How to avoid sequential testing

An inspector has granted permission for a swingers club in a former agricultural building in Bedfordshire (DCS Number 400-010-769), deciding that conflict with the development plan is outweighed by other material considerations.

The council argued that the site is not in a sustainable location for the use due to its remote countryside location, and furthermore that the facility is a ‘town centre use’ and no sequential test had been submitted to demonstrate that there are no more sequentially preferable sites.

The inspector, however, reasoned that the reuse of the former agricultural building has a degree of sustainability. He also attributed weight to the appellant’s contention that the nature of the use is such that users of the facility prefer a discreet location, where there is a degree of anonymity. Whilst this might be possible in more urban or town centre locations, in his opinion it would be less likely to be the case. In addition, the inspector accepted that the use is likely to attract individuals and couples from further afield than the local area. Consequently, he considered it unlikely that they would use public transport to access the appeal site, even if were located in a town, and the fact that the use operates until 03:00 hours also added weight to the appellant’s argument that, irrespective of its location, the use of public transport is unlikely to be attractive, or even available, to his customers.

The following DCP chapters are relevant: 4.19 and 18.1314

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