On the nail

An inspector has declined to issue a certificate of lawfulness for the use of a vacant shop in north London as a nail bar, ruling that it would entail a material change of use requiring planning permission (DCS Number 400-020-587).

The inspector noted that the Schedule to Part A of the Use Classes Order shows Class A1 (shops) to include use for hairdressing but that the appellant’s proposed sale of nail art products and related ancillary services use, similar to what is usually described as a nail bar, is not a purpose listed in the A1 shops use class. The inspector reasoned that if not a sui generis use, the proposed use could perhaps fit within a Class A2 use which covers financial and professional services that must be offered to the general public. If that was applicable, he determined, whilst a change of use from an A2 use to an A1 use is permitted by the Order, a change of use from A1 to A2 is not.

At first sight this seems wrong, given the obvious similarities between the cutting and treatment of hair and the cutting and treatment of nails. However, a close reading of the Use Classes Order reveals that the inspector’s decision cannot be faulted. It’s not the inspector, it’s the law that’s daft.

Further information on the use class status of health and beauty salons can be found at section 17.2111 of DCP Online.