The premises were used for the sale and fitting of car audio, security and air-conditioning equipment. The inspector recognised that the proposed use had some similarities with the existing one but saw a critical difference in the way that customers accessed the site. Visitors to the existing shop came on foot to inspect and compare goods and then brought their vehicles in by prior arrangement for fitting. Under the new use, he reasoned, they would arrive by road without notice to buy tyres and have them fitted.
In the absence of a forecourt, the inspector considered that a significant proportion of customers would leave vehicles on the road while making enquiries or waiting for a fitting bay. He assumed that they would expect a quick and convenient service and would not use nearby car parks or a limited area next to the building.
The inspector agreed that stationary vehicles on the road in front of the building would not harm highway safety. However, he found that they would impede the free flow of traffic on a busy link road and bus route and judged that the proposal would be harmful to highway convenience. Any adverse effect on the speed of travel by bus would undermine the government's policy of promoting sustainable transport, he added.
DCS Number 100-050-426
Inspector Martin Brookes; Written representations.