Inside information

In allowing an appeal against the refusal of prior approval for conversion of a light industrial unit in west London to eight flats an inspector has determined that “gross floor area” in Class PA of the GPDO does include internal areas such as staircases but does not include external walls (DCS Number 400-024-102).

The council contended that the inclusion of the word ‘gross’ in the GPDO appeared to be intentional, reasoning that if legislators had intended it to mean only gross internal floor space they would have inserted the word ‘internal’. In addition, in the absence of a definition of “gross floor space” in the GPDO, the council relied on the definition given in the Fees for Applications Regulations which defines gross floor space as one where measurements of floor space should be taken from the face of the external walls.

The inspector did not agree, noting that the Oxford English Dictionary defines the word ‘gross’ in its ordinary meaning as “total; without deductions”. To his mind, therefore, the presence of the word ‘gross’ prior to ‘floor space’ did not fundamentally alter the definition of floor space given in the GPDO. Rather, it simply served to underline that internal areas that might otherwise be excluded from internal floor space calculations, such as staircases, should form part of the gross calculation.

He concluded that the proposal would be permitted development, having regard to the requirements set out in paragraph PA.1 of the GPDO.

Section 4.3423 of DCP Online sets out Part 3 permitted development rights.