Most of us know that whether or not a change of use is a material change of use is a matter of fact and degree, but why do we accept this as conventional wisdom?
The reason lies in case law, which one of our more experienced planning inspectors has used to inform his determination of an appeal against an enforcement notice alleging an unauthorised change of use (DCS Number 400-021-452). You might wish to make a note:
“Reference is made to the case of Wood v Secretary of State for the Environment 1973 (‘Wood’) where it was found that whether or not a material change of use has occurred is a matter of fact and degree. This requires an assessment to be made on a case-by-case basis of the nature, pattern and intensity of the activities being carried out. The case of Palser v Grinling 1948 is also referred to whereby a material change means ‘considerable, solid, big’ as opposed to ‘insubstantial or de minimis’.”
Section 4.321 of DCP Online concerns the materiality test.