Significant changes to the English planning system

Significant changes to the English planning system

On the 1st of September 2020, there were significant changes to the English planning system.

In this blog the adjustments will be listed, as well as why they have been made and what these changes mean for the dental industry.

So, what are the significant changes to the English planning system?

The new changes modernise the old class system of grounds. Before, there were 17 different classes. However, this has now been reduced to just three:

Class E:

Commercial, business and service, this includes:

  • Retail,
  • Indoor sports
  • Nurseries
  • Restaurants
  • Offices
  • Financial/professional services
  • Dental and medical clinics.

Class F.1:

Learning and non-residential institutions, this includes:

  • Non-residential educational uses
  • Public halls
  • Religious institutions
  • Museums
  • Art galleries
  • Libraries
  • Courts of law

Class F.2:

Local community, this includes:

  • The use as a shop of no more than 280 sqm mostly selling essentials such as food, and 1km or more from another similar store
  • Use as a community hall
  • Area for outdoor sport

Why have these revisions happened?

The shifts in classes have mainly been brought in because of the shutting down of many of our high street shops. This is because of the result of being hit badly by multiple national lockdowns. However, now vacant building spaces can be repurposed, and the space will not go to spare.

Therefore, this way, less companies will need to apply for a change of use as more businesses now fall under the same classifications.

So what do these changes mean for dentists now?

The most notable change is the design of a new “Commercial, Business and Service” also known as “Class E”. So, class E groups together a wide range of uses, all of which are now deemed to be in the same use class:

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

Therefore, planning permission is no longer required for changes of use within the same class. For instance, a dental surgery can now be unveiled in any of the property areas mentioned above devoid of the need for change of use to the prior D1 category.

So, this is a good change of legislation and many industries including the dental sector will profit from the new class.

From now, this now means it’s a far smoother shift to start up or open a dental clinic in an current premises than it was ever before.

Contact Us

If you want to learn more about the significant changes to the English planning system, then please get in touch. Give us a call on 01494 611 456, or send an email to

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