Commercial premises are given a classification by the local planning authority as to the type of trade or use to which the property may be put.
A1 - Retail Shops
A2 - Professional and Financial Services - Banks, Insurance Brokers, Solicitors, Estate Agents.
A3 - Food & Drink - Restaurants, bars, public houses, takeaways.
B1 - Business which covers offices other than those in class A2
B2 - General Industrial, covers industrial processes such as manufacturing and repairing which does not come under B1 or the special industrial classes B3-B7
B3-B7 - Special Industrial Classes which have potential for environmental harm.
B8 - Storage and distribution, warehousing etc.
Change of use involves getting planning permission from the local authority. The change is more likely to be successful if it can be shown that the new type of business will serve a need not already being provided in the area. Factors to be taken into account might be:
Some use classes, particularly A3, can be difficult to obtain, but increased rental values will reflect this.