilities within 1,000 metres, could fall under a different local community category (F) in order to protect vital community services.

A2 Financial and Professional Services – This class included banks, building societies and estate agents (but not betting shops or payday loans premises).

A3 Food and Drink – This included all restaurants and cafes, pubs (where the business is food-led) and shops selling hot food.

B1 Business – This previously covered offices which weren’t usually visited by members of the public, laboratories, high-tech and light industries which didn’t have any ‘adverse impact on the neighbourhood’, plus research and development studios.

D1 Non-residential institutions – Places of worship, churches and public halls all fell within this category. It also covered healthcare locations such as clinics, health centres and consulting rooms, as well as crèches and day nurseries.

D2 Assembly and Leisure – This classification incorporated skating rinks and gyms. As with shops, some of these may fall into Category F due to their community use.

Sui Generis

This is a term which, translated from the Latin, means ‘in a class by itself’. Any property types which now fall into this category will still require planning permission for a change of use. Under the new regulations, this now includes:

  • Public houses, wine bars, and any drinking establishment which is not ‘food-led’. Previously these were in category A4;
  • Hot food takeaways, which used to be in class A5; and
  • Cinemas, concert halls and other live music venues, and bingo and dance halls.

Commercial Properties to Rent from Maunder Taylor

Maunder Taylor is a long-established partnership of Chartered Surveyors, estate agents, managing agents and property insurance intermediaries. We have a number of commercial properties to rent in the Totteridge area and we can also help you if you are looking to buy premises outright or in partnership with others.

We are highly experienced in the field of commercial property investment in the North London area and can recommend premises to prospective customers who may be looking to purchase property as an investment. Our properties typically yield a net rate of return of around 7-8% per annum.

We can also take on the managerial responsibilities for our clients. In these cases, the question of ownership is dealt with via a system of shares in each property.

If you would like to know more about our commercial property investment services, follow this link or give us a call on 020 8492 5526.