Travelling light

Planning permission has been granted at appeal (DCS Number 400-027-526) for the change of use of a first floor tattoo studio in Norwich to temporary visitor accommodation despite concerns about the small size of the property.

The inspector noted that, at 31m², the gross internal floor area of the apartment was significantly below the 37m² required by the local plan to provide satisfactory living conditions. However, he found that the apartment was well-lit and satisfactorily appointed and, located in a city centre location close to services and facilities, would in most other respects offer good living conditions for an occupier. 

In order to address this policy conflict, the proposal sought approval specifically for temporary visitor accommodation as opposed to a permanently occupied dwellinghouse. The inspector agreed that the proposal would provide a suitable quality of accommodation for business or holiday visitors to the city centre, and this would provide a modest but tangible benefit to the local economy. 

The council’s reason for refusal, the inspector noted, hinged on a lack of evidence about the proposed temporary accommodation being any different from a permanent residential studio flat. He noted the case law quoted, which indicated that holiday homes were no different from permanent dwelling use. He reasoned, however, that conditions could limit occupation by the same party to no more than 28 days, specify that occupation should not be as a sole or main place of residence, and require the maintenance of and access to booking records. 

Subject to these conditions the inspector decided that the accommodation could function acceptably as proposed and offer suitable living conditions as temporary occupation, including in respect of providing adequate internal space. He concluded that the proposal would make beneficial and sustainable use of city centre floorspace without conflict with the development plan when considered as a whole. 

Section 10.3383 of DCP Online concerns indoor living space in commercial building conversions.