Big changes to the nursery buildings you can use

Nursery Use Class Changes

Hailed as the biggest change to use classes since the world war, there have been dramatic changes to the use class of nurseries.

Effective Sept 1st 2020, Boris Johnson stated that this is to provide greater flexibility to the high street, and is supposed to enable nurseries in particular to have access to a greater choice of buildings.

However, we will look at the impact for nurseries below.

What Has Changed To Use Classes?

You would have learnt about nursery use classes in a previous article.  Though, if you haven’t read you can do so by clicking here: https://www.littleblessingschildcare.co.uk/find-a-nursery-building/

Nurseries used to be in category D1.  This meant that buildings like churches, town halls and health centres could all be used for a nursery (without needing to apply for planning permission).

However, the D1 category has been removed along with categories A and B (which includes restaurants and offices) and replaced by new categories E and F.

E is made up of:

  • E(a) Display or retail sale of goods, other than hot food
  • E(b) Sale of food and drink for consumption (mostly) on the premises
  • E(c) Provision of:
    • E(c)(i) Financial services,
    • E(c)(ii) Professional services (other than health or medical services), or
    • E(c)(iii) Other appropriate services in a commercial, business or service locality
  • E(d) Indoor sport, recreation or fitness (not involving motorised vehicles or firearms)
  • E(e) Provision of medical or health services (except the use of premises attached to the residence of the consultant or practitioner)
  • E(f) Creche, day nursery or day centre (not including a residential use)
  • E(g) Uses which can be carried out in a residential area without detriment to its amenity:
    • E(g)(i) Offices to carry out any operational or administrative functions,
    • E(g)(ii) Research and development of products or processes
    • E(g)(iii) Industrial processes

meaning all these buildings can be used for a nursery.

F is made of:

  • F1 Learning and non-residential institutions – Use (not including residential use) defined in 7 parts:
    • F1(a) Provision of education
    • F1(b) Display of works of art (otherwise than for sale or hire)
    • F1(c) Museums
    • F1(d) Public libraries or public reading rooms
    • F1(e) Public halls or exhibition halls
    • F1(f) Public worship or religious instruction (or in connection with such use)
    • F1(g) Law courts
  • F2 Local community – Use as defined in 4 parts:
    • F2(a) Shops (mostly) selling essential goods, including food, where the shop’s premises do not exceed 280 square metres and there is no other such facility within 1000 metres
    • F2(b) Halls or meeting places for the principal use of the local community
    • F2(c) Areas or places for outdoor sport or recreation (not involving motorised vehicles or firearms)
    • F2(d) Indoor or outdoor swimming pools or skating rinks

This means there is a separation of nurseries are now in a separate category from churches.

What Does This Mean?

The Good?

As mentioned, this is meant to be good for potential renters/ buyers,

Typically finding a good suitable nursery building is a challenge.  They are in high demand, which leads to higher prices.

This move by the government means that more buildings are legally allowed to be used for a nursery without a applying for planning permission.

Now, when searching for a building you can now add previous offices and restaurants to your search.  With many of these buildings now vacant due to Covid-19, it may be possible to get a good building for cheaper.

However, one thing to bare in mind is that the building should still be suitable. If you have worked in a nursery before you will know what you building will require e.g. outside space.  So, make sure your building still adheres to this.  You can find out more about how to choose a suitable building here.

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The Potentially Bad?

Schools, churches and public halls are now in a separate category.

Many nurseries use these types of building to provide their services.

Now, in order to take over a building that was previously a school, church or public hall you will need to apply for change of use, which can be time-consuming and costly.  (You can learn how to do this on the complete guide to opening a nursery).

The biggest dilemma is whether you can rent a part of the school, church or public hall for your nursery without needing planning permission.

Although this hasn’t been confirmed, it is likely that as long as the main use is still for example for a church, you will be able to use it for a nursery.

How Can You Benefit?

It seems that the changes will lead to more buildings being available for nurseries.  The full impact and rules are yet to be established and you will still need to make sure that the building is appropriate and suitable.

But, this should still be good news, and lead to cheaper rents purchasing price.

Start taking advantage of this change right away.  When searching for your building on websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla, you can add offices, restaurants and other buildings in the E use class to your search.

Are you looking to open your own nursery?

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  1. How to create a business plan
  2. How much you will need to open
  3. The six steps needed to open your nursery

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