Occupancy legal agreement wins backing

An inspector has dismissed an appeal for the redevelopment of a petrol station on the Isles of Scilly after concluding that a planning agreement to restrict residential accommodation to key workers would be justified.

The council had granted permission for a petrol station and two flats on the upper floor subject to the applicant completing a legal agreement restricting occupancy of the flats to key workers or staff connected with the business. Construction began without an agreement being completed and the council issued an enforcement notice. The appellants accepted that occupancy of the flats should be restricted but suggested that a condition was preferable to a planning agreement.

The inspector noted government advice that conditions are preferable to planning agreements, provided the relevant tests set out in Circular 11/95 are met. However, in view of the islands' housing problems, he agreed that a legal agreement would be more secure because it would enable the council to monitor occupancy and detect any non-compliance. He warned that the council should not seek to ensure that occupiers were limited to 12-month tenancies, regarding this as an unreasonable restriction.

DCS Number 100-051-115

Inspector Roger Priestley; Written representations.

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