Posted: Thursday, 14 July 2016 @ 10:52
In December 2015 I discussed the problems posed to pubs and other established premises with a premises licence by changes in use and development of nearby property which would add residential occupants likely to complain about noise nuisance. See my blog on this issue.
The government has since stepped in to provide some protection where there is a proposed change of use of existing nearby premises from office or industrial use to residential which will pose a threat to an existing premises such as a pub. See my blog I posted in March. But what of the situation where there is a proposed new development of residential premises. Has anything changed?
The Court of Appeal has recently looked at the problem. In the case of Forster v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government & Ors  the owner of the George Tavern in Stepney appealed against the grant of planning permission for a 3 story residential building on the site of a former night club next door. The development included commercial use on the ground floor and 6 flats above.
Pauline Forster claimed that the development would lead to noise complaints from the new neighbours. This might lead to the loss of her late night music as a result of a review of her premises licence, or through noise abatement procedures or injunctions. She also claimed that the loss of light to a critical part of her building would have a detrimental affect on a long established photo shoot business in the upper floors of the premises. It depended on natural light though a window on to a staircase used for photography and filming.
Pauline Forster lost on the noise issue and won on the light issue. But Lord Justice Laws did say that the impact of a development on the neighbouring business in terms of noise complaints might amount to a material planning consideration. But it must be raised before the planning enquiry inspector with detail and supporting evidence. Only a general point had been made by Pauline Forster, which could not help the planning inspector reach a conclusion. There was no obvious conclusion he could reach.
So the moral of the story is that if you are faced with a development next door which involves new residential use, obtain early legal and planning advice. It is vital to gather evidence which can be put to the planning authorities. This might include noise readings at various distances from the premises when late night music is taking place.
Blog by Nigel Musgrove
Nigel has been providing dispute resolution advice as a solicitor for over 35 years. As well as advising SMEs and business owners on disputes he also offers a specialist licensing law service. View profile
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