The appellant claimed that he had explored the possibility of using the ground floor flat for occasional conference and dining use with planning officers and was told that it would be ancillary to the residential use provided no business equipment was installed and no physical changes were made to the property. He pointed out that the facility would not be open to the general public. The premises had no alcohol licence and business dinners usually ended by 11.30pm, he added.
The reporter decided that holding conferences or dinners once a week amounted to a material change of use. Although it did not operate 24 hours a day, he decided that it was not ancillary to the lawful use of the basement as a flat. He accepted that the business met a need for small-scale conference and dining facilities for private clients but concluded that it undermined residents' amenity due to increased activity and disturbance.
DCS No: OT100-044-725; Reporter: Richard Dent; Inquiry.