Art gallery material change of use claim rejected

An enforcement notice issued by a north London council which alleged that two rooms in a grade II four storey terrace building, were being used residentially, was rejected by an inspector who determined that no breach of control had occurred.

In 2011 the appellant had applied for planning permission to change part of the use to residential and this was granted the permission requiring part of the ground floor to remain in shop use and the rear as residential. The appellant stated that the two front rooms remained in use as an art gallery with customers having to ring the doorbell to gain access due to the high value of the art on sale. The public he stated had access to the two rooms until 8pm at night. In contrast the council asserted that the A1 use was ancillary to the primary use of the two rooms, which were occupied residentially.

At her site visit, an inspector noted that the two rooms subject to the notice, were not laid out for residential purposes although they were not physically separated from the rest of the house to the rear. It was not unreasonable that access to customers was restricted given the value of the paintings and fine art on sale. Since the permission granted by the council authorised a mixed-use, no change from this position had occurred and therefore the notice was quashed on the basis that no material change of use had occurred.

Inspector: Katie Peerless; Hearing

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