A ray of light

22 Jul 2022

In deciding an appeal against the refusal of a certificate of lawfulness for the use of a former restaurant on a retail park in west London as a tanning salon, an inspector has shone some light on determining the relevant Use Class for the intended use (DCS Number 400-036-386).

A restaurant falls within Class E of the Use Classes Order, the inspector noted. The appellants maintained that a tanning salon use also falls within Class E, and that consequently the use of the former restaurant unit for the tanning salon would be lawful because it would not amount to development. The council, on the other hand, held that a tanning salon is a sui generis use.

The inspector reviewed various earlier appeals submitted to her by the parties and found that these demonstrated that there is no definitive view that a tanning salon use falls within Class E or that it is a use which is sui generis. She observed that the UCO includes a list of uses to be regarded as sui generis, and that the list does not include tanning salons. She found it clear, however, that the list is not definitive and other uses may also be sui generis. Therefore, it does not exclude tanning salons from being regarded as a sui generis use. 

The inspector pointed out that the onus was on the appellants to provide evidence to demonstrate that the tanning salon use fell within Class E. The appellants stated that the tanning salon would be open to visiting members of the public either on an appointment basis or as walk-in trade. To that extent the inspector found that the proposed use fell within Class E because it provided a ‘service to visiting members of the public’. Given the immediate site context, which was overtly commercial, she found that the tanning salon also met the description in Class E of a ‘service which it is appropriate to provide in a commercial, business or service locality’. 

In the circumstances of the particular case and acknowledging the generally more flexible approach advocated by government in respect of town centre uses, the inspector decided that the proposed use fell within Class E of the UCO. Accordingly, she issued a certificate of lawfulness.

The use class status of health and beauty uses is considered at section 17.2111 of DCP Online.