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Two Enforcement Notices Upheld Against Live/Work Units in Old Industrial Buildings

Alexander Greaves

A planning inspector has dismissed two enforcement appeals and one  s. 78 appeal which concerned the use of redundant industrial buildings for live/work units, and made an award of costs against the Appellant.

The decision contains an interesting discussion regarding the application of residential technical standards to live/work units. The Inspector found that although the residential space standards have not been devised for live/work units, they provide a useful starting point for the assessment of what amounts to a reasonable living space. He went on to find that where a work element is included, it is logical that a greater level of floorspace should be required because of the need to accommodate any necessary equipment and allow for the possibility of segregating the work area from the living area. He also found that access to outdoor space is all the more important due to the fact that occupants are likely to spend their working day and their non-working time in the same space.     

The Inspector rejected arguments put forward by the Appellant that different standards should be applied to live/work units because the occupants were content were content to live in units which provide affordable live-work accommodation that is otherwise hard to come by. In doing so, he observed that:

“Arguments to that effect are, in many ways, the antithesis of the planning system and the outcome of such a laissez-faire approach could be to drive standards down towards the unregulated conditions of the past.”

Alexander Greaves acted for the successful local planning authority.

The decision can be found here.