- asking for the concert activities being carried out at the building to be referred to Bromley council as licensing authority
- asking for consideration to be given by Bromley as to whether KICC should benefit from discretionary business rate relief.
- concurring with the officers report ro ronight’s meeting that Bromley should now take legal advice,
The Triangle planning group, in a letter to councillors, request that the plans sub-committee refers KICC’s ‘concert’ activities, which Bromley’s planners do not consider to include religious worship, to Bromley council as statutory licensing authority to investigate whether KICC requires a licence for regulated entertainment.
The Triangle planning group is also asking Bromley council to consider whether KICC’s use of the building justifies mandatory and discretionary business rates relief.
“Business rates should be in the region of £55,000 for a D2 premise of this size.
“KICC pays £00000.”
The group also concur with the officer’s comment that the current use of the premises, however infrequent, is indeed very clearly of a different character, i.e. it is a building that is being run within a religious context.
“This merits proper legal consideration as to whether this is a ‘material change of use’.
“We would ask Bromley council as the statutory planning authority to seek further legal advice on this issue and to consider how much longer KICC’s use of the building – which in our view constitutes a “ material breach” of the D2 use – will be allowed to continue and at what point will Bromley council decide there is enough evidence to enforce.
“Bromley council should not be putting the ‘self-serving’ interests of an organisation which is breaking the lawful planning use of the only significant D2 entertainment building in Crystal Palace above those of your residents and indeed the residents in the four other adjoining authorities which use Crystal Palace as their town centre and want to see it thrive.
“If plans sub-committee 2 is minded to agree with the recommendation in the report then we would strongly urge that Bromley continues to monitor KICC’s use and takes further legal advice and external legal counsel on whether a material change of use has taken place.
“It is our view that it has.
“Currently there is absolutely no incentive for KICC to sell 25 Church Road and buy a building which has the correct planning use i.e. D1.
“While KICC has been severely restricted in their use of the building, allowing them to hold events outside of the D2 planning use, which generate income for the organisation and saves them from hiring a venue with the correct planning use, it enables KICC to continue to justify their use of the building in financial terms.
“If KICC was a commercial organisation it would have to seriously consider whether owning a building which does not have the correct planning use for their charitable activities was a viable investment.
“Instead, KICC are happy to sit on an empty building where they pay zero business rates and benefit from gift aid from tax payers donations at the unlawful events they hold.
“Had 25 Church Road been put to its lawful use e.g. a cinema, it would have been used 100 per cent of the time to the benefit of the local population and would be a major driver of footfall to the town centre, and the operator would be contributing a substantial sum in business rates.
“We would note that there is still a willing commercial buyer of the premises for use within D2, that only as recently as May 2013 made another offer to KICC, which was again refused.”
REPORT TO TONIGHT’S COMMITTEE
A report to the committee says a planning contravention notice was served on KICC in February 2013 requiring further information on the existing and proposed use of the site. KICC confirmed that the following events had taken place in 2012–13.
(1) August 11th 2012,open day (for local community liaison).
(2) August 25th 2012 grand opening ceremony
(3) August 25th 2012 international business convention (seminar)
(4) November 17th 2012 an evening for one(concert)
(5) December 31st 2012 New Year “crossover” concert.
(6) February 23rd 2013 breaking educational barriers.(conference)
In response to a question relating to their intended future use of the premises the company secretary stated that any bookings taken would be for events which fall within the lawful D2 use and they would inform the council of any future events, the report added.
“The event on February 23rd 2012 took the form of an educational conference and was attended by a planning Investigation officer. “It was confirmed that there was no evidence that the premises were being used for religious purposes.
“A further event was held on July 20th 2013 advertised as .A Night of Joy‘. “This was also attended by a planning investigation officer and a planning officer, who observed that there were approximately 200 people in attendance. “There was no evidence of religious activities and it was concluded that the event fell within the lawful use.
“What amounts to a ‘material’ change of use is a matter of fact and degree but having regard to the low level of use, the infrequency of the events and the nature of the activities taking place there is considered to be insufficient evidence that a material change of use from D2 to D1 has occurred.
“Some of the events which have taken place have involved activities which fall outside Class D2 – for example the business seminar and the education conference – but the use of the premises for holding two isolated events over a period of 12 months does not amount to a material change of use.
“There have been only two events held during the first nine months of 2013 representing an extremely low level of use.”
The report to tonight’s meeting said numerous complaints have been received regarding the alleged change of use of the premises,
Councillors are being asked to vote on a recommendation that: “it would not be expedient to take enforcement action regarding an alleged material change of use but the use of the premises continue to be monitored to gain further evidence to assess whether a material change of use has occurred.”