Green Belt appeal decisions
Updated 11 May 2007, this page includes various recent decisions on appeals against refusal of planning consent. Summarises of appeal decisions arising from refusal of planning consent are available at www.Planning Reource.co,uk/dcs, with a copy of the decision letter also available for a fee.
'SoS' = Secretary of State. 'DETR' is now ‘DCLG’ = Dept for Communities and Local Government.
Car boot sales refused in Derby GB. It was proposed to hold 40 sales a year, well in excess of the 14 days
permitted under General Permitted Development Order 1995. Farm diversity was insufficient reason to
allow these sales on a remote site requiring car-borne shoppers made it unsustainable.
Real tennis court refused at
Equestrian facility refused in Lancs GB. No VSC were presented to
outweigh the harm to the GB, the ODPM decided in upholding an Inspector’s
refusal. The indoor menage was not an
essential element of outdoor sporting and leisure activity because an existing
outdoor sand training paddock would be removed.
It was not small-scale and the substantial building would reduce
Longer operating hours allowed at
Museum extension into other activities rejected in
Hants GB. A holistic body treatment centre and beautician’s premises were
inappropriate in the GB. The two wooden
buildings at a motor-cycle museum were permitted under various temporary
approvals since 1997. It was claimed
that these two uses were not visually intensive being screened from outside
views. They provided much-needed additional income. The inspector decided they did not relate to
the museum and were not supported by the local plan or
Motocross refused in
Staff building at
Golf driving range refused in S Yorks GB. The 24-bay range on farmland would be unduly harmful to the GB. There would also be a building 87m long by 4.8m high and 84 car parking spaces. Although appropriate in the GB it would undermine the area’s character and visual amenity. It was not well served by public transport making it unsustainable. DCS 100042344. 9.6.06
Horse and carriage store refused in Hants GB. The building 18m by 9m by 5m high was judged not to be small scale and would be mainly used to store the carriages. As such it was not small-scale or essential in supporting the horse-riding in the adjacent field. It would erode the openness. There were no VSCs. DCS 100040202. 21.1.06
Greyhound & Speedway track hospitality suite
refused in West Mids GB. The proposed large suite would
contain a bar, restaurant and shops, and house several tenants of buildings to
be demolished. The Inspector decided they
were not essential to the outdoor sports at the site since they did not
overlook the track. They were too
substantial to be ancillary. The bulk and height would be inappropriate in the
GB. Insufficient detail of the retail
activity had been submitted to ensure there would be no harm to other
shops. There was no transport assessment
to show what impact there would be on the local highways and it could attract
and accommodate many people.
Raised land level harmful to Essex BG. Permission was granted in 2000 to restore a former sand quarry for use
as a community woodland. However the
council claimed that excessive material had been imported substantially raising
the ground level that was out of character with the area. The Inspector found the level had been raised
by 4m than allowed making it inappropriate and harmful to the openness. The enforcement orders were upheld, while
acknowledging the increased activity during the landfill removal.
Scout camp refused in
Horse walker allowed in
Golf driving range refused in Staffs GB. The appeal site was a strip of fairway at a golf club. It was proposed to extend the existing
driving range by 24m and add a conservatory as shelter for spectators and
waiting players. This was part of a
proposed expansion into a regional leisure complex, restaurant and motel. The Inspector decided there was insufficient
evidence to demonstrate that it was essential for playing golf, nor that the
existing facilities were inadequate for the expanded role and function of the
club. The conservatory was desirable but
not essential. The scheme would
undermine the openness and character of the GB.
Village hall refused in
Tennis pavilion allowed at
School sports floodlights refused in Cambs
GB. The school claimed the floodlights were essential to maximise the use
of the all-weather sports pitch. The inspector decided the school curriculum
allowed sufficient flexibility to ensure reasonable use during normal school
hours. Although use of the pitch by the
school and others outside those hours was desirable it was not essential. The site had a strong rural feel with a very
low level of street lighting so these lights would introduce a block of light
undermining the character of the conservation area.
Christian meeting room refused in Derbyshire
GB. The 3.2ha site was part of a vacant farm containing a 2-storey
farmhouse, farm buildings and pig-rearing sheds. The proposal was for a 1,269 sqm. building
was supported by the council because of the reduced footprint and height,
improvements in the partially derelict
site, and absence of alternative sites in the area for a place of
worship. The DPM agreed the need for a
bigger meeting room but agreed with the Inspector that there was no need for a
green belt location. It would not cause
a visual enhancement to the openness. It
would improve it but would introduce an urban development in a rural area It did not comply with
Sports hall justified by meeting minority needs in
Berks GB. The proposal was an indoor sports hall, children’s play area,
sports field and parking for 60 cars on part of a field on the edge of an urban
area. It was primarily aimed at Sikhs
since they have to wear special clothing and many women were shy and awkward
about taking part in sports and recreation with non-Sikhs. The DPM noted that a lengthy search had been
made for a suitable site. Taken together
these were very special circumstances justifying approval. Approval was deferred pending a S106
agreement on restrictions of use and off-site highway improvements.
Diving centre upgrade refused in Met GB. The centre had about 5,000 members of which about 1,000 had
disabilities. It was proposed to add a
toilet block, enclosure building, extra car parking, walkways and
lighting. The inspector noted the
enclosure building would be similar in size to the main building and would
undermine the openness of the GB. There
was also a discrepancy in the size of the car parking area.
Yoga centre refused in Notts GB. It was proposed to convert a
farm building to a yoga centre with claims of medical benefit to users. The inspctor said the hard standing for 12
cars would have a material impact on the countryside, being visible from
various public vantage points. The
claimed medical benefits did not outweigh the harm to the GB.
Replica Roman Bathhouse refused in Herts GB. It was intended to form part of a group of former farm buildings used
for research and educational purposes.
The appellant argued the openness would not be affected since it would
be built on part of an old storage yard, and therefore within previously
developed land. The Inspector ruled that
the previous use and educational benefits did not justify allowing the scheme
to proceed since the structure would reduce openness.
Homes & golf club refused at Staffs GB. The proposal was to demolish an existing clubhouse to provide housing
and fund a new clubhouse, a maintenance shed and course improvements. The argument was that the housing would have
the same footprint as the existing clubhouse and the new clubhouse facilities
for outdoor sport, complying with PPG2.
The Inspector decided there would be a significant increase in built
development reducing the openness of the GB.
The funded improvements were not very special circumstances, and there
would not be any significant benefits to the public as a whole. DCS 100037064.
W Yorks chalets in GB refused. 10 self-catering chalets on the ski slope were not essential facilities for outdoor sport and would be visually prominent. The benefit to skiers and staff were less than the harm to the openness of the GB. DCS 100036876. May 2005.
Herts GB indoor tennis facilities refused. A Herts school was refused an inflatable ‘air-hall’ in winter, even though it would be dismantled in summer. The removal during summer was not a very special circumstance. The tennis and air-halls would cover about 30% of the site. Although PPG2 allowed essential outdoor sporting activity, this was indoors. The building and car park would be prominent, reducing the openness. The proposed building would be larger than the air-hall, reducing openness. There was no evidence that existing indoor tennis courts were suitable for outdoor use. DCS 100036905. May 2005
Tennis court outside house curtilage in Herts GB. Approved in 1999 a replacement house was built on a large plot of land. One EO required removal of the unauthorised tennis court. A second EO alleged part of the land was being used to store builders plant and machinery. The appellant claimed this adjoining land fell with the house curtilage. The Inspector found the 1999 permission excluded that area of land and, although it might have been within the curtilage of the original house, the new permission extinguished it. Neither the tennis courts of storage were incidental to the residential use. Just because the tennis courts were used by the family did not create a very special circumstance. The storage use did not fall to be considered. DCS 46738226. Nov 2004.
OPP for West Mids GB church renewed. Outline planning permission was granted in 1998 and the site allocated in the recently adopted local plan. The council was concerned that the proposal did not involve building a new parish church and might not serve the needs of the immediate area. The Diocese of B’ham agreed and did not wish to build a church there for pastoral reasons, favouring another location. The Inspector ruled that these points should have been raised during the development plan process so there was now no basis for refusal, and awarded costs against the council. DCS 32653979 Oct 2004.
Sports complex allowed in York GB. Very special circumstances included the lack of any suitable alternative site and meeting the local need for recreational and sports facilities. The modern building would use only about 5% of the 4.5ha site but this reduced the openness making it inappropriate, but would not greatly affect important views of York Minster. There was a need for football and cricket pitches but not need for anything else due to four existing swimming pools and gyms in that part of the city. He dismissed objections of competition with existing facilities since the city wanted to achieve the highest participation levels of any city. It complied with PPG6 being close to retail and leisure outlets with a frequent bus service through an adjacent retail park. DCS 30457850 Oct 2004.
Observation platform approved in Kent GB and AONB. The existing platform was 10m above the ground in a protected tree. The Inspector ruled it enabled outdoor recreation of observing wildlife at a newly-created lake in the grounds of the dwelling. A report said it did not pose a threat to the long-term future of the tree. DCS 5140021 DCS Sept 2004.
School sports hall refused in Shropshire GB. A 50-year old special school in an isolated rural location applied for a a new sports hall being about 20m by 34m in size. It would add to the complex of buildings and be completely screened from the road. The Inspector acknowledged that the pupils needed a structured therapeutic environment including physical activity with some being indoors. However the lack of details evidence made it impossible to properly assess the need for further in-door facilities. He was unable to assess whether the very special circumstances outweighed the GB considerations on openness. DCS 38738202. Sept 2004.
Paintball club refused in Met GB. The site contained a portable cabin, a storage container, poles, netting and inflatables used when paintball games were being played. The Inspector ruled that the structures were not small and not essential to the recreational use of the land. Despite government support for farm diversity it would harm the openness and character of the area. DCS 55848259. Sept
N London golf centre extension in Met GB refused. The centre was within a complex of a 9-hole course, 48-bay driving range, putting and short game practice area, indoor café and shop etc. The Inspector decided the proposed multi-functional facilities were not essential for the outdoor pursuits as a whole, neither was a demand demonstrated, as required by PPG2. The 615 m2 building would extend by 413 m2. The nearest driving range was 8km away but this was not a very special circumstance. DCS 40562547. July 2004.
NW London GB war bunker conversion to dwelling approved. The Grade11 listed 1950’s concrete bunker is on a small plateau cut into a steeply sloping wooded hillside. It is one of two remaining London war rooms that provided accommodation for military and civilian personnel in the event of a nuclear attack. It is a massive single-storey structure with minimum openings for access and ventilation and had changed little since decommissioning in 1968. The Inspector decided that the new upper floor clad in a mixture of transparent, translucent and opaque glazing would heighten the visual impact yet retain its special historic interest. It was compatible with GB policy because no major reconstruction work was required. DCS 37003848. June 2004.
Golf course netting inappropriate - In Bucks GB, netting 9.75m high and 67m long, and mounted on metal poles was erected to stop stray golf balls hitting nearby houses. The Inspector disagreed because there was no evidence to prove the course was unplayable without the netting. Existing planting had been supplemented by screening which she thought would be adequate protection. DCS 57150292. Feb 2004
Religious hall allowed in Essex GB – Located in the grounds of a multi-denominational religious institution where open-air services were already held, the new 350-seater building would be screened from view and have no adverse impact on the character of the area. It was an essential facility offering protection from the weather, which was a very special circumstance. DCS 34525610. March 2004.
Miniature railway room rejected in Herts GB - the hobby room would have housed a model of part of the East Coast Main Line at a listed priory. The Inspector said it was likely to harm the historic setting of the building and the openness of the GB. DCS 54334441 Dec 2003
Commercial fishing lake not harmful in N Yorks – Approved in 1996 as a private fishing lake one lake was used for fish breeding and the other for 60 pegs for anglers. The council refused permission for commercial fishing as inappropriate, and the car park and toilet block would reduce the openness. Traffic would harm the amenities of neighbours. The Inspector disagreed since it provided outdoor sport and leisure, the building was essential and would blend into the landscape. The car park of 30 spaces would be screened and was genuinely required. The nearest house was 60m from the site, 130m from the nearest parking and 200m from the nearest peg. Given the nature of the activity it should not be a nuisance. DCS 49937644. Nov 2003.
Bucks GB tree house too big – Located in the grounds of a large house and in the Chilterns Area of Natural Beauty, the tree house had been extended in the past. It was on a platform 5.2m by 3.5m and 3m above the ground. The appellant argued that it had a limited life, and was viewed against a wooded background in a formal part of the garden so it was not visually intrusive, but could be shielded by planting. The Inspector noted the beech tree was in poor condition; the structure projected beyond the natural canopy, and could not be shielded if viewed from the adjacent field. Temporary permission would not overcome the harmful impact. Although tree houses could be a traditional feature of wooed gardens, this one was unacceptable in the GB and AONB. DCS 300773556. October 2003.
Sunday clay pigeon shoot refused in Bristol GB – the noise for 2 and a half hours on Sundays was an unacceptable level of disturbance even though the area was under the flight path to Bristol airport. A shipping container had been put on the site as an office, store, and launch site for the targets, which reduced the openness. The impracticality of being equipment on site each Sunday did not creat a very special circumstance. DCS 51705996 October 2003.
Two beach huts at Milford-on-sea (Hants) refused – The Inspector ruled that although beach huts can be delightful facilities they were not essential for outdoor sport or recreation. The site on the lower slopes of a cliff would harm the openness of the area. Benefits would be limited to users of the huts and not the wider community. DCS 34934410. May 2003.
Herts GB tennis court on paddock refused – Houghton v SoSEnv & L/B Bromley 1995 had ruled that there should be no distinction between public and private facilities in assessing proposals form outdoor sports in the GB. The Inspector decided that this tennis court was appropriate but the 2.1m high chain-link fencing reduced the openness of the countryside. Although a 2m high fence could be erected under permitted development rights there was no evidence that this would be done of the appeal failed. DCS 52649348 April 2003.
Selby (Yorks) GB equestrian centre expansion refused – Selby District Council approved the expansion of an equestrian centre in the GB but the High Court ruled that no very special circumstance had been demonstrated. Adjoining land owners argued that the centre would adversely affect their land and set an undesirable precedent. The Judge agreed that expansion of a business did not constitute a very special circumstance. Samual Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster) v Selby DC 16 April 2003 Ref CO/4942/2002
Equestrian centre rebuild in Met GB allowed – the like-for-like rebuild would not appreciably affect the openness for the GB and a new hay barn could be designed to look like an agricultural building. A proposed mobile home would be insignificant in this large complex, and would be balanced by removal of some buildings. The improvement in the site’s appearance was a very special circumstance and compensate for a deficiency of indoor riding facilities in the area. On-site security justified the mobile home. DCS 53122094 May 2003.
Surrey GB polo ground allowed all-weather surface – The surface had been built more than four years ago so it was immune from enforcement orders. A 1.7m timber fence enclosed the land and nothing in the GPDO required the purpose of the means of enclosure to be taken into account – the Council had argued it was for the specific function of enabling polo to be played. Netting and goalposts were minor features essential for outdoor sports. Although the development was inappropriate, reducing the openness of the area, very special circumstances justified allowing the appeal. DCS 35421246 June 2003.
Shrops GB angling centre had too many facilities – Stableford Estates Ltd made two appeals, one for the change of use of the land and the other for the buildings. The latter had three floors, with a ground floor area of 250m2. The Inspector refused the building as substantial and would contain facilities not essential for angling. The seven car parking spaces would reduce the openness of the countryside. Very special circumstances were claimed for proper stewardship of the land, creating jobs, and providing a leisure facility. However these were judged not to outweigh the harm and impact on the GB. Also the appellant did explain how the excavated soil would be dealt with. DCS 56146176 June 2003.
Essex GB microlight flying refused – The grass strip in the field used for landing and take-offs harmed the amenity and privacy of neighbours and would alarm pedestrians on the nearby footpath, the planes being about at a height of about 150m. Although the GPDO allowed flying for up to 28 days a year (Mansi v Elstree RDC 1964), this did not permit a more intensive use. DCS 40703042. June 2003.
School pavilions at Middlesex GB refused - This Merchant Taylors School proposal was refused due to the extent of teh facilities provided. One pavilion was 580 msq with a bar, dining area for 92 people, kitchen and committee room. The other would be 465 msq on two floors, the upper floor could hold up to 250 people. There ould be an all-weather hockey pitch with floodlighting, a rugby pitch and car parking. The pavillion facilities were held to be excessive for a school and would harm the openness of the GB countryside and character and appearance of the area. DCS 54391126 March 2003.
GB floodlights inappropriate - A previous Inspector had allowed floodlights around a tennis court in the Berkshire GB, but the High Court quashed this decsion. A second Inspector ruled the lights to be inappropriate and harmful. PPG2 para 3.4 identified those forms of development that were appropriate. the floodlights related to a lawful residential use so it must be inappropriate because residential development was so classified, and no very special circumstances had been put forward. DCS 30860748
GB sports facilities not OK - The Inspector said it was appropriate to change the use of farmland in the Surrey GB into 2 football pitches, a cricket square, 6 tennis courts, 70 car spaces and a pavilion. the latter had 2 changing rooms, a small kitchen and social area. HOwever the use would generate considerable activity and a suburban character to the countryside. There was no evidence of need for these facilities and transport facilities were poor. He dismissed the appeal on transport and landscape grounds. DCS 40668889
GB pub canopy OK if colour changed - The Inspector approved a demountable canopy at a GB pub provided it was painted dark green instead of white, and he imposed a 5-year limit. The pub was very small and isolated and the only other pub in the village had closed. Although the canopy reduced the openness and adversely affected the setting of the listed building the application was supported by CAMRA and would increase the available space providing an important community facility. The Inspector decided that the canopy increased available space, making the pub an important community facility. S Bucks DC 6 Nov 2002 DCS 43965699
Chelsea Football Club training ground refused - This proposal at Sunbury on Thames would be an inappropriate development in the Met GB with no very special circumstances to justify approval. The proposal was to partially demolish, convert, and extend facilities at an existing golf club to provide 12 grass pitches, an all-weather floodlit pitch, training areas and facilities for spectators and staff. The DPM agreed with the Inspector that, although the pitches were open, the level of facilities taken as a whole would reduce the openness of the GB. A search for alternative sites was deemed insufficient, and the 500 hours of availability to local teams was insufficient to justify approval. The noise from spectators would harm the peace for nearby residents and cemetery visitors. Spelthorne BC 9 Oct 2002. DCS 35648986
Wooden play structure refused in GB - Located on an open hillside in the Bath conservation area, an application was made for the temporary retention of a wooden climbing frame adjoining a farm. It was refused because it harmed the setting of Bath, a world heritage site, the openness of the GB, and the Cotswolds area of outstanding natural beauty. The Inspector agreed noting that even the temporary permission could extend for many years. Bath & NE Somerset C 13 Aug 2002. DCS 30984014.
GB racecourse refused at Fairlop Water, Essex - the Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) over-ruled an Inspector, and refused a new racecourse in the Met GB. An oval all-weather track, 7-storey grandstand with a restaurant and a health & fitness centre, stables, country park and hostel for grooms was proposed on a 125 ha site of farmland and recreational use. Various appeals were involved. The Inspector said the racecourse itself was appropriate in the GB, but the associated buildings 1Km long and covering 2.25ha, and 10ha car park were inappropriate. A very special circumstance was the important and necessary contribution to a major economic and leisure interest attracting a new audience to horse racing. No assessment had been made of alternative sites at a national level, but it would represent a public benefit, and the measures proposed would mitigate the impact on the landscape. The DPM decided the benefits did not outweigh the substantial harm to the openness of the GB, the adverse impact on the landscape, ecological disturbance and increased road and public transport congestion. LB Redbridge 31 July 2002. DCS 37304853
Garden floodlights not OK in GB - The Inspector allowed floodlights for a tennis court at a private house in the GB, being intended for recreational use by the occupants making it an appropriate development. The Coucil went to Court and the Judge decided it should be referred back to the SoS because planning policies had been misapplied. The Council argued that it was detremental to the visual amenity of the locality. RB Windsor & Maidenhead 2 May 2002 Ref CO/1485/2002. UPDATE 19 July 2002 - The SoS overruled the Inspector, argeeing with the Council that the Inspector's approach was wrong and he had misapplied GB policy. The floodlights were inappropriate and no very special circumstances had bee proven.
Aberdeen tennis centre refused on GB and
sustainability grounds - Aberdeen BC supported an application
for new buildings containing tennis, badmionton and squash courts, and
swimming, fitness and dance facilities. It was called in and the Scottish Minister
agreed it met with policies to encourage sports & recreation facilities and
benefit local people. But it conflicted with structure plan GB policies, was
not appropriate to the rural character of the area and was not in a sustainable
location since it required car use. Aberdeen CC 6 June 2002.
Summerhouse & mobile home cannot be replaced
by log cabin on banks of
Rossendale (Lancs) hotel etc refused - The
1.37ha site in the
Fishing lake approved - Not in the
GB but of interest. The Inspector approved a fishing lake being a low-intensity
pursuit which would not generate peak concentrations of activity, or much
additional traffic. It would meet a Structure Plan objective of diverting
pressure for recreational activity away from more environmentally sensitive
areas. It was reasonably accessible to major transport routes and there was a
limited bus service. The landscape was unremarkable and featureless, so it
would add variety and interest. With appropriate conditions it would protect
the countryside from developments which would adversely affect the character or
amenity. Bassetlaw DC 28 Jan 2002.
Swimming pool extension at leisure club OK - A
private leisure club in the Met.GB was given permission for a 408sqm extension
for an indoor swimming pool. The Inspector said it was a sizeable increase
making it an inappropriate development. But the good screening meant that there
was limited harm to the openness, and a careful design would improve the
appearance of the building, creating a very special circumstance, coupled with
a willingness to surrender permission for a 270sqm indoor putting green.
Brentwood DC 2 Jan 2002.
Polo ground fencing refused - An
Inspector gave retrospective approval to fencing round an all-weather polo
Two chicken sheds cannot become a ballroom dance
studio - With a combined floorspace of 965msq and ridge height
of 6.75m, major reconstruction would be necessary including replacement of the
upper floors and a new roof structure. Cpouple that with a new carpark and it
became inappropriate development in the GB, undermining the openness of the
area. It did not comply with
Corporate hospitality at GB farm refused -The owner of a Surrey GB farm intended using it for corporate hospitality on 28 days a years and for grazing and training horses the rest of the year. The argument was that it was a temporary use permitted under the General Permitted Development Order 1995. The Inspector noted that the hardstandings were permanent, making it a permanent if intermittent change. This was inappropriate, as was the propsed horse paddock for private recreational use. It harmed the Surrey Hills area of outstanding natural beauty, Guildford BC 7 Nov 2001. DCS 34251421
Derby football academy permitted in GB - Derby County Football Club gained approval from the SoS for a football academy, training ground etc in the Derby GB, comprising 6 full-sized grass football pitches, 2 three quarter sized pitches & an indoor sports hall totalling 17.5ha of agricultural land. While the Inspector concluded it was an inappropriate development it would not lead to unrestricted spawl or merging of towns because of the majority of the site would remain open. The local rural scene was pleasant but unexceptional. very special circumstances were that the club needed the facilities to attract and retain talented youngsters, with a knock-on effect potentially the club's Premier League status. The club had a leading role in the city and needed to compete on an equal footing with similar clubs.
There would be limited community and educational use of the facilities and a green travel plan to asist minimise car journeys. It accorded with government guidance on promoting sporting excellence, which was a very special circumstance. A single site was needed and there were no suitable alternatives. There would be limited harm to the GB. Erewash BC 13 Aug 2001. DCS No. 42169386.
Sports facilities approved in GB - The SoS agreed with the Inspector and granted permission for a range of recreational and sporting activities on 12.8ha of GB land on the fringes of Hertford. It involved a golf driving range, a 9,150 sqm building for squash & tennis courts, swimmming pool, gym, fitness suite, restaurant & health & beuaty facilities. Outside would be another swimming pool, tennis courts, volleyball & basketball courts. The Inspector noted that the main building and a proportion of the car park would be inappropriate development. This was outweighed by a greater need for the project, its sustainable nature arising from the single location and improvements to nature conservation interests. No other sites were availablenear Hertford and a green travel plan and other measures would enhance accessability. E Herts DC 2 July 2001 - DCS No. 30303255
WW2 hangar replacement disallowed in GB - Redfhill Aerpodrome Ltd wanted to replace 2 World War 2 aircraft hangars, arguing that they related to recreational flying and were therefore appropriate development in the GB. The Inspector ruled that it was not possible to confine the use to recreational flying, and the hangars could be used commercially at some point. The propsed replacement would have a smaller footprint, but would have a greater volume, height and bulk. The propsed access and carpark were also inappropriate. there would be an encroachment on the undeveloped part of the aerodrome. The improved access and ability to enhance safety did not create a 'very special circumstance'. Tanmdridge DC 17 May 2001. DCS No. 3868600
Sports Centre in Scottish GB - Against the advice of its officers, the City of Aberdeen approved outline propsals for a 10,695 sqm building containg a swimming pool, 7 tennis courts, a fitness centre, squash and badminton courts and restaurant on a site 8km west of the city on GB land. Outside would be a further 6 tennis courts, another swimming pool and 300 car spaces. It has been referred to the Scottish Executive. May 2001.
Golf clubhouse rejected as too large and not essential in GB - Permission refused for golf clubhouse extending 805 sqm into the Bristol & Bath GB. the Inspector said it was too large for the needs of an 18-hole golf course for which permission had previousluy been granted. The appellant claimed it was the minimum to compete with the best clubs nationally and internationally. The Inspector disagreed. the pro's shop would be 89sqm, dining room 77sqm, lo8unge 87 sqm, spike bar 77sqm. exceeded 'essential'. A dining room to seat 100 at dinner was not genuinely required to play golf. In GB terms 'essential' was a strong word imposing a high standard of proof. Each case had to stand on its own merits. Costs were not awarded against the Council because it had fully substantiated its reasons for refusal, and there was no clear evidence of any inconsistency in applying GB policy. S Gloucs Council 6 March 2001 - DCS No 34137404.
Golf club extension is 'not essential' - A 20% increase in the size of a golf clubhouse was not an essential facility for outdoor sports as defined in the local plan policy. The existing toilets and changing room areas were essential and below standard, but the clubhouse also contained a bar, lounge area, committee room and large professional shop. The clubhouse had already been doubled in size when an additional 18 holes were created, and already contained facilities and services beyond 'essential'. Many of the perceived shortcomings could be addressed within the existing building, the Inspector concluded. The site was in the GB. Bournemouth BC 19 April 2001. DCS No. 35883505.
Football club development refused in GB - the SoS noted that some aspects of the scheme would be acceptable in the GB, such as the relocation of an existing sports pitch and provision of 2 7-a-side pitches and a bowling green. However the scheme had to be looked at as a whole, including the new buildings, fencing, floodlights and car parking. the new stand would be in a more elevated position and be an obtrusive spectator accommodation, and not as envisaged in PPG2.
Elements such as a gym and community room were not 'essential facilities'. Overall, the scheme would give added emphasis to the urban character of the site, and the very special circumstances of community benefit were insufficient to be an exception to GB policy. he said it was a finely balanced proposal with positive aspects but he refused to grant permission. Oldham MBC 8 March 2001 DCS No. 38840815.
Boathouse refused in GB - The Inspector did not follow a previous decision on a nearby site where it was held that a replacement boathouse was essential for outdoor use and recreation. In this case it was concluded that the boathouse was desirable but not essential. In Court, the Judge said the Inspector had taken it into account but was not bound by it. The Inspector was free to interpret 'essential'. Royal Borough of Windsor 24 Nov 2000 - CO/3165/2000. Note - PPG2 does not spell out exactly what tests to apply for being 'essential'.
New racecourse in GB? - Developers hope to build the first new racecourse in Britian for over 70 years, at Fairlop Water, East London - a former gravel pit. They have appealed against the planning refusal by L/B Redbridge, who said it was inappropriate in the GB and would have a harmful visual impact. A public inquiry will be held in January 2001.
Sports & leisure club with equestrian facilities allowed in GB - Located on a 38ha farm in the GB outside Burnley, it included indoor tennis and squash courts, gym, aerobic studios, swimming pool, refreshment facilities, and an indoor riding arena, all-weather gallop and stables. The Inspector said some elements were appropriate in the GB, but overall it was inappropriate. However very special circumstances justified approval, including meeting local deficiences and providing the town with a comprehensive range of sports and leisure facilities. The purposes and role of the GB would not be undermined since 93% of the site would remain undeveloped. Existing leisure clubs were either small-scale or located within existing leisure centres. Alternative sites had been assessed but none were suitable. Approval was subject to a S106 agreement for a green transport plan including a dedicated mini-bus. Ref T/APP/Z3635/A/00/1042705. Inquiry 6 October 2000.
Indoor riding arena refused in the GB - The High Court upheld the Inspector's decision to refuse an indoor equestrian sports centre in Barnet, despite claims that the inquiry had been unfair. Barnet refused permission because the building floor area increase from 1,865 sqm to 7,830 sqm shifted the balance from outdoor to indoor activities, making it inappropriate in the GB. The original Inspector fell ill and Belmont Riding Centre Ltd claimed that the handover notes, for the replacement Inspector, were insufficient. The judge disagreed. Ref CO/4539/1999. 12 Oct 2000.
Sports club in GB quarry site rejected - A 2 hectare quarry in Essex (Thurrock Council) was to be reclaimed for use as a sports club and outdoor recreation area in a landscaped setting. The appellant claimed this complied with GB polIcy. If that arguement was not accepted, the degraded nature of the site amounted to very special circumstances justifying permission under PPG2. The Inspector disagreed, saying this argument could be used too often. The SoS agreed that it did not fall within PPG2 definition of essential facilities for outdoor sport and outdoor recreation. There was no overriding need, and it would not have any significant effect in reducing vehicle numbers and journey lengths. Deleting a motel and restaurant from the scheme amounted to a substantial alteration. The SoS ruled that no prejudice would arise in relation to allowing third parties to comment. Hearing date 19 Sept 2000. Ref - APP/M1595/A/98/298370;Inquiry
Two councils criticised for dealings with GB sports facilities scheme - East Herts DC and Herts CC were guilty of maladministration over a planning application for outdoor sports facilities on GB land. Planning permission was granted in 1996 on the basis that the playing surfaces would be created by re-contouring snad and gravel already present on the site. The owner subsequentkly said this was not possible and required the export and import of materials, which was granted in 1997. Probnlems on the site required three extensions of time to complete the works.
Three local residents complained that both councils failed to properly control the development. The Ombudsman found maladministration in handling the case and awarded £1,500 compenmsation to one resident and £250 each to the other two.
Nine-hole golf course on GB land approved - Wyre Forest District Council refused a 9-hole course to be built next to an existing 18-hole course at Stourport on Severn. They said the landfill operation to landscape the site would be inappropriate in the GB. The inspector disagreed, saying that the resultant use would not be inappropriate. Although the landscape would change, it would rest comfortably with the undulating features of the wider landscape.