DC/18/2236 - Units 53 to 54, Mackley Industrial Estate, Henfield Road, Small Dole
Ward: Bramber, Upper Beeding & Woodmancote
Applicant: Mr Austin Green
The Head of Development reported that this application sought permission for the change of use of two units from light industrial to leisure use as a ski training centre. The proposal included a revised parking layout for 16 spaces instead of 22. There would be no external alterations to the building.
One unit would include reception, office and storage areas, the other would comprise two ski ramps for giving skiing lessons. The ramps would tilt to varying angles and operate like a treadmill. The ski and snowboard sessions would be by appointment only and there would be no 'free ski' sessions as part of the proposed use. The training centre would operate between 9am and 10pm Tuesday to Sunday.
The application site was located in the built-up area of Small Dole within Mackley Industrial Estate, a Key Employment Area in the district. Access to the site was off Henfield Road. The South Downs National Park boundary was approximately 70 metres to the east and there was Ancient Woodland directly north of the units. A public footpath ran to the west of the buildings; its current route was a long standing illegal diversion and officers recommended that the owner applies for a legal diversion.
The Parish Council raised no objection to the application. Thirteen representations in support of the proposal had been received. A representative of the ski training business and a representative of Mackley Industrial Estate both spoke in support of the application and the applicant’s agent addressed the Committee in support of the proposal.
Members considered the officer’s planning assessment which indicated that the key issues for consideration in determining the proposal were: the principle of development; the applicant’s business plan and supporting information; the loss of a light industrial site within a Key Employment Area; impact on residential and visual amenity; highways and parking.
With regards to policy concerns regarding the loss of B1 employment space, Members noted that the proposal would generate employment for up to 14 people, significantly more than the previous occupant. Members also noted that, whilst the units had not been formally advertised, other units on the site had been vacant and advertised since July 2017.
Members discussed the significant community and employment benefits of this particular proposal and noted the existing availability of B1 use units in the vicinity, and concluded that the proposal was acceptable.
Members agreed that in order to protect the integrity of the Industrial Estate a condition should be included to restrict the change of use to the current proposal, and that should this particular business leave the premises it should revert to B1 use.
That planning application DC/18/2236 be granted, subject to the following condition:
Notwithstanding the provisions of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (or any order amending or revoking and/or re-enacting that Order), the premises at Units 53 and 54 hereby permitted shall operate as a ski training centre only and for no other purposes whatsoever, (including those falling within Class D2 as defined in the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987, or in any provision equivalent to that Class in any statutory instrument revoking and re-enacting that Order with or without modification). The ski training centre shall not be open or otherwise accessible to the public other than by way of appointment and upon cessation of use of Units 53 and 54 as a ski training centre, the respective units shall revert back to Class B1 use.
Reason: As the change of use is only considered acceptable on the basis on the specific business model proposed and to ensure the retention of employment floorspace within this designated Key Employment site in accordance with Policy 9 of the Horsham District Planning Framework (2015).
The proposed development would result in employment generation within this Key Employment Area. Whilst full marketing of the site has not been provided it is considered that the unique business proposal for the site is sufficient to ensure compliance with Policy 9, subject to the above condition relating to use of the unit.