Back street garage saved for employment use

An inspector refused to permit redevelopment of a vehicle repair garage with eight flats in a residential area of a London borough after deciding the site continued to be suitable for employment use.

The inspector criticised the appellant’s marketing campaign for the sale of the Class B2 industrial premises for not also promoting an alternative Class B1 business use suitable to a residential area, as provided for by permitted development rights.

In the absence of evidence that neighbouring living conditions were unacceptably harmed by the use of the site, or of a lack of demand for the employment space, the inspector concluded the proposal was contrary to development plan employment policy safeguarding existing sites and premises, highlighting that the policy supporting text noted the value of smaller sites in supporting the local economy, contrary to the appellant’s unsubstantiated claim that potential occupiers preferred larger premises within industrial estates.

Inspector: J Bowyer; Written representations

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