Demand for low cost units threatens site's re-use

A claim that a large industrial building subdivided into eight units in south Wales should be redeveloped for 35 houses has been judged unproven after an inspector agreed with the council that there was an ongoing need for low-cost employment premises.

The site was located on the edge of an industrial estate and the appellant stated that the UDP provided for a generous over-provision of allocated employment land. Furthermore, the company asserted that the premises were not attractive to many prospective occupiers because of the distance from the nearest motorway junction, its dated appearance and the poor standard of accommodation. Many of the units had a low headroom, the company stated, and the electricity supply and thermal insulation did not meet the latest standards for new buildings.

The fact that there was an over-supply of employment land did not mean the premises did not serve an important economic function, the inspector held, and there was a continued demand for medium-sized units offering affordable accommodation, with half the units containing existing tenants. They would undoubtedly benefit from cosmetic maintenance but otherwise appeared in reasonable condition and the need to improve housing land supply did not override the conflict with employment policies.

Inspector: Hywel Wyn Jones; Written representations

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