The proposal included 121 co-living units, shared workspace, a café and a bike workshop. The inspector determined that the main issues in the case were the standard of accommodation proposed and the degree of compliance with policy restrictions on use as self-contained homes. Since shared living is a new type of housing, he found no detailed planning guidance on space standards for this type of accommodation. However, he referred to emerging London Plan policy on the issue, affording it full weight given its advanced stage of preparation and lack of outstanding objections.
The inspector also referred to recently approved schemes for similar developments in other parts of London and to the appellants’ report on the demand for shared living accommodation in the borough, which had a younger age profile than the national average. In comparison to approved schemes, he noted that the appeal proposal’s studio rooms would be larger and the amount of communal kitchen and lounge space per unit significantly higher. In that light, he concluded that the units would provide a more than adequate standard of functional living space, as required by the council’s adopted local plan policy.
With respect to an adopted local plan policy requirement that the units should not be capable of use as self-contained homes, the inspector noted that no individual external spaces were available and access to the units would be entirely internal via a shared reception area. In his view, the proposal would therefore accord with this arm of adopted policy. Although it diverged from adopted policy by failing to provide for a mix of tenures, he accepted the appellants’ arguments that this would not be viable and allowed this aspect as a departure from adopted policy.
Inspector: Nick Palmer; Hearing