DC Casebook: Appeal cases - Bar change held to pre-date revised order

An inspector has quashed an enforcement notice after deciding that the use of a south-east London basement as a bar was lawful and rejecting claims that it was being used as a lap-dancing club.

In 1998, the council had given planning permission for change of use from a nightclub, disco and bar to car parking at ground and basement level, a restaurant on the ground and first floors, retail units on the ground floor and five floors of apartments. The appellants argued that this allowed class A3 use over the basement, ground and first floors without limitation.

They asserted that before April 2005, when the amended Use Classes Order (UCO) came into force, the basement had been fitted out as a bar with seating areas and a separate entrance. As a consequence, they argued that the change from a restaurant to a bar had not involved a material change in use. As the planning permission was not governed by conditions restricting the particular elements of the mixed use to specific floors, the inspector agreed that any rearrangement of the layout would not constitute a breach of control.

She agreed that the introduction of the class A4 bar use in the 2005 UCO amendments would have generated a need for planning permission for conversion from a restaurant, but held that the changes to the basement had occurred before the legislation came into effect. She accepted that by October 2004 an independent bar had been established in the basement and was unrelated to the restaurant above. She found no evidence to suggest that a nightclub was operating from the premises.

DCS Number 100-051-208

Inspector Katie Peerless; Inquiry.

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