Development management answers: Are babies counted as household members?

Q If six people are living in a class C4 small house in multiple occupation and one of them has a baby, does this take the use outside C4 and mean that planning permission is required? RP

A The answer was provided by Mr Justice Supperstone in Paramaguru v London Borough of Ealing [2018], where he stated that section 258 of the Housing Act 2004 makes clear that children are counted as persons forming part of the household under section 254(2). The judgment also cited Barnes v Sheffield City Council [1995] and Rogers v London Borough of Islington [2000] as cases where no distinction was drawn between children and other members of the household. That being so, by reason of part 3, schedule 1 to the Use Classes Order, the word "residents" is to be interpreted so that children are to be counted as residents for the purposes of class C4. Nigel Wicks

I would agree, although there is of course discretion whether to enforce. Also, the planning authority would need to be satisfied that a material change of use has occurred. The introduction of a seventh person might not be considered to amount to this. It would probably not be appropriate to enforce the day the baby comes home from the maternity hospital. However, there could well be a breach of planning control and in most instances action would be necessary at some stage to prevent the use becoming lawful. John Harrison

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