A decision by the England Planning Inspectorate regarding the continued use of a launderette in Notting Hill, West London, shows significant weight assigned to assets of community and social value.
The owner of the launderette had applied for a change of use from the existing launderette, to a dentist surgery, another community use in its own right. The planning inspector found that the launderette remained relevant for ‘urban living’ and that there was a ‘reasonable prospect’ that the use could continue to be a viable use at the location.
The burgeoning ‘Build to Rent’ or ‘Short Term Rent’ sector in the UK & Ireland often overlooks the addition of residential facilities (such as laundry) within these schemes, and with a greater emphasis place on higher density residential apartment living resulting in ever smaller studio and 1 bedroom apartments in urban areas, decisions such as this are vital for the retention of sustainable communities. Further to this, they also offer a social outlet.
Lessons can be learned on this approach and the proper identification of community assets within cities and towns, and particularly in Dublin, where greater protection of such uses, including pubs, music venues and markets, would assist in the retention of elements of cultural and society.