What commercial classifications apply to business premises?

The property categories you need to be aware of when choosing premises

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Before you negotiate the lease or purchase of a property you must check what commercial classification it currently falls under. Commercial premises come under certain categories of use and if you don't have the appropriate classification you may not be able to run a specific type of business there.

The main types of commercial classification are as follows for business:

A1 – used for shops A2 – professional and financial services such as banks, solicitors and estate agents A3 – food and drink establishments

If the property does not already have the correct classification for your type of business, you need planning permission from your local authority. You must bear in mind that planning consent might not be accepted if the local authority feels the change of classification would not benefit the area.

When making a decision, the local authority will take into consideration factors such as whether there is a need for that type of business in the area, traffic and parking requirements, likely causes of nuisance such as noise, smells or environmental hazards the business may cause, trading hours and objections from other occupiers and residents.

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