Sauce for the goose

Dismissing an appeal for the retention of seven studio flats in a building which had been granted planning permission for four one-bedroom flats (DCS Number 200-006-996), an inspector was not persuaded by the appellant’s argument that there are no internal space standard requirements in Part O of the GPDO.

The flats ranged between 23.5 square metres and 24.8 square metres in floor area, the inspector recorded. He found that they were overly small and cramped.

The inspector acknowledged that it is possible to convert offices into dwellinghouses under permitted development rights via Schedule 2, Part 3, Class O of the GPDO. The appellant highlighted that Class O does not specify a minimum internal space standard for dwellings, also noting that the council had approved many change of use applications for offices to dwellinghouses with flats of an equivalent size to the appeal scheme. The appellant further argued that Class O gives a strong steer in terms of the government’s approach to space standards.

The inspector was having none of this: “Planning permission is required for the development subject to this appeal, and it is reasonable to have regard to whether the size of the internal living space is sufficient.”

Whilst the Blog would in no way wish to condone the provision of the type of substandard accommodation described by the inspector, the appellant does appear to have a point. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. In the interests of evenhandedness and the avoidance of further cramped accommodation permitted under the GPDO, it must be time to consider an amendment to Part O to require minimum floorspace provision.

The following DCP section is relevant: 7.4338

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