Party letting identified as material change of use

After being deemed a material change of use, continuation of a holiday let at a listed windmill on Merseyside has been blocked due to noise and disturbance for neighbours.

200-007-048 (Image Credit: Sefton MBC)
200-007-048 (Image Credit: Sefton MBC)

The appellant had been letting the windmill out for weekend stag and hen parties, prompting numerous complaints from nearby residents. She argued that the use fell within the C3 residential use class and, even if it did not, weekend-only occupation meant no material change of use had occurred.

The inspector relied on Moore v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Another [2012] in determining whether, as a matter of fact and degree, a change of use had occurred. He considered that occupation by such groups of people, who were unlikely to be from one family, for short weekend visits and for party purposes was wholly different to a normal holiday let situation where a family holidays together for a week or two.

He concluded that the type of letting that had occurred at the property in recent years was not typical of, or even similar to, class C3 residential use. The fact that the property had all the characteristics and facilities of a dwellinghouse and was covered by a management agreement with the council was not relevant, he held.

Turning to whether the management agreement could render the change of use acceptable, the inspector was not happy that it was in letter form only. Following closer scrutiny at the hearing, he held that it did not comprise a formal agreement and its recommendations were not reasonable or enforceable. The nearest neighbour’s rear garden was very close to the windmill and no amount of agreement could negate the potential for harmful noise and disturbance to its occupiers, he concluded.

Inspector: John Braithwaite; Hearing

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