The site was located in a district centre which the inspector accepted constituted a key shopping area as per criterion ii of the GPDO, paragraph M.2. The stock room to be converted into flats was closely associated with the retail use, albeit vacant, and although the main use would remain, the inspector felt the reduction in size of the remaining stock room would disadvantage the opportunity to successfully let the whole retail unit. The unit had been vacant for two years, but the appellants had provided no detailed evidence with respect to its marketing at an appropriate price in its current form to justify its loss. Equally no details of vacancy levels in the centre had been provided to substantiate the residential conversion. The inspector concluded the proposal would reduce the sustainability of the shopping area.
With respect to refuse and cycle storage, again insufficient details were provided in the plans to show that they could be acceptably accommodated without impacting on a turning area in the rear service yard to the property.
Inspector: Alison Scott; Written representations