DC Casebook: Commercial and Industrial - Notice damned by illogical requirements

An enforcement notice alleging that a dwellinghouse in east London has been converted to an immigration consultancy has been struck down after an inspector decided that it was flawed and incapable of correction.

The notice asserted that a material change of use had been made from dwellinghouse in use class C3 to a financial and professional use falling within class A2. The notice required use of the first floor of the property for this purpose to cease and the residential use to be reinstated. The inspector decided that this was a serious error, in that the allegation referred to the whole of the property but the notice required the unauthorised use to cease in only part of it.

The second floor of the property had also been used as part of the immigration consultancy, he noted. If the terms of the notice were upheld, he remarked, planning permission for its continuation would be granted in accordance with section 173(11) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. As it was unclear whether the council wished this to happen, he decided that it would be unfair on the appellant to extend the terms of the notice to include the second floor.

In addition, the inspector noted that the notice required the reintroduction of the residential use. This contravened the judgement in Lipson v Secretary of State for Environment [1976], which held that an enforcement notice cannot require a former use to be resumed. It was so defective as to be beyond his powers of correction, he determined.

DCS Number 100-064-247

Inspector Martin Joyce; Written representations

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