Loss of empty office held no economic threat

The conversion of office space in central Manchester to a place of worship has been approved as preferable to leaving the premises empty.

The site lay within a "prestigious employment frontage". The building had been completed in 2008 and two floors of office space remained vacant. Although the council claimed that the office market was booming, with larger units such as the appeal premises becoming more attractive, the appellant’s evidence on the building’s qualitative limitations persuaded the inspector to allow the appeal.

He found that poor fenestration at the rear, a mezzanine floor configuration and low ceilings led to a lack of natural light. It was impossible to install raised floors or services and there was a lack of on-site parking, he found. He concluded that the building was unattractive for its intended purposes and its loss would not undermine the council’s economic strategy, given the supply of high-grade office space on the market in the area.

Inspector: William Fieldhouse; Written representations

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