Some of the most fundamental changes are being made to the planning system and one of those is the rather complicated Change of Use Classes coming into effect from 1 September 2020 under The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020.
Most of the change is designed to reignite the high street and town centres by allowing greater flexibility to change use without planning permission, though this could have the opposite impact on the education sector.
In summary, there are three additional Use Classes, namely a new Class E (commercial, business and service), Class F1 (learning and non-residential institutions) and F2 (local community). The changes will see the end of Classes A, B1 and D as these are swept under the new Classes. There are no changes to Classes B2, B8, C and sui generis, though the latter use will be broader.
This means for schools, what is currently classified as Class D1 will be classified as Class F1. But bear in mind that crèches and day nurseries that currently fall under Class D1 will fall under the new Class E unless the nursery is considered “ancillary” to the school. Whilst the changes will be welcomed by many high street retailers, we would query whether the division between schools and day nurseries will cause some confusion for the education sector, particularly as schools and nurseries were classified as the same Class.