Going with the flow

An interesting question before an inspector recently was whether the residential conversion of a subterranean water reservoir in Devon would constitute permitted development under Schedule 2, Part 3, Class P of the GPDO (DCS Number 400-019-003).

The council had initially refused permission on the basis that the reservoir was not considered to be, or have last been, used for B8 purposes as defined in the Use Classes Order. The council’s view was that the use was not a storage use in its own right but one ancillary to the wider distribution network of the water authority, and therefore a sui generis use. Having considered counsel’s opinion, however, the council revised its view, deciding that the storage of water was a B8 use, and in the absence of a reference in the Use Classes Order as to whether such storage was ancillary to a primary use or a use in its own right. In addition, in DCS Number 400-011-208 a service reservoir had been considered to fall within the B8 Use Class.

Given that there was common ground between the appellant and the council that the building was in Class B8 use, the inspector concluded that the change of use to Class C3 from B8 would be permitted development under Schedule 2, Part 3, Class P of the GPDO. Accordingly, she granted prior approval for the change of use.

Guidance on Part 3 changes of use can be found at section 4.3423 of DCP Online.