DC Casebook: Housing: Conversion - Business occupancy link held excessive

A council's decision to impose a condition limiting the occupancy of a dwelling at a site in Lincolnshire has been overruled after an inspector decided that it is unnecessary.

The scheme involved the change of use of a range of barns to a dwelling, an office and two holiday cottages. The disputed condition stipulated that the dwelling should only be occupied by a person employed in an agricultural machinery business occupying a modern warehouse. The council asserted that the condition was necessary to prevent occupation by residents unconnected with the business and whose amenity might be harmed if the enterprise were to expand.

The inspector noted that the business was a small-scale operation using hand tools. The only employees were the appellant and his wife and it generated only eight deliveries a year of small manure spreaders for assembly in the warehouse. She found little evidence that it created noise or disturbance. In her view, it was unreasonable for the council to limit occupation of the dwelling on the basis that the outfit might expand in the future.

In upholding the appeal, she also awarded costs to the appellant. The condition had been imposed by the planning committee even though officers had not recommended it, she noted. Possible future expansion was not a reasonable basis, she held, especially when other statutory controls could be used to limit any statutory nuisance.

DCS Number 100-064-459

Inspector Jacqueline North; Hearing

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