High on the hog

They live high on the hog in Essex. Because there, a restaurant is reckoned to be a community facility.

In this case (DCS Number 400-022-010) the change of use of a restaurant to two residential units was rejected at appeal because it “…would have a harmful impact on the ability of the community to meet its day to day needs.”

The inspector found very limited evidence to demonstrate that the change of use would comply with development plan policy which stated that “..planning permission will not be granted for change of use of any premises that provide facilities or services which support the local community, unless the use concerned is not economically viable, could not be provided by some other means or is genuinely redundant.”

The appellant argued that the village hall was within walking distance of the site, but the inspector was not persuaded that this facility would meet the needs which were currently provided for by the appeal premises. The appellant further argued that, on the basis that the site was not in Use Class D1 and was not a public house, post office or petrol station, the appeal scheme did not fall to be considered under the development plan policy. The inspector reasoned, however, that the explanatory text which accompanied the policy referred to such uses as examples. Neither the policy nor the Framework provide a closed list of the type of facilities which could be regarded as essential to meeting the needs of local communities in rural areas, she noted. Consequently, a restaurant could be considered to be a community facility, she ruled.

We’re moving to Essex.

Section 4.1444 of DCP Online concerns the loss of community uses.