The day to day impact of Class E by Ross Bendall


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Back in 2020, planning rules were changed to bring several uses for commercial property all under one class.
To that end, I keep a copy of the Use Classes Order pinned next to my desk that marks out the changes that came into place three and a half years ago!
The old A1, A2, A3 classes that covered the likes of shops, financial and professional services, cafes and restaurants all now fall under the Class E banner, as well as everything covered by B1b, B1c, D1 and D2. No wondered they changed it!
So, that means clinics, health centres, creches, day nurseries, day centres, gyms and indoor recreation (so long as it doesn’t involve vehicles or firearms) are covered by the one class.
It means it’s a pretty crowded market place.
It also means that when working out what demand is like for Class E space you have to dig a little deeper as it covers so many uses.
From a landlord’s point of view it means much more flexibility in the kind of tenants you are able to try to attract and that has resulted in positive results for many Holt Commercial clients where, for example, traditional retail has been converted into a service-based use.
So, it is fair to say that demand is healthy for Class E space but some elements of it are performing stronger than others.
Another point to note is that while the planning law has been reformed many landlords who hold long-term leases on properties are still operating on contracts that were drawn up many years ago and are nervous about a change of use because while it might fit with the legislation, it’s not covered in their existing contract.
The other side of the very strong demand we have for Class E space is the shortage of bespoke units that cater for the more unusual or different type of users such as dog training, vets surgery, fitness training and boxing academies where a landlord’s preference is for a more straightforward user.
It’s a classic example of where the legislation might have changed, it doesn’t always have an immediate effect on the market.
Elsewhere, the ongoing demand for small industrial units continues unabated as witnessed by a whole host of deals done in recent weeks as well as significant ongoing interest.
There is real feeling that businesses are looking to grow and it’s a case of ensuring we can be nimble enough to help them find the space they need and that’s what the team at Holt Commercial is here to do!

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