The appeal related to an existing commercial unit on the ground floor of a three storey, end-terraced property in a mainly residential area. There was a residential flat within the building above the appeal premises. The appeal property and most of the terraced houses immediately around it had their front doors and windows directly adjacent to the back edge of the footway with no front gardens.
The inspector considered, given the mainly residential nature of the area, that the background noise levels in the vicinity would be quite low, particularly during the evenings. Although the evidence submitted with the appeal indicated that the appeal property could give rise to the comings and goings of customers to and from the site at similar times to the proposed opening times of the micropub, within the scope of its existing retail use, the inspector considered customers of a drinking establishment would generally be present on site for longer than those visiting a retail unit. Therefore, although no external seating was proposed, she considered that the proposed use would be more likely to result in groups of people gathering within the unit, and for longer periods, and in people periodically congregating outside the premises to smoke for example, than an A1 retail use. Because of this, she felt there would be a greater level of disturbance to the occupiers of the adjoining terraced house and those of the flat above the premises, and for more extended periods, than would be likely to arise from the briefer customer visits associated with a retail unit. Given the proximity of neighbouring windows and the likely low background noise levels in this residential area, the inspector concluded that such sound and activity would affect neighbours’ quiet enjoyment of their properties to an unacceptable degree and refused the proposal on this issue alone.
Inspector: Jillian Rann; Written representations