Fallback position justifies flats against local policy

Plans to create five flats in north-east London have been allowed after an inspector found that a fallback position available to the applicants would be equally contrary to local plan policies.

The self-contained flats were to be converted at first, second and third floor level above two shops. The council sought to restrict conversions of dwellings into smaller units, set minimum space standards and restrict proposals containing one and two-bedroom homes through specific policies in its local plan.

The inspector considered the overriding issue to be the council’s aim of preventing loss of family-sized homes in the area and the protection of future occupiers’ living conditions. However, the appellant referred to the fallback position afforded by class G, part 3, schedule 2 of the GPDO 2015, which allows change of use of first and second floors above shops into two flats with no limit on the number of bedrooms.

The inspector recognised that the appellant could carry out the conversion under permitted development rights without recourse to the council and without any controls exerted by development plan policies on housing mix, internal space standards or loss of family homes. In his view, this was a material consideration that attracted significant weight and justified a decision other than in accordance with the development plan.

Inspector: Graham Wyatt; Written representations

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