The unvarnished truth

Tricky things, nail bars. In a previous blog, On the nail, we reported an appeal case in which an inspector declined to issue a certificate of lawfulness for the use of a vacant shop as a nail bar on the grounds that they fall within different use classes. In Nailed it, meanwhile, the inspector, whilst recognising that nail bars are a sui generis use, allowed the change of use of a shop to a nail bar on the grounds that they are comparable uses equally appropriate to a shopping area.

In a further twist, an inspector has quashed an enforcement notice alleging the unauthorised change of use of a shop in north London to a ‘sui generis nail bar with ancillary retail’, finding that the premises were in a mixed use (DCS Number 400-025-235).

In this case the council asserted that the primary function within the planning unit was that of a nail bar, a use which is sui generis, and the other functions including retail and the serving of coffee and cocktails were ancillary. The inspector noted that the company website set out that it was a nail bar, café and bar. Details regarding parties, including food and drinks packages and the type of music played were also provided. She considered that it would be usual for drinks to be offered at a nail bar but found that the sale of drinks, including alcoholic drinks, and the hosting of parties appeared to be a fundamental part of the offering which went beyond the functional relationship between the uses that would normally be found at a nail bar. She did not consider the café and bar element to be ancillary to the nail bar use. In drawing this conclusion, she also had regard to the likely off-site impacts of the café and cocktail bar elements of the site, noting complaints which had been made regarding noise from music and shouting from the premises.

The inspector determined that the appeal site comprised a mixed use site and went on to conclude that the notice was invalid beyond correction, and should be quashed due to uncertainty.

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