A flat refusal

The change of use of part of a ground floor shop in Leicester to three self-contained flats under Schedule 2, Part 3, Class M of the GPDO has been denied permission, an inspector declining to recognise the minimal scale of accommodation proposed as dwellings (DCS Number 400-029-654). As the debate concerning the expansion of permitted development rights continues we thought this case was one to highlight. 

The term dwellinghouse is not defined in the GPDO or in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the inspector recorded. He noted, however, that case law holds that the distinctive characteristic of a ‘dwellinghouse’ is its ability to afford those who use it the facilities required for day-to-day private domestic existence, Gravesham BC v SSE & O’Brien [1984]. 

The inspector reported that the three proposed flats each consisted of a single room with an en-suite shower and toilet separated from the rest of the room by a curtain. The floor areas of the units would vary from 7.7 square metres to 9 square metres. In order to maximise the available space, an elevated bed was shown in all three flats. This would provide sufficient space beneath for dining. However, the kitchenette in each flat would be far too small to provide sufficient space to accommodate a sink, cooking facilities and an adequate area for food preparation. Once the space taken up by the dining area, kitchenette and space for moving around within the flats was allowed for, what was left would also be too small to provide a living area that could accommodate furniture, such as an armchair and television, whilst also providing adequate space for clothes storage and other personal possessions that a small home should be able to accommodate. 

The inspector concluded that the three flats proposed were too small to provide the facilities required for day-to- day private existence and so would not constitute a dwellinghouse. Accordingly, they would not be permitted development under Class M.

Information concerning Part 3, Class M changes of use under the GPDO is set out at section 4.3423 of DCP Online.