On the 20th July, the Government introduced The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Amendment) which took effect on 1st September 2020. These new regulations made significant changes to the 1987 Use Classes Order which form part of the Government’s “Project Speed”. The project as a whole aims to make it easier to build better homes where people want to live, revive the high street and our town centres and increase flexibility with regards to land use changes with many changes of use no longer requiring a planning application.
Part of these changes includes the introduction of a new E class of land use categorisation. This new class is the “commercial, business and service” use class and encompasses most of the previous Class A, B1 and part of D1/D2.
When these changes are related to parking, there is real potential for a profound impact on the future of parking provision. For example, if we take the current standards in our local area for the relevant former use classes of a 500 sqm supermarket (A1) and gym (D2), we can see the range in acceptable parking standards in each local authority in the graphs below.
Therefore, when applying for 500sqm of Class E use the parking provision may differ some 8 spaces which can have a big impact of the layout of scheme. Local authorities have been unable to produce new class E parking standards in time for the implementation of the new regulations. As a result, new proposals which come under Class E, regardless of what they consist of, should (in theory) manage to meet the parking standards of any of the previous Class A, B1 and part of D1/D2. Technically, these ranges should all be considered in accordance with standards within their respective authority so should be deemed acceptable.
It will be interesting to see how local authorities adapt to this new change and we will be closely monitoring to understand where new standards are produced and what they suggest.