A Planning Inspector has ruled that a planning condition imposed on a student accommodation development, restricting the accommodation to only be used by students, is unnecessary.
The condition at issue was originally imposed as follows:
"Nothwithstanding the provisions of the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (or any other re-enacting or revoking Order with or without modification), the premises shall only be used as student housing within use classes C3, C4 and Sui Generis and for no other purpose" ("Condition").
The appellant sought flexibility as to the category of people who could occupy the development by submitting a section 73 application to remove the Condition.
The description of development set out in the planning planning permission included 'self-contained student studio apartments.' The council argued that by removing the Condition, there was a possibility of a conflict with the description of development as without it, the premises could be occupied by any category of person. The Inspector rejected this position and concluded that the use of the term 'self-contained' in the Condition confirms that the units are single residential units, the primary use therefore being residential. The parties to the appeal agreed that despite the wording of the Condition, the apartments in this instance fell within use class C3.
The Inspector confirmed the Condition's purpose was to control occupation rather than to control use and that the removal of the Condition would not create 'new homes' or 'new dwellings' - each apartment contained sleeping/living space, cooking and bathroom facilities. Together, these elements provide the occupants with a domestic existence characteristic of use class C3.
The Inspector held that the nuances of how a student/non-student may live would not amount to a material change of use of the apartments if they were occupied by non-students. It was therefore held that the Condition was not reasonable or necessary and the appeal was granted.
Planning appeal ref: APP/M4510/W/23/3318223
"...condition's function was a way of controlling occupation, as distinct from controlling use."