Development management answers: Home-based business query

Q A homeowner has applied for planning permission to operate a low-key tattoo business from his home. Would the local authority be well advised to avoid imposing a condition controlling the maximum number of daily customers, as this would be very difficult to enforce? And if it did, would such a condition be difficult to defend at appeal? PJ

A Generally, a condition restricting the number of customers at a business would be difficult to enforce. It would need a lot of monitoring; for example, if two people arrived together, it would not be possible to tell whether they were two customers or one customer and a friend. Tattooists have to be registered with local authorities under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982.

A usual condition for registration is that customers’ details are retained, which would be a way of monitoring the number of customers. Otherwise, I would recommend using other forms of condition to restrict the business’s scale, such as allowing only one tattooist to operate and restricting operating hours. Inspectors’ views on the acceptability of a condition restricting the number of customers would depend on the case. An important consideration would be whether it complies with the tests in paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework. In a 2012 appeal decision on a proposal to use a conservatory at a dwelling in Nottinghamshire as a tattoo studio (DCS Number 100-076-029), the inspector restricted the use to the terms of the original application, which confined the use to the conservatory, and granted a personal permission so only the applicant could operate. John Harrison

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