The council had granted planning permission in 1988 authorising use of the land as a garden centre subject to a condition confining the operation to particular buildings. The appellants provided detailed site plans indicating where various types of plants and other goods were displayed outside the authorised buildings.
The council claimed that because the site had been sublet to different tenants displaying a variety of goods, individual planning units had been created every time a new tenant occupied part of the land. This prevented a continuous period of immunity from enforcement action being accrued, it maintained.
The inspector rejected this argument. He decided that the appeal site formed a single planning unit and the introduction of tenants selling a range of garden centre goods had not created separate and distinct areas. Because goods had been displayed outside and across the whole site since 1991, albeit under different owners and tenants, he was satisfied that the use had acquired immunity from enforcement.
DCS Number 100-050-495
Inspector Karl Moxon; Inquiry.