DC Casebook: Commercial and industrial - Betting office condition found flawed

A condition ruling out a betting office following the change of use of a shop in Essex to financial and professional uses has been supported by an inspector who accepted that it would not harm town centre vitality and viability.

In granting permission, the council had accepted that the proportion of non-retail uses in the centre would fall below the 70 per cent set out in a town centre action plan. The appellant claimed that a betting office would generate an equivalent number of customers to many retail uses and people would visit other businesses on the same trip.

The inspector supported these arguments.

Betting offices often stay open into the evening and benefit the evening as well as daytime economy, he reasoned. Many also present attractive and active facades and this use would be compatible with the town's retail area, he decided.

Awarding costs against the council, he pointed out that Circular 11/1995 advises against restricting future changes of use which the Use Classes Order would otherwise allow. In his view, the council had not shown exceptional circumstances to merit the exclusion of betting offices in this case. It had produced no evidence to show that betting offices did not support the vitality, viability or regeneration of the centre or contributed to a decline in attractiveness, he held.

DCS Number 100-069-585

Inspector Leslie Coop; Written representations.

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