Q: I am puzzled by the inspector's decision on a lawful development certificate appeal relating to a site in Wales...

A single-storey building on the edge of a park was used by the local authority to store vehicles and equipment in connection with its maintenance of public open space in that part of its area and it also had an ancillary messroom. I consider that this surely falls within the B8 storage and distribution use class, but the inspector did not. We would welcome any views on this finding. GC

A: For a use to fit within a use class, any uses not falling directly within the class must be ancillary to the primary use or de minimis. In the scenario you describe, it is highly likely that the messroom would not just have been used for purposes ancillary to the storage use. For example, it is quite likely staff would have met there at the beginning of each day before going out to start their work around the area or have returned there when poor weather stopped them working outside. If you could obtain evidence that the building was not used in this way by people who worked maintaining the authority's open space when the store was in use, you might have a chance of obtaining a lawful development certificate if you were to submit a further application. However, I strongly suspect that this would be a hard point to prove. The case you refer to (DCS Number 200-001-048) is summarised in this edition (see the full article). John Harrison


A house on a street corner has a vehicular crossover to an unclassified side road. The crossover has not been used for many years, but the occupiers now want to remove part of a two-metre-high fence and replace it with a gate of the same height, so that they can park a car in their back yard. As the yard is very small, I am concerned that this would effectively leave the house with no garden. Would this proposal need planning permission and, if so, would it be reasonable to refuse the application? CG

Planning permission for a restaurant requires it to close at 11pm. A planning application has now been made for a smoking shelter. This would be very close to the bedroom windows of a nearby house. I am concerned that if this were used up to 11pm, the residents would be adversely affected, especially if young children were sleeping in the bedrooms. Could we impose a condition requiring the use of the smoking shelter to cease at an earlier time or should we refuse the application? AT

Do you have an answer to these questions? If so, please email it to Forum editor John Harrison at by 04 December. We also welcome your queries, which can be emailed to the same address.

Development management forum reopens

PlanningResource's development management discussion forum has reopened on a new temporary platform, after an attack by hackers forced the closure of the original facility.

We are confident that no actual user data was taken after the attack on the original development management fora. But, had we left the forums open, user data would have been at risk. For this reason they had to be taken down.

Now a temporary replacement forum has been created using Google Groups. As with the old forum, users can create new topics for discussion or comment on existing topics.

To access the new group, users must create a Google account or sign in with their existing Google accounts. 

The group can be found here.

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