Do you need Planning permission to open a Coffee Shop?

Are you planning to open a coffee shop? One of the most frequent questions we are asked is do I need planning permission

The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended) sets out various land uses and categories.

If you are opening a coffee shop you should be mindful of the requirements.

Coffee shops normally fall within use class A1 and cover the sale of retail goods and includes sandwich bars, travel agents, grocery stores, chemists hardware shops etc. The unifying factor is the sale of retail goods to members of the public.

An A3 use on the other hand is for “the sale of food or drink for consumption on the premises or of hot food for consumption off the premises.”

Can I cook on the premises?

Unfortunately coffee shops and other establishments don’t always fall neatly within class A1 (retail) and a number of operators have encountered problems for example when the nature of their business evolves and starts to change.

Increasingly coffee shops are serving breakfast, lunches and other snacks and this is where the problem can occur.

The answer to the question posed in this blogpost isn’t always as simple as it should be as it could depend on a number of factors and can be a question of fact and degree:

1) The ratio of hot food sales to cold food sales

2) Where is the food prepared?

3) Is any primary cooking taking place on the premises

If there is any doubt about whether or not planning permission is required then an application for an certificate of lawfulness 





If you would like to discuss your Coffee shop proposals and then please call Yussuf Mwanza on 020 8995 7848

Yussuf Mwanza is a Chartered Town Planner and is founder and Managing Director of MZA Planning with over 30 years of planning experience gained in Local government, the private sector and The Planning Inspectorate.