The single reason for refusal was that the proposed amendment would harm the vitality and viability of a town centre. The proposal by the owners of the building was to add relatively small front and side extensions, and then to subdivide the building into two separate retail units. An inspector found that after the appeal had been made, the council approved an application for a lawful development certificate (LDC) to allow 15 per cent of the floorspace of the existing building to be used for open A1 non-food retailing. The council were satisfied that the store had operated on that basis for at least ten years in breach of the condition. Consequently, the council confirmed that, as they had no concerns about the other aspects of the scheme, the appeal would not be defended. The LDC had therefore allowed that which the appellant was seeking to achieve by the appeal application to vary the condition. In the circumstances, and given that the existing store had operated on that basis for the last ten years, it was concluded that varying the condition would not harm the existing vitality and viability of the town centre.
Inspector: Anthony Lyman; Written representations