The inspector accepted evidence from employment study prepared for the council’s emerging local plan that the supply of employment land to meet the city’s needs was tight and that occupancy rates were not low in the industrial estate, which was designated a primary industrial area in which existing adopted policy sought to prevent the loss of class B1, B2 and B8 floorspace.
Despite this policy dating back to 2002, the inspector held that it was consistent with the NPPF. She disregarded the lack of other suitable sites for the proposed leisure use in or adjacent to nearby retail centres, previous decisions to allow similar uses in other primary industrial areas in the city, the fact that the appeal building had been vacant for some time and the prospect of 25 jobs. She held that the proposal would be contrary to adopted local and national policy to protect sites allocated for specific industrial uses.
The appeal site adjoined other industrial buildings with large access doors opening directly onto the street frontage. The inspector was concerned that a new footway running alongside these buildings to the proposed play centre would be dangerous to pedestrians and cyclists because of restricted intervisibility between them and emerging large vehicles. This could not be overcome by condition and produced another reason to refuse the scheme, she found.
Inspector: Beverley Wilders; Written representations