DC Casebook: Leisure and entertainment - Play centre rejected on safety grounds

The change of use of a warehouse in Hertfordshire to a children's soft play centre has been ruled out on road safety grounds, despite acceptance that it would not conflict with employment policies.

A local plan policy stipulated that existing employment premises should not be used for non-employment purposes. The inspector accepted that the proposed leisure use conflicted with this. However, he noted draft PPS4's advice that economic development is broader than businesses falling in the B use classes. Jobs generated would be comparable with general industrial or warehouse use, he noted. Given the lack of demand for the permitted use, he found that the benefits of the scheme outweighed the policy clash.

However, he expressed concerns about parking levels. The play area could accommodate up to 50 children and six staff but at most 12 parking spaces would be provided on-site. The nearest public car park was some distance away and the route was not particularly attractive or convenient, he found. In his view, demand for parking would spill over onto the remainder of the business park and undermine safety and the free flow of traffic.

DCS Number 100-064-671

Inspector Andrew Hammond; Written representations

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