Care home agreed despite change of use

An inspector has quashed an enforcement notice alleging that a bungalow in south-east London is being used as a care home despite ruling that it involved a material change of use.

The property was occupied by five adults cared for by five members of staff on a 24-hour rotation system. The appellant asserted that the use fell within class C3 of the Use Classes Order 1987 because none of the staff lived on-site, no more than six people occupied the premises and the residents lived together as a single household.

The inspector noted that major internal alterations had been made so the building could be used as a care home, including conversion of a twin garage into a games room, office and store. Circular 03/2005 advises that staff and residents of small care homes would not normally live as a single household nor fall within class C3, she recorded.

She found that the residents were incapable of looking after themselves and were dependent on support from the staff to organise the smooth running of the home. She also considered that the premises had only a limited amount of shared living space. On that basis, she decided that the property was no longer a single dwellinghouse and a material change of use had occurred.

On the planning merits, she found no indication that the use adversely affected nearby residents or the area's character despite a concentration of 22 care homes within 2km of the site. From the outside the property retained a residential appearance, she observed. She allowed the appeal subject to conditions limiting the number and type of residents and requiring parking spaces to be retained at the front of the premises.

DCS Number 100-050-880

Inspector Diane Lewis; Hearing.

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