Gradual change to café use judged unlawful

Conversion of a central London sandwich shop to a mixed café and shisha smoking use is unauthorised, an inspector has ruled.

Citing Wakelin v Secretary of State for the Environment [1978] and Cheshire County Council v Secretary of State for the Environment, the council argued that a material change of use from class A1 to class A3 had taken place gradually over a ten-year period and that the "turning point" had occurred in 2017, when it received a complaint from a neighbour.

By that time, the food menu had lengthened considerably, tables and chairs had been placed inside as well as outside the premises and advertisements for breakfasts had appeared. On the evidence, the inspector agreed that the hot food sales use had gradually increased in intensity. As a matter of fact and degree, he ruled, the previous retail use with ancillary hot food provision had materially changed to the mixed use alleged in the notice without permission having been obtained.

Inspector: Anthony Wharton; Written representations

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