Editor's pick: Guest bedrooms declared ancillary to pub use

A lawful development certificate has been issued for seven guest bedrooms at a pub in west Yorkshire, after an inspector concluded that no material change of use had occurred.

Although the pub use had ceased in 2012, both parties accepted that it had not been abandoned. Seven letting bedrooms had been provided on the first floor, with accommodation for the publican on the second floor. The council alleged that while, three letting bedrooms would be ancillary to the pub use, the increase to seven had triggered a mixed use comprising a pub and hotel.

The inspector had little doubt that the tenants had made efforts to promote the building as a place to stay prior to its closure, including advertising with the Yorkshire Tourist Board, but saw this as just good business sense. As far as the ordinary person was concerned, he held, the premises still looked like a pub.

He noted that there was no separate reception area or other facilities used exclusively by paying guests. The activity associated with the coming and going of customers staying at the premises would not be markedly different from the pub use, he decided. Consequently, he concluded that the building's primary use remained a pub.

However, he refused to award the appellants their costs. He noted that the council had taken legal advice on whether a mixed use had been created and felt that it could not be blamed for following that advice, given the nature of the application. The fact that the appellants’ barrister had provided different advice indicated that the matter was not clear cut, he held.

Inspector: David Pinner; Inquiry

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