Swimming against the tide

An enforcement notice alleging the use of a swimming pool in the garden of a bungalow in Hampshire for commercial, leisure and recreational purposes, not incidental to the lawful use as a single dwelling house, has been upheld notwithstanding the appellant’s contention that swimming lessons are educational rather than recreational or leisure uses (DCS Number 400-027-208).

The inspector ruled that whilst lessons teach skills, which might be said to be part of the remit of education, the activity of swimming is a leisure or recreational one. He found that this view was reinforced by the inclusion of swimming baths and areas for indoor sports or recreation within Class D2, Assembly and Leisure, in the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987, which suggested to him that leisure, sport and recreation are all closely associated words. He determined that the notice was not hopelessly ambiguous as to constitute a nullity; it was clear, and the appellant could have been left in no doubt as to what was the matter complained about.

We might be swimming against the tide here, but it could be argued that the ability to swim is first and foremost a survival skill which needs to be taught, and that learning to swim for recreation is really only a secondary objective of swimming lessons.

The non-domestic use of garden pools is covered at section 12.8321 of DCP Online.