An interesting ruling on the intention of Class O of the GPDO with regard to noise impacts has come up in a recent appeal decision (DCS Number 400-018-679).
This case involved a prior approval application for the change of use of the upper floors of a building in west London from office use to 30 flats under Schedule 2, Part 3, Class O of the GPDO. The inspector identified the main issue as being whether the proposal would provide adequate living conditions for its intended occupiers by way of the impacts of noise from commercial premises.
The inspector acknowledged that the site was located on one of the main thoroughfares into the town centre. He emphasised, however, that Class O of the GPDO concerns noise from commercial premises. He considered that this means that the noise must emanate from the commercial premises. Whilst he accepted that this includes noise from associated servicing and from customers, he ruled that it does not stretch to include more indirect sources of traffic noise such as from people and vehicles being attracted to a commercial centre, or using one of its main thoroughfares. He saw no compelling evidence that when the GPDO was amended to account for noise from commercial premises that it was intended to cover such a broad range of traffic use.
The inspector concluded that, subject to a noise mitigation condition, the proposal would provide adequate living conditions for its intended occupiers by way of the impacts of noise from commercial premises.
Information about office to dwelling conversions under Part 3 of the GPDO can be found at Section 4.3423 of DCP Online.