Laundrette defended against change to surgery

A proposal to change a former laundrette to a surgery for a dentist or doctor in a London borough failed when an inspector considered it had not been shown that the surgery would be of greater benefit to the community.

The main issue concerned whether the loss of the laundrette as an existing social and community use would be acceptable. The development plan identified both laundrette and a dentist/doctor surgery as social and community uses, with policy supporting changes between such uses only where the existing use could not be protected and then provided it could be demonstrated that the new use would be of significant and greater benefit to the borough and its residents.

The inspector found the appellant’s evidence lacked sufficient detail to demonstrate that there was no need within the local area for a launderette, and no meaningful market data had been provided to substantiate a claim that there was no demand to take up the existing laundrette use. The inspector held that it was necessary to supply some form of detailed analysis comparing the laundrette and dentist/doctor surgery uses so that a determination could be made as to whether one social and community use would provide greater benefit to another, observing that a launderette is necessary to modern urban living.

Inspector: J Gibson; Written representations

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