Pro Vision wins appeal for change of use of former creche to serviced apartments

12th November, 2019

Pro Vision has won an appeal for a change of use of a former children’s creche to serviced apartments after an application was rejected by the local council.

West Berkshire Council refused permission for a change of use and subsequent redevelopment of the creche, falling within Class D1 use, to four self-contained apartments (Class C1). The site comprises part of the ground floor of Herongate Leisure Centre, Charnham Park, Hungerford, Berkshire.

Pro Vision submitted an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate on behalf of the applicant, a property management company, and now the original decision has been overturned. The inspector ordered the council to pay full costs of the appeal on the grounds it had “acted unreasonably” in refusing the original application.

The council had argued that the site was protected as part of an employment area. In addition, it claimed the development was not compatible with the offices and light industry surrounding the leisure centre.

In the appeal decision report, the inspector said: “I consider that the presence of serviced apartments whose primary function is to serve visitors to the employment area would be of benefit to the companies located in the locality and such a use would be complementary to the employment area.

“The proposal would see the replacement of one complementary use with another and as such would not cause loss of employment floorspace that would undermine the employment strategy.”

The council registered the application as Class C1 use but incorrectly determined the development as residential use of the building (Class C3). The inspector said: “it was not the intention of the proposal to create dwelling houses at the appeal site.”

He added: “It is not uncommon for hotels and other uses falling within Class C1 to be located within employment areas.”

The apartments will provide accommodation for longer periods than people normally stay in hotels. Planning conditions include limiting the use of the apartments, so they can’t be let or occupied or let by same person for more than 90 days.

For more information see: Appeal Decision APP/W0340/W19/3230958