Change of use from Sui-Generis use to D2 assembly and leisure use
Officers outlined the application and referred Members to the relevant policy issues.
It was noted that land at the industrial site is located in a Primarily Employment Area as designated under Policy 24 the Local Plan, and as such a change to D2 use would be contrary to policy.
The unit had been vacated by the previous occupiers in November 2018. The Council’s Employment Land Monitoring SPG recommended a minimum period of 2 years and 3 months would be a reasonable time to attract a genuine new employment opportunity, and there was nothing to suggest that an employment user could not be found with appropriate marketing.
Members were also referred to the Town Centre and Retail Hierarchy Policy (Policy 30) and paragraph 86 of the NPPF. As a “Town Centre Use”, Class D2 was intended to be located in existing town centre sites. No sequential testing had been carried out by the Applicant and officers were aware of a number of other policy compliant locations in the Town Centre where suitably sized units to meet the Applicant’s needs were vacant.
In conclusion, a change of use to D2 was contrary to policy and officers were recommending refusal.
Mr Jon Brotherton on behalf of the Applicant, and Mr Hayden Mosely (Applicant) addressed the Committee under the Council’s public speaking rules.
During the debate Members commented on the points raised by the public speakers including that the Applicant’s gym business, Elite Fitness, already occupied the adjoining two units, and the application would allow the business to expand without having to re-locate and provide employment for additional staff. It was noted that this needed to be balanced against the policy issues, and the fact that the unit had only been vacant for a short period.
Following further discussion, two recommendations were proposed and seconded as follows:-
1. An alternative recommendation that planning permission be granted given that the applicant already occupied the adjoining two units.
2. That planning permission be refused as per the officer’s recommendation on page 46 of the agenda.
In accordance with voting procedure, the vote on recommendation 2 was taken first and was defeated. The vote on recommendation 1 was taken and carried.
With regard to conditions, Members indicated that the same conditions which applied to the existing units occupied by Elite Fitness should be extended to Unit 21.
Having regard to the development plan and to all other material considerations, planning permission be GRANTED subject to the conditions set out below.
1) The development to which this permission relates must be begun not later than the expiration of three years beginning with the date of the grant of this permission.
Reason: In accordance with the requirements of Section 91(1) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as amended by Section 51 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.
2) The development hereby approved shall be used for purposes that fall within Class D2 (Gymnasium) of the Schedule to the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended) and for no other purpose.
Reason: To define the terms under which permission for this development is granted
3) The development hereby approved shall be implemented in accordance with the following plans:
Site location plan dated 4th April 2019
Block plan dated 4th April 2019
Reason: To accurately define the permission for the avoidance of doubt
4) The use hereby approved shall operate only between the hours of 07:00 to 21:00 Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 17:00 Saturdays, and 10:00 to 16:00 Sundays, Bank and Public Holidays.
Reason: In the interests of nearby residential amenity.