UK Planning Law Framework for Tourism and Leisure Premises

Planning Law Framework for Tourism and Leisure Premises in the UKThe law governing planning in England and Wales is contained mainly in the Town and Country Planning Acts 1947 to 2004. In Scotland the main provisions are found in the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997. There is also a large amount of subordinate legislation. Generally, English, Scots and Northern Irish planning law is similar, and for the most part the implications of the legislation for travel or tourism are the same under all three legal systems.One of the matters planning legislation covers is the use to which land and/or buildings are to be put. Planning permission is required if a material change is to be made in the use of land or buildings. It is a matter of fact whether a change of use is ‘material’. One of the criteria for judging this is the primary use to which a building is put, rather than any ancillary use. This was discussed by me in a previous post in respect of the English case of R (on the Application of I’m Your Man Ltd.) v North Somerset Council. [2004] EWHC 342.A modification to this requirement that planning permission is required for all material changes of use is that the Use Classes Order will generally permit changes of use within a particular class (defined in the Order) without planning permission. This is because changes within classes defined in the Order have little (if any) impact on the community.The ‘use class’ to which a travel agency belongs is A1 (shops). In Scotland the category is Class 1 (shops) (Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Order 1992). This class includes shops, hairdressers, undertakers, post offices, repair and pet shops. It does not include garages, petrol stations, car showrooms, restaurants and cafes, betting shops, hotels or licensed premises. Organisations such as banks, estate agents and building societies are classified as ‘financial, professional and other services’. Car hire and driving instructors’ establishments are categorised as offices rather than shops.If a change of use is trivial, planning consent will not be required.Similar provisions are set out in the Planning (Use Classes) Order (Northern Ireland) 2004.The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Amendment) (England) Order 2005 provides that Internet cafes are now included in use class A (shops). Class A£ (food and drink) is now subdivided into three categories: A3 – restaurants and cafes; A4 – pubs and wine bars; A5- hot food takeaways. This applies to England only.The National Assembly for Wales has recently acquired regulatory powers in respect of planning orders.

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