Casebook: Appeal Case - Commercial and Industrial - Storage locker found lawful at petrol station

A lawful development certificate has been issued for the retention of 13 storage lockers at a service station in Derbyshire after an inspector found that their installation had not triggered a material change of use.

The locker unit was 2m high, 3.9m wide and 90cm deep and positioned on a pavement next to the forecourt shop. The lockers were filled with items between midnight and 8am five days a week using one small van. Between 8am and 11am an average of six vehicles arrived and collected items. The council argued that the unit formed a permanent structure that was attached to the building.

In deciding whether the lockers involved a use of land or built development, the inspector applied the tests set out in Cardiff Rating Authority v Guest Keen Baldwin's Iron and Steel Co Ltd (1949), which established size, permanence and physical attachment as the three primary factors. He noted that the lockers formed part of a single unit of fairly modest proportions.

They did not appear to be affixed to the building and could be moved from one position to another, he found.

He decided that the locker unit involved a use of land and not a building operation. He agreed that the use of the lockers for the distribution of goods was functionally distinct from the operation of the filling station.

However, he took the view that the scale and size of the operation had not triggered a material change of use of the whole planning unit because the commercial character and level of activity on site was not significantly different.

DCS No: 100040079; Inspector: David Brier; Written representations.

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