Enforcement action against stadium event parking quashed

An inspector found lawful through the passage of time the use of school grounds in a London borough to provide parking for people attending events held at Wembley Stadium.

The council sought the cessation of the off-site event parking at the school site. The council considered a separate primary parking use did not begin until 2016 when there was a marked increase in event parking at the appeal site coinciding with a premier league football club holding their home games at the stadium, prior to which parking for stadium events had not been more than de minimis.

In the inspector’s assessment, a primary parking use on the site serving people attending events at the new stadium had started at the time of its opening in 2007. She considered evidence of 50 to 60 cars parked at the school on the occasion of the first event, the £10 fee charged and the fact the occupiers of the cars were not attending an on-site event. She decided the parking was not ancillary to any other use on the site and even then was at an intensity that constituted a material change in the character of activity. As parking for off-site events had since continued on a regular basis, the inspector decided the ten-year rule had been satisfied, allowing the appeal and quashing the enforcement notice.

In deciding an application for costs, the inspector held that unnecessary costs had not been incurred by the appellant because the oral evidence presented at inquiry had been essential to explain the differences in the character of the activities taking place and enable her to reach a conclusion on whether there had been a material change of use.

Inspector: Hilda Higenbottam; Inquiry

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