Needs to get out more

The remarks of an inspector dealing with a claim that the continued use of premises near Bristol as an A3 restaurant was lawful remind us that sometimes there is just no substitute for life experience (DCS Number 400-025-114).

The appellant argued that the premises had been in A3 restaurant use since 1999 at least. The inspector recorded that in 2005 the Use Classes Order was amended, and Class A4 introduced, so that now Class A3 is for “the sale of food and drink for consumption on the premises” and Class A4 is for “use as a public house, wine-bar or other drinking establishment”. He remarked that “Unfortunately the circular” [Circular 03/2005, issued with the amendments] “was clearly written by a person who had never been into a pub as it unhelpfully goes on to advise that A3 is for the sale of food for consumption on the premises and A4 is for the sale of alcoholic drinks for consumption on the premises.” Very few pubs, he pointed out, will fall squarely into the A4 category and it was clear to him that the vast majority will fall between the two; they will be a mixed use of A3/A4, or drinking establishments with expanded food provision.

The appellants argued that the building was clearly a restaurant, relying on various descriptions and photographs of it over time. Having considered the evidence, however, it seemed to the inspector without doubt that it had last been a pub and most likely had always been a pub. He agreed with the council that it was a sui generis mixed use. On this basis he issued a certificate of lawfulness for a mixed use of a drinking establishment with expanded food provision.

There is further information on this topic at section 4.3333 of DCP Online.