DC Casebook: Commercial and Industrial - Use restriction lifted on business units

An inspector has varied the terms of a legal agreement concerning a site in an Essex conservation area after seeing no need to limit the scope of uses that can be permitted on the land.

The site formed part of a larger area on which outline planning permission had been granted in 1994 and renewed in 2004. A planning obligation stipulated that units on the land would be limited to research and development and high-technology uses including electronic industries, precision engineering, pharmaceuticals and biochemistry. The appellants sought to widen the range of permitted industrial uses and specifically to remove the reference to high-technology uses.

The council asserted that an unrestricted range of uses in the B1 business use class would prevent the site from attracting high-technology companies requiring smaller-scale sites in a high-quality landscaped setting. It claimed that extending the scope of the obligation to include offices in general would harm the conservation area.

The inspector could find little evidence to support these claims. Uses falling in class B1 could be carried out in a residential area and would not therefore give rise to noise, vibration, odours or smoke, he reasoned. In that light, he considered it unnecessary to restrict use of the site to high-technology industries.

DCS Number 100-064-279

Inspector Roger Dyer; Hearing

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