Council faces costs over letting agency refusal

An inspector has awarded an appellant full costs after allowing the change of use of a shop in a West Midlands parade to a letting agency.

The council said the scheme would unacceptably cut the number of units, affecting the parade's ability to meet local needs. But the inspector noted that only three of its nine units were in retail use. Its shopping function was already limited and it was unrealistic to expect it to cater for day-to-day shopping needs due to limited off-street parking, he found.

The council had failed to identify any policies that sought to limit the number of non-retail uses in such locations and had made no attempt to define how the parade's vitality would be harmed, he noted. He remarked that its decision to allow a similar proposal in a nearby parade, albeit on the basis of long-term vacancy, hindered its case on the costs issue.

Inspector: Gary Deane; Written representations

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