Mixed-use scheme permitted on employment site

Permission for offices, 129 dwellings and a 68-bed care home was permitted on an employment site in Oxfordshire because a warehouse was no longer viable and an office block on the site already benefited from a change of use to 45 flats.

The appellant had advertised the vacant warehouse building for sale for over 12 months and the council agreed that attracting a suitable occupier was unlikely. It claimed, however, that the marketing campaign had not included the office building and therefore had not proven this was unviable. The appellant argued that the building benefited from prior approval under Class O of Part 3 to Schedule 2 of the GPDO 2015 and consequently, there was a realistic possibility that it would no longer be retained for its original purpose.

The inspector accepted these arguments. While the land comprised an existing employment site the appellant’s arguments were well-founded. There was a lack of any class B uses within the warehouse and the fact that prior approval existed meant that the office use was also likely to disappear. Thus, any conflict with the council’s policies was outweighed by these considerations.

Inspector: Chris Baxter; Hearing

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