It is a key tenet of planning law, as reflected in the Planning and Building (Jersey) Law 2002 (the Planning Law), that a material change of use of land requires planning permission. For many years, however, the Jersey planning legislation has provided for specific exemptions from this general rule, in the form of use classes. The principle is that a change of use from one of the uses specified in a particular class to another use specified in that class does not require permission. In addition, changes of use by way of moving from certain specified classes to other specified classes have similarly been exempted from the general requirement to obtain planning permission.

The Planning and Building (General Development) (Amendment No. 2) (Jersey) Order 2015 (the 2015 Amendment), which came into force on 13 January 2016, has overhauled the use class regime. The use classes are now as set out in Appendix A to this note. They include an entirely new use class (Class M, late-night drinking and entertainment venues) and the contents of the revised classes reflect the evolution of society over recent years. For example, Class H (sport and fitness) specifically includes personal fitness training, yoga and pilates; Class K (medical and welfare) specifically includes acupuncture and massage; both Class B (restaurants and cafés) and Class M (late-night drinking and entertainment venues) make specific reference to al fresco dining.

Furthermore, the 2015 Amendment also revises and expands the list of permitted switches between one particular use class and another, as set out in Appendix B to this note.

It is important to remember that not all uses of land fall within a specified use class, some uses being what is referred to as sui generis, that is to say of their own kind. A change of use to or from a sui generis use, unless the new use is not materially different to the existing permitted use, will require planning permission. Moreover, there are changes from particular use classes to others that do still require planning permission. Nevertheless, the 2015 Amendment has modernised and liberalised the use class regime, enabling the planning authorities to focus on proposed changes of use which the States consider should remain subject to regulation by the operation of the Planning Law.

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