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The Planning Process

Use Classes Order and Pre-application Procedures

Use Classes Order

The Use Classes Order (UCO) is intended as a deregulatory instrument, helping to reduce the burden on business and the planning system whilst balancing the need to control activities in the public interest.

The UCO establishes groups of uses with similar planning impacts. The order describes these as classes. Changes between uses within the group (class) would not result in any significant change in planning impact so there is little benefit in requiring a planning application for the change. Therefore, changes of use within classes do not require planning permission but changes to uses in different classes or to uses not in a specified class do require permission if there is a 'material change of use'.

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Pre-application Procedures

Pre-application procedures aim to ensure that planning applications proceed smoothly and quickly once they are formally submitted to the determining authority. The idea is that any significant planning issues are raised prior to the submission of a formal application. This provides applicants with the opportunity to consider these issues and, if necessary, amend their proposals before they are finalised and submitted as planning applications.

The Planning (Wales) Act 2015 introduced pre-application requirements into the 1990 Act. These include a new statutory requirement for local planning authorities to provide preapplication services to applicants and a duty on applicants to carry out pre-application consultation with the community and specified consultees.

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