Development Management Answers - supported exempt housing query

Q The government has established a special category of housing called supported exempt accommodation where the landlord, which would be a local authority, housing association, charity or voluntary organisation rather than a private individual, provides counselling and similar support for residents with special needs.....

The support takes place away from the property. Would housing in this category be considered to be still within the C3 dwellinghouse use class or might it be considered to be a class C2 residential institution use? JW

A In assessing whether a business operating from a dwelling results in a material change of use having occurred, a useful practical test is to consider whether somebody standing outside the property for a long time would notice activities that would not take place at a normal home. Applying the same test to this situation, where the support would generally be provided away from the home, there would not be any significant external effects, only an occupier leaving to obtain assistance. Sometimes, however, support is provided at the home - for example, in carrying out repairs that would otherwise normally be the tenant’s responsibility in "ordinary" housing or providing assistance in the event of disputes with neighbours. This would not take the premises outside the class C3 category. It would be akin to somebody with a disability receiving regular visits from doctors and nurses. There might be a possible scenario in which all the flats in a block are used for supported exempt housing and a room or rooms in the block are used to provide the support. In that case, there might be a material change of use, but that is somewhat different from the situation you ask about. John Harrison

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