Ancillary use not solely about scale in lawful use approval

A recording studio with ancillary rehearsal rooms from a storage and distribution unit in a mixed use area of West Sussex was deemed lawful, the ancillary rooms being held functionally related to the main use despite their significantly greater floorspace area.

The main issue, held the inspector, was whether the refusal of the lawful development certificate was well-founded. The inspector noted that under the GPDO 2015, change of use from storage and distribution to office use was permitted development for buildings of less than 500 sqm. The recording studio use fell into the office category and was less than 500 sqm in total size. The council had argued that the significantly greater floorspace of the rehearsal rooms, comprising 104 sqm in total, compared to the recording studio itself, 46 sqm, meant that the overall use was in fact a mixed use development requiring permission.

The inspector, however, in referring to Harrods v SOS (2002) held that an ancillary use must relate functionally to the main use and did not relate to solely a matter of scale. In this case he could see the logic of the operation and how the rehearsal rooms supported the main recording studio and concluded the change of use had been lawful under permitted development.

Inspector: Felix Bourne; Written Representations

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