Planning Use Class Issues


The issue of the Use Class of specialist housing for older people should be considered according to the circumstances and proposals. Some will be Use Class C2, some C3 and some sui generis.

The definition of what forms the 'planning unit' will be critical. Most relevant will be the degree of care and support provided. To fall within C2 use class the accommodation must comply with the Use Classes Order 1987 (as amended) as follows:

"Class C2. Residential institutions
Use for the provision of residential accommodation and care to people in need of care (other than a use within class C3 (dwelling houses)).
Use as a hospital or nursing home.
Use as a residential school, college or training centre.

In addition to defining the Use Classes above, the Order provides a definition of care which states: "personal care for people in need of such care by reason of old age, disablement, past or present dependence on alcohol or drugs or past or present mental disorder, and in class C2 also includes the personal care of children and medical care and treatment".

General C3 housing is defined as follows within the Use Classes Order, and is split into 3 categories (underlining added):

"C3(a) covers use by a single person or a family (a couple whether married or not, a person related to one another with members of the family of one of the couple to be treated as members of the family of the other), an employer and certain domestic employees (such as an au pair, nanny, nurse, governess, servant, chauffeur, gardener, secretary and personal assistant), a carer and the person receiving the care and a foster parent and foster child.

C3(b): up to six people living together as a single household and receiving care e.g. supported housing schemes such as those for people with learning disabilities or mental health problems.

C3(c) allows for groups of people (up to six) living together as a single household. This allows for those groupings that do not fall within the C4 HMO definition, but which fell within the previous C3 use class, to be provided for i.e. a small religious community may fall into this section as could a homeowner who is living with a lodger."

For further information on Use Classes can also be found in the following documents: