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Commercial property is defined as such because it is often singled out for special treatment for taxation purposes and by lenders for borrowing purposes. Strictly speaking any property other than land which is non-residential would be considered commercial. In most countries changing the use of a property between residential and commercial is possible only with the permission of the Planning Authority. In the UK the uses of commercial property are defined by Planning Classes, but similar concepts are used elsewhere. The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 laid down a framework as follows:
These Use Classes allow the planning Authorities to control behaviour and activity so that noise, fumes, parking of vehicles, movement of goods and people etc will not offend the population generally in their use and enjoyment of their residential property at all times of the day and night.