The centre served a densely populated hinterland, with a high proportion of food and convenience goods shops reflecting the area's ethnic diversity. It also had a high proportion of independent shops, takeaways and restaurants. But the appellants and the council differed in their estimates of the proportion of local retail uses.
The inspector decided that even if the change of use were allowed, the retail proportion would not fall below the 55 per cent required in supplementary planning guidance for primary shopping frontages. A study had concluded that the centre was healthy and the proposed use was likely to attract as many customers as some retail uses, he noted.
In allowing the appeal, he decided that the appellants were entitled to some costs. The council had failed to offer evidence to support its objections on the grounds of noise, litter and overconcentration of non-retail uses, he ruled. The appellants were not obliged to read the planning officer's report to establish why permission had been refused because this should have been clear from the decision notice and the council's evidence, he held.
DCS Number 100-058-054
Inspector Peter Jarratt; Inquiry