The appeal site was located near a town centre and formed part of a cluster of industrial units. The site was last in use as a telephone exchange with associated offices, but had been vacant for several years. The proposal would involve the subdivision of the unit, with the majority being changed from B1 to use as a furniture store. The remaining portion would continue to be used for B1 uses.
While the inspector recognised that the loss of one unit would not in itself fundamentally undermine the overall supply of industrial/warehousing land in the borough, the extent of an oversupply was found to be relatively small, and cumulative changes of use could harm the health of the local economy. In addition there was no firm evidence the proposed retail use would restrict the effective operation of the local industrial area. There was no evidence before the inspector to demonstrate that the proposed retail use rather than employment use on the site would better meet economic regeneration benefits. It was therefore concluded that the site should be retained in industrial/warehousing use.
Inspector: K Child; Written representations