The court heard submissions on behalf of Britannia Hotels and Alexander Langsam who own the hotel that the mere fact that the premises was being used by asylum seekers was not sufficient to demonstrate a breach or apprehended breach of planning control. There was no material change in use having regard to the definable character of the use.
The court described the application as “weak” and accepted that there was a lack of evidence as to the harm the use would cause if it went ahead and that there were no changes to the actual fabric of the building or the land on which the hotel is situated.
The court refused to continue the interim injunction order pending any hearing of the full claim.
This outcome is a stark reminder that it is not enough to merely assert a change of use. It is necessary to consider what, if any, factors render that change to be material in planning terms. In the absence of a material change of use, there is no breach of planning control.
Saira Kabir Sheikh KC acted on behalf of Britannia Hotels and Alexander Langsam.