The site formed part of a larger area allocated for class B1, B2 and B8 uses in the local plan. Permission had been granted for six buildings subdivided into 29 class B1 and B8 units, subject to a condition that four units extending to 1,453m2 were restricted to B1 use. The remaining 3,699m2 was capable of being used for B1 or B8 purposes.
The council argued that this split was necessary to maintain the amenity of residents on one side of the site. The appellant claimed that the condition was too restrictive and did not cater for future demand for class B1 and B8 uses. The layout had been designed to minimise disturbance from lorries and a council environmental health officer did not object to removal of the condition, he argued.
The inspector decided that the council had failed to produce any objective evidence on adverse noise effects. He found little evidence to support its claim that B8 uses were squeezing out B1 floor space or that there was an oversupply of distribution and warehousing space. Monitoring reports suggested that B1 floor space was increasing.
In his opinion, the council had provided little information to support concerns on noise and employment supply in refusing permission contrary to officers' advice. The condition was unjustified and it should have been apparent to members that restricting occupation to a particular use class requires special justification, he ruled.
DCS Number 100-069-177
Inspector Adrian I'Anson; Written representations.