A nice cup of tea and a sit down

In quashing an enforcement notice aimed at the unauthorised change of use of a travel agency (Class A1 use) in central London to a mixed use comprising a retail shop and a café/restaurant an inspector recognised the leisure aspect of shopping trips (DCS Number 400-013-348).

Development plan policy indicated that existing A1 retail would be protected throughout the borough except where the council considered that the unit was not viable, and the appellant had provided no evidence to show that the continued use of the appeal premises for an A1 use was not viable. Nonetheless, the inspector found that the use offered the prospect of providing more jobs than an A1 use of the premises, and increasing average spend in the area. Therefore, it was consistent with the objectives in the National Planning Policy Framework in terms of supporting economic growth and competitive town centres that promote customer choice. He considered that, on balance, these considerations outweighed the fact that the use did not accord with the development plan. In this regard he noted a study by the University of Southampton concerning the leisure aspects of shopping trips. The study, “High Street Performance & Evolution”, was published in July 2014. In summary, it produced evidence to suggest that the leisure aspect of shopping trips, including places to eat, is a significant driver of footfall in high streets. The study also suggested that the leisure offer increases both time spent within the high street as well as the average spend.

Quite. Shopping all day is exhausting.

The following DCP chapter is relevant: 16.131