DC Casebook: Community Facilities - School use held to drain home supply

The continued use of a semi-detached house in north London as a Jewish boys' school has been rejected as detrimental to the maintenance of an adequate housing supply and harmful to neighbours' amenity.

An enforcement notice against the use had been upheld in 2006, giving a compliance period of 11 months. An injunction was subsequently issued in the High Court, suspended until the end of this year. The inspector was not persuaded that the school had made serious efforts to acquire alternative premises in the meantime.

He reasoned that the logical solution was to find other school places for the boys. He was not convinced by the appellant's argument that no other Jewish school in the borough offered the same kind of religious education and guidance.

The noise issue revolved mainly around the use of the playground. The appellant argued that since PPG24 defines schools as noise-sensitive development, they cannot also be generators of noise. The inspector disagreed, remarking that a school might well generate sufficient noise to harm residential amenities.

From his visits to surrounding homes and offices, he appreciated that typical playground noise would be heard very clearly several times a day, including on Sundays. He decided that there was a significant problem of noise from the school. Taken together with the use's effects on the borough's housing supply, he concluded that permission should not be granted.

DCS Number 100-064-522

Inspector Paul Dobsen; Hearing

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