Stating that section 55 of the 1990 Act does not provide that use of two separate dwellinghouses as a single dwelling house is a material change of use, the inspector referred to a High Court judgment in Kensington and Chelsea RBC v SSCLG & Reis & Tong 2016 setting out that a change of use resulting in the loss of an existing use, including the loss of a residential unit or units, may be material even where there would be no amenity or environmental impact. The inspector recorded that to so conclude necessitated consideration of the extent to which an existing use fulfils a proper planning purpose and whether the loss of the use would have a significant planning consequence as a matter of fact and degree.
In light of evidence of a specific need for 2-3 bedroom properties for younger people identified in the neighbourhood plan, the inspector found that the flats served a planning purpose. She concluded on the balance of probabilities that the change of use would be material and required planning permission.
Inspector: Veronica Bond; Written representations