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Green Belt appeal decisions

Agriculture

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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. DCS ref WR 100-044-948. 3.11.06

Barn allowed in Herts GB. The barn would be sited 24m from other farm buildings which were adjacent to a Grade 11 listed farmhouse. In between would be a concrete apron for vehicles to move. A second scheme was refused which would have sited the barn only 8m from the other barns with the apron on the other side of the barn making the vehicles highly visible. The setting of the farmhouse was also important. DCS ref OT-100-045-102. 10.11.06

Car boot site refused in Kent GB. Retrospective approval was refused on appeal for this 2.5ha site, as undermining the character of the area. Council photos proved the twice-weekly event attracted hundreds of cars which overflowed the car parking area onto an adjacent field. The appellant claimed an average of 50/75 pitches and 350 cars on a well-screened site and that it was intermittent. The Inspector noted the sales were advertised in local papers attracting a large number of cars and half the filed was the car park. This urbanised use was inappropriate and the large number of cars ran counter to sustainable development. DCS OT100-045-413. 1.12.06

Polytunnels need planning permission. The High Court gave this ruling. Hall Hunter Partnership, owners of Tuesley Farm, near Godalming, Surrey in the Met Green Belt. In December 2005 a Planning Inspector ruled that these tunnels were ‘development’ requiring planning permission. The appellant argued it was an agricultural use of the land and therefore a permitted use, and that it was not a permanent building. The Court upheld the Inspector’s decision.

Retrospective approval given to agricultural worker’s dwelling in Bucks GB. The Inspector ruled that the site’s planning history and the owner’s human rights outweighed the GB policies. Permission was granted in 1995 for a dwelling at the pig farm subject to details on materials etc being agreed before development began. These matters had not been agreed before work began in 1996 and completed in 2003. Details had been submitted but there had been no response to them. Negotiations had been held with the appellant’s agent about landscaping but then an enforcement order was issued. The Inspector ruled the development was therefore unlawful, and the delay by the council did not prevent it taking enforcement action. If the notice was upheld the dwelling would have to be demolished. The appellant was entitled to assume the dwelling was lawful in view of the negotiations and the enforcement order ‘came out of the blue’. DCS 100042335. 9.6.06

Tractor store refused in Lancs GB. The steel-framed building was used to store vehicles including vintage tractors which were shown at shows. The appellant argued that they were agricultural vehicles so the store was an agricultural building, in accord with GB policies. He said there was a need to preserve early tractors and it was difficult to find suitable premises. The Inspector decided they were used as a hobby, not for agriculture. A council inspector noted in 2004 it stored classic cars, with tractors added a year later. DCS 100042104. 26.5.06

Manufacturing allowed in Bucks GB agricultural building. Manufacturing steel products in this building did not harm highway safety according to the Inspector. A former pig farm had been divided into 3 areas. This workshop was used 4 days a week with 2 operatives. The council was concerned about the poor quality access along a narrow unlit road and issued an enforcement order. The Inspector decided the use did not conflict with GB policies and there had previously been heavy traffic on this lane when it was a farm. Permission was granted personal to the appellant. And his company to provide some control over the activity. DCS 100041900. 12.5.06

Bucks GB agric workers dwelling retained. The site history and Human Rights outweighed the harm to the GB. Permission was granted in 1995 for a detached dwelling at a pig farm subject to conditions on materials etc. Work started in 1996 and was completed in 2002 but without prior approval of the reserved matters. They had been submitted but without response until 2003. The Inspector decided the development was unlawful and that enforcement action was not prevented.. However the long delay was a very special circumstance and, if the enforcement action was upheld the house would have to be demolished. The fact that the council was willing to discuss landscaping supported the appellant’s assumption of the house being lawful. The enforcement notice was a bolt from the blue was unreasonable. Although the original need for the house had gone, it could still be used for general needs of farm workers in the area. DCS 100042335. 9.6.06

Residential and leisure scheme refused in Greater Manchester GB. The 3.25 ha site at a farm was used for an equine business. The main building – Grade 11* listed – was in poor condition. It would be restored to form two houses, with 25 terraced houses built to fund restoration. A replacement equine centre would have 50 stables, a menage and a manager’s house. The Sos agreed the 25 houses would the minimum to secure funding but would extend the urban area into the countryside. This would be compounded buy the equine centre which tipped the balance against development. DCS 100042954. 28.7.06

Cheshire GB barn rebuild refused. In 2001 permission was given to convert the barn but most of it collapsed in 2004. PPG2 allowed the reuse of buildings where they are permanent, substantial and capable of conversion. This building failed to match those criteria. The appellant argued that the permission allowed some rebuilding and the end result would be the same as the proposed reconstruction, but the inspector decided this missed the point because the approved scheme had not been completed. In effect it would now be a new building which was inappropriate. Permitting small-scale schemes in the countryside could cumulatively provide significant numbers of homes and exacerbate the over-supply of housing. DCS100042964. 28.7.06

Animal feed production allowed in West Yorks GB. The inspector quashed an enforcement order against processing food waste into animal feed at a farm. There had been a material change of use from agriculture to mixed farming and industrial use and it had not been established for more than 10 years. The buildings were lawful being more than 4 years old. Appropriateness revolved around the use of the hardstandings and whether the effect of outside storage of skips and other equipment was excessive. He decided the large area in front of the industrial building diminished the openness making it inappropriate. However there was a subsidiary business selling skips accounting for half the skips. Conditions were made about the outside storage and landscaping to bring the mixed use within PPG2. Replacement of this activity by agricultural use would have little difference on the heavy vehicle movements. DCS 100042677. 14.7.06

Plant nursery allowed in West Yorks GB. On the edge of an urban area the site had an agricultural use. The appellant sought a certificate to confirm that had the council not required the land to build a road it could have been used for growing and selling plants. The inspector agreed since the site would remain in agricultural use. The inspector agreed that its use as a nursery was acceptable at the time it was decided to compulsorily acquire the land. DCS 100042862/ 21.7.06

Barn in Bucks GB not within Permitted Dev. Rights. On a 9ha agricultural holding a barn had been erected measuring 15m by 24m with a7m ridge height. It had a steel frame, low walls of concrete panels topped with green plastic-coated steel cladding. It had a stark industrial appearance, the Inspector said, and was completely out of character with the area. Deemed planning permission had been granted for a different barn under permitted dev. Rights relating to agricultural land. Peacock v SoS for Environment 1995 held that there was no presumption in favour of a proposal simply because an alternative form might have been permitted. DCS 100042768. 14.7.06

Motor home sales at Met GB garden centre refused. The site was well served by various means of transport and this development would reduce the car park, consistent with PPG13. The unauthorised motor home sales use reduced the number of trip generation so it was not unsustainable. Very special circumstances offered were the lower impact. The Inspector decided the more intensive use as a garden centre would not increase the impact on the GB openness. Although jobs would be lost this did not outweigh the harm to the GB. DCS 100042532. 23.6.06

House at Kent GB fruit farm rejected. The appellant failed to show a functional need or the farm’s financial viability. The 41ha of apple and pear orchards were falling into decline. The appellant claimed that by living on site he and his family would restore the farm and produce high quality fruit. Otherwise the orchard would be grubbed up. The inspector noted that the trees had not been sprayed or pruned and living on site would not make any difference. The orchard could be sold so they did not need to be grubbed up. DCS 100042531. 30.6.06

Barn changes not necessary in Northumberland GB. Permission had been given to convert former agricultural buildings into 5 homes and a farmhouse annexe, with demolition of the appeal building and two others. Instead an additional floor had been inserted and new window and door openings plus wood cladding on what had been three open sides. The appellant argued this made the building more attractive to tenant farmers allowing greater flexibility, but the Inspector disagreed. No agricultural appraisal had been made to prove the case. DCS100042692. 7.7.06

 

Agricultural occupancy condition lifted. Not in the GB but of interest. This condition was lifted from a dwelling in Hampshire after the Inspector agreed it was no longer justified, with costs awarded against the council. The house was built in 1995 and was in separate ownership from the farm. There was now no longer any chance of the agricultural use being re-established and a marketing exercise had been carried out. The council thought the 30% discount because of the condition was insufficient and 50% was more appropriate. The appellant argued the 30% discount was normal and the council produced no evidence to substantiate the higher figure. DCS 10040730. 10.2.06

Holiday chalets approved in Kent GB. A former hop farm had been expanded into a visitor centre in the 1980s. The proposed 64 holiday-let chalets and manager’s accommodation was inappropriate but would provide a valuable income stream helping to maintain the listed buildings on site. It would not detract from the countryside character and contribute to the local economy. These were sufficient VSCs. DCS 100040770. 10.2.06

Farm building re-use allowed in Berks GB. The use as offices and an equestrian enterprise were unrelated to farming but a genuine attempt to diversify in accordance with PPS7. It would not erode the openness or visual amenity. DCS10040873. 24.2.06

 

Free-range egg farm refused in Bucks GB. Located next to the Chilterns AONB, the units would not enhance the landscape and would be detrimental to the GB’s openness and visual amenity. The Inspector dismissed residents concerns about smell, vermin, toxic waste and flies since other legislation covered these aspects. She also dismissed concerns about bird flu. DCS 100041792. 5.5.06

Pig farm refused at Tyne & Wear GB. Potential odour would undermine the amenity of neighbours even though the proposed building housing up to 100 pigs was 100/150m from the nearest properties. Permission was also refused to retain a caravan on site even though it was alleged to replace a previous structure. The Inspector said it was materially larger and in a different part of the site. She also had doubts on the need for a resident worker, and there was insufficient evidence of the financial viability of the business. DCS 100041803 5.5.06

17m replacement chimney allowed at W Mids GB farm. Despite the genuine fears and distrust expressed by 100s of local objectors, the chimney was allowed. It would replace a 15m high chimney at a thermal oxidiser used to render animal by-products into animal feed. It complied with PPS10 and PPS23 on pollution control and prevention. The degree of reduced openness was small and the proven need for the development together with the resultant benefit to the community at large justified permission. DCS 100041742. 28.4.06

Farm building refused at religious site in Herts GB. Part of the estate of a large country house was used by the International Society of Krishna Consciousness as a theologian college and religious community. The 30,000+ visitors a year to the existing buildings saw how the cows were kept and cared for. The new 3,800 m2 building was required to house the expanded herd in winter, milking and storage. The Inspector ruled this was far in excess of the accepted need for 3,000m2 additional space , and include walkways, passages and covered accommodation. Its bulk, scale and mass would cause substantial harm to the character of the countryside. The VSC did not override the harm. DCS 100041695. 21.4.06

House at Derby GB fishery refused. The appellant claimed the manager had to live on site at the fishery for security. PPS7 says protection of livestock from theft or injury may contribute to justifying a dwelling but the Inspector ruled this was insufficient by itself. He doubted if the business could afford the construction of a dwelling, with the risk of business failure leaving the house in the countryside. There would be pressure to sell the house unencumbered. DCS 100039827. 16.12.05

 

Barn conversion allowed in Lancs GB. Major or complete reconstruction was not necessary to convert the barn to residential use. The former farm had permission for housing through conversion, change of use, alteration, extension and demolition of various parts of other buildings. The only dispute was whether the barn was of permanent and substantial construction and convertible without major reconstruction. The appellant thought about 25% of the external walls would need reconstruction, well within the accepted 33% guide figure for barn conversions. The council thought the figure would be significantly more.but the inspector thought it would be no more than 30%. DCS 100038580. 30.9.05

Residential home change to agricultural workers flats refused in Lancs GB. The change of use would harm the residential amenity due to noise and disturbance. A nearby horticultural business employed foreign workers on short term contracts of 3 to 8 months. The shift system meant 2 coaches picking up workers at 6.30am then at least twice more before 7.30am. The noise of engines, doors closing, people talking, etc would be unreasonable The inspector dismissed neighbours fears of this transient population in a stable community as groundless anxiety. DCS 100038658. 30.9.05

Landscaping contractor’s depot harmed Herts GB. After 24 years of cattle and sheep farming, this use ceased 12 years ago. The appellant recently started using the land for a tree nursery and intended to build a storage building in connection with a landscaping business for his son. No very special circumstances were claimed. The inspector decided it would reduce the openness and the buildings, vehicles and plant was harmful to the character of the rural area. DCS 100038458. 16.9.05

Free-range egg farm allowed in Notts GB. It would not harm the living conditions of neighbours and the mobile home was justified. Agricultural smells were normal in the countryside and, given the separation distance from houses and the cleaning regime, the odour would not have a material impact. The unit was sited to reduce noise and there would be no male birds. The on-site residential person was necessary for security, emergencies, deliveries and collections and day-to-day operations. The existing use was a well-established agricultural business. DCS 100039027. 28.10.05.

Agricultural worker’s bungalow refused in Surrey GB. The appellant had a 16ha sheep farm and he was unable to carry on working it so he wanted to replace a barn with a bungalow for an employee. PPG7 said that it was the needs of the enterprise, not the individual’s circumstances that counted. There was no evidence that the proposal would meet the financial test. The bungalow would have a significantly larger footprint that the barn so it would reduce openness. Also there were extensive reserves of builder’s sand and fullers earth which would need a buffer zone if they were to be exploited in the future. There was an acknowledged principle that development should not sterilize mineral resources. DCS 100039295. 18.11.05

Cattle-rearing building allowed in Staffs GB. The 85ha holding was mainly pasture used for beef cattle. About 48has had been sold off to a sand and gravel company, including the farmhouse and many of the agricultural buildings. The council claimed there were modern buildings on the site capable of conversion, so there was no need for this new one 62m by 37m with a 6m high roof. Agreeing that it was a large building the inspector held it was agricultural and related to the land use. Although the shortage of space was caused by the appellants action, there was still a need and therefore complied with GB policy. DCs 100039048. 4.11.05

Wormery approved in Surrey GB. The appellant had built 8 worm beds about 50m by 5m each surrounded by a plastic enclosure about 30cm high and covered by polythene sheeting. The inspector decided it was similar to polytunnels and looked like some form of agricultural operation. It did not harm the openness of the area and the limited visual impact and quasi-agricultural activity made it appropriate in the green belt. DCS 100037770. 22.7.05

Wording fault in Cheshire GB enforcement notice. The notice was against incorporating agricultural land as a domestic garden was quashed because it did not specify the steps required for compliance with sufficient clarity. It only required physical alterations to the site. TCPA 1990 section 173(11) says that where a notice could have required a use to cease but does not do so, planning permission is granted for that change of use once all the requirements of the notice have been complied with. This was the third time an inspector had pointed this out to the council. His powers to vary the notice did not extend to making its requirements materially more onerous. The notice was so seriously defective that it could not be varied to achieve the desired aim without causing injustice to the appellant. DCS 100037780. 2.7.05

Horse breeding is not agriculture. At a Kent Met Green Belt site a stable block had been built together with tack rooms, storage rooms and three large containers. An Enforcement Order was served and appealed against. The Inspector ruled that the containers were not a building operation so they did not require planning permission and could be retained. However Belmont v Minister of Housing 1962 found that breeding and keeping horses other than for farming was not agricultural use. Also the stable block etc size, mass and bulk reduced openness of the GB. Although dismissal might cause hardship to the appellant it did not outweigh the harm to the GB. DCS 100037220. 10 June 2005.

Chilterns polytunnel refused. The polytunnel was to provide winter accommodation for young ostriches at a Chilterns farm, but was refused as not reasonably required for agricultural purposes. The appellant claimed it would be better than the existing building since it would give better light, ventilation and space. The Inspector noted that some buildings were used for horses and storage, and there was scope in existing buildings to increase space for ostriches. The existing buildings had been adequate for rearing ostriches successfully for a sustained period. The new tunnel was not necessary and was inappropriate. DCS 100036923. May 2005.

Agricultural restriction removed at Essex GB house. The owner could not sell the house despite reducing the price by 30% due to the restriction. The council refused to remove the condition but the Inspector agreed there was do demand due to the restriction. The High Court agreed, rejecting allegations of inadequate marketing. Epping Forest DC v 1st SoS 7 March 2005. Ref CO/3800/2004

Microlight runway would harm Cheshire GB. An appeal was dismissed for two runways at a farm, being harmful to public safety and too noisy for neighbours. The openness of the countryside would be maintained and the farm would still be used for agriculture, and the essential nature of the runways made it an appropriate use of the Green Belt. However PPG24 said that in some circumstances the public perceive that general aircraft noise was more disturbing that similar noise at major airports. Despite the low power of microlights some residents had experienced noise and disturbance impacting on their amenities. He dismissed loss of privacy claims due to low flights over gardens because the flightpath was dictated by flight safety. The local air traffic control said the flights would not conflict with other aircraft movements. But the Highways Agency objected to the runway position causing low flights over the nearby motorway. He also noted a nearby bridleway where horses could be upset by low-flying planes. DCS 43552101. Jan 2005.

S Yorks GB nursery refused a house. The various activities on the 7ha site justified at least one full-time worker but not one living on site, despite evidence of fish theft. PPS7 did indicate non-agricultural dwellings in the countryside but the thefts did not justify overruling GB policies. DCS 41487933. Nov 21004

Unauthorised dormers created a new building in Kent GB. In 1999 permission was granted for a bungalow tying occupancy to a worker at an adjoining nursery. Three dormers were added creating an extra 5.2 sq.m. floor space. An EO required demolition. In Sparkes v SoSE & another 2000 it was held that a building constructed otherwise than in complete accordance with planning permission was unlawful and could be enforced against. The Inspector decided the council was correct in treating it a s a new dwelling rather than simply an amendment to the 1999 permission. The dormers accentuated the appearance as a two-storey building increasing its bulk and appearance. The building was unoccupied so nobody would be made homeless. Demolition was proportionate to the harm caused. DCS 52205448. Nov 2004.

Notts GB ex-mushroom farm approved for housing. The development would fund asbestos removal from the appellant’s farm buildings. The Inspector accepted the buildings were in poor condition and a trespassing problem, and the asbestos was a risk to all entering the buildings including the fire brigade who were often called to incidents on the land. But these were not sufficiently special circumstances. It went to Court where the judge ruled that the Inspector failed to give adequate reasons for refusal. The Inspector had accepted the risk and there was no other obvious means of funding the asbestos removal. It was not clear if refusal was a consequence of risk removal or the effects of dwellings on the GB, so the Inspector’s decision was quashed. Dowmunt-Iwaszklewicz v Ist SoS and another. 10 Nov 2004. Ref CIO/1445/2004.

Cambs GB nursery refused due to lack of business plan. The appellant claimed the tropical plant nursery on 0.75ha would be similar to one in Malta and require someone living on-site. However relatively little financial information was provided and the appellant had little knowledge of the type of business of of the Malta business. The Inspector had severe misgivings about the business’s chance of success and refused permission. DCS 33387535. Nov 2004.

Essex GB fishing lakes approved. They would not harm the Gb, the natural environment or living conditions of neighbours nor affect the performance of flood attenuation measures. A storage building for a boat and maintenance equipment were also approved. As not exsessive in relation to their function and provide an essential facility. The building and car park would be within an substantial area of planting. Adequate provision had been made to retain wildlife interest on the site. Use was limited to daylight hours. DCS 47130745. Nov 2004.

Livestock welfare justifies Met GB agricultural dwelling. At the first appeal the Inspector ruled that there was no functional need for a worker to live on the site. A second Inspector ruled that he was not bound by that first decision. A more up-to-date appraisal showed that the birds needed inspection every two hours, and faiulure of the water supply could kill the birds within hours. The business had been properly planned so he granted a 3-year temporary permission. DCS 34794492. Nov 2004

Conversion of agricultural buildings to holiday homes refused in Cheshire GB. No substantial evidence was produced to show that a particular agricultural had been in mind for work already carried out on the buildings. The appellant claimed it was a agricultural permitted development under section2 of GPDOm1995 but the Inspector disagreed. It was not permitted development and the building had been altered to encourage the works to take place. Apart from the steel frame, little else would remain. In effect it was the erection of a new building. DCS 54487464 Oct 2004.

Offices refused at North Yorks GB pig farm. The emerging local plan identifies it as a major developed site. This plan initially said the 3 ha site will be suitable for redevelopment provided there is no greater impact on the openness of the GB. Subsequently the poor access except by car caused the site to be deleted as a MDS. The Inspector decided it would be wrong to prejudge the eventual designation and the DPM agreed, despite the scheme’s neutral effect on openness. DCS 3065592. Sept 2004.

Generator building refused in Bristol GB. The appellant claimed it was allowed under GPDR part 6 schedule 2 of GPDO 1995. The Inspector decided the land was a hobby farm because no animals were kept and only occasional hay cropping took place. The building appeared more like a domestic outbuilding and it had not been designed for agricultural purposes. A further claim that it was permitted under class G part 17 was disallowed because it was erected by an individual and not a statutory undertaker for the generation, transmission or supply of electricity. DCS 31658479. Sept 2004.

Barn in Essex GB unnecessary. The appellant argued that it was permitted under GPDR part 6 schedule for an agricultural building on a holding greater that 5ha. The Inspector upheld the enforcement order since no prior notification was given by the appellant under the GPDR procedure, and the holding was less than 5ha so GPDR did not apply. He said the case was finely balanced but the barn was used to store tractors and a mower used for cropping hay with another barn used to store the hay. Therefore this barn was not used for agriculture and was inappropriate, with no very special circumstances. DCS 37700312. July 2004.

Essex GB Trailer adverts refused. MacDonalds had two directional adverts on trailers parked on the open countryside, one adjacent to the M11 motorway, and the other alongside an A road. They read ‘Tiredness kills – take a break’. The Inspector decided they were harmful to the openness of the GB due to their location, size, and bright colours, and likely to distract motorists. DCS 57991282. August 2004.

Shed and horse shelter in Bristol GB refused. The shed and horse shelters were built in the last four years and the Inspector upheld enforcement notices against them. However other enforcement notices were immune due to the passage of time relating to the material change of use of farmland to keeping horses. DCS 49722042. April 2004

Hen-house in Notts GB harmful to openness. At 78m long, 20m wide and 5.2m high the proposed hen-house at a farm would appear somewhat isolated and its impact increased by a large hard standing and feed bins. DCS 36947096. June 2004.

Worm breeding is not agriculture. Enforcement action was upheld to stop this activity on a special landscape area in the Manchester GB. Worm beds were laid out in a field used for sheep grazing. The beds were raised about 30cm and consisted of low wooden posts and rails with white plastic sheeting covering manure and woodchip mix. The worms wrre used for angling and composting green waste. The Inspector concluded worms are not covered by the ;’livestock’ definition and were not produced as human food or for use in farming the land. This activity was not ancillary to the agricultural use of the land, falling within TCPA 1990 section 55 as a development. The raised plastic-covered beds gave a developed appearance rather than agricultural use. They were visible for some distance. This diversity did not constitute a very special circumstance to justify approval. DCS 52924178. June 2004.

Trailer advert refused – A hoarding on the back of a trailer parked in the West Yorkshire GB was out of keeping with its setting. The site was in a field immediately adjoining the entrance to a farm and outdoor centre. The appellant argued PPG7 stressed the importance of rural businesses , and submitted the hoarding was needed to maintain business activity. The brightly coloured 5m wide and 2.4m high double-sided hoarding was large and clearly visible from the highway. The Inspector decided it was unduly bold and excessive and out of place in the area of attractive GB countryside. It did not comply with PPG17 which gave clear guidance on advertising. DCS 3407703. March 2004.

Fishery and Christmas Tree store allowed in W Mids GB – Located in an area where Christmas trees were grown and 7 pools were used by up to 172 anglers, a single storey building was used for toilets, office, shop, storage etc. The Inspector decided that PPG2 allowed buildings used solely for outdoor sports

 

Dorset GB animal rescue buildings refused – Located in the grounds of a house were several aviaries, a chicken house, sheds used for an animal rescue and release scheme, plus an occupied touring caravan. Planning permission had been given six years ago for a red squirrel breeding unit. The valuable work did not constitute a very special circumstance, and approval would lead to a request for a permanent caravan for security reasons. DCS 27513963. May 2003.

GB garden centre pergolas refused - 2m high pergolas supported an irrigation system had been built at a Surrey GB garden centre. The Inspector upheld an enforcement order, deciding that evidence was weak for the need for this type of irrigation, as was the need for shelter and shade for plants. It reduced the opneness and there was no very special circumstance. DCS 28688515

Abattoir extension approved - The Inspector agreed that an abattoir did not have enough space to accommodate animals awaiting slaughter. The business had changed from processing sheep instead of pigs and cattle, and regualtions required a larger space to allow recovery after the journey there. This was a very special circumstance in GB terms, so the Inspector allowed the necessary extension. Warwick DC 27 April 2001. DCS No. 32904116.

Topsoil business allowed in GB - The SoS approved an extension to an approved topsoil and turfing business for the drying, bagging, and storage of topsoil and loam at a farm in the GB. he rejected other appeals against enforcement notices relating to the construction of a building and hardstanding areas associated with the business. The Inspector said approcal of the application would reduce the operational area by concentrating the main activities within the existing site. It would allow hedgerows to be planted, operational bunds to be erected reducing the visual and aural impact etc. This would give greater control, and the SoS accepted this improvement on the fallback position of unregulated use. Tandridge DC 18 April 2001. DCS No 41755849

Lay-by flower seller banned in GB - The owner of a transit van lost his appeal to be allowed to continue selling flowers and plants on the highway verge in Derbyshire. It would extend a non-rural use into the countryside, thereby detracting from the GB, outweighin any benefits of local employment & the rural economy. Ref APP/R1010/A/00/1043794. Hearing on 27 September 2000.

Lack of agricultural justification for building - The appellant said that a partially completed building 18m by 12m, on the 20ha site in Cheshire (Macclesfield), was to be used as an egg-packing and grading station based on a flock of 4,000 birds. The local authority said it looked like a dwelling and had been erected for an ulterior motive not related to agriculture. The Inspector noted that the building had not been erected as an egg-packing station, nor had it been referred to as such in the pre-inquiry statement of case. The appellants business plan was very generalised and the building was very much bigger than required for egg-packing. The appellant proposed a condition for removal of the building within one year if business had not commenced, but the Inspector said this was unenforceable

The appellant proposed to use a tin shed to store agricultural equipment. The Council said it was poorly designed for agriculture and was not needed. The Inspector agreed, noting that the building was started in 1988 and took 10 years to complete. The appeal was lost due to its impact on the GB. Date 26 Sept 2000. Ref APP/C0630/C/00/1038320;Inquiry.

Temporary housing not allowed for Yorkshire GB quail-rearing business – In two similar cases it was decided that to be defined as agricultural activity, the animals must be bred for direct or indirect contribution to the human food chain. In this case the quails were to be food for falcons and other birds of prey, although there was a possibility of a future mixed use supplying food for humans. The appellant wanted temporary accommodation in case the heating or feeding systems failed, which could kill the quails and ruin the business. The Inspector decided the evidence did not show the business had been planned on a sound financial basis, justifying dismissal. DCS 52262267. Nov 2003.

Essex GB airfield immune from enforcement action – The site contained a dwelling house and was used for managing a beef herd. In the 1980’s a runway was created for an aircraft used for flying a display advert. An enforcement notice was issued in 1999 against aircraft movements and storage on site. On appeal the Inspector ruled that the whole planning unit was the house and airfield and its use had not changed materially in the last ten years so it was immune from this enforcement. The Court of Appeal case also reconsidered a previous enforcement decision regarding enlargement of the hangar where the Inspector held that the hangar was not within the cartilage of the house, and even if it were storage of a plane was not a normal activity connected with a house, so there were no very special circumstances. This was overturned. DCS 46128594. July 2003. (Note – there may be a parallel with helicopter use at private houses)

 Sheffield GB pigsty rebuild for housing allowed – Planning permission had been given to change the use of farm buildings to form 4 dwellings. However the sty was demolished and a similar sized building erected. Enforcement action was taken but the appellants argued they had a legitimate expectation of this falling within the terms of the permission. Notification of the start of work was not submitted until after the sty was demolished. The Inspector ruled that the ‘demolish and rebuild’ decision by the developer did not fetter the council’s ability to take enforcement action, but he granted permission since the council had authorised conversion of the pigsty of similar dimensions. DCS 3290790 July 2003.

Cheshire GB farm building conversion to housing refused – The conversion included the rebuilding of a timber lean-to, plus other extensions. The Inspector noted that the lean-to was not substantial and could not have a long-term life. The extent of rebuilding and extensions was inappropriate in the GB. Also light from the houses would spill onto adjacent fields harming the appearance and character of the rural area. DCS 55262392. July 2003.

Caravan storage at Greater Manchester GB farm refused - it was not justified as agricultural diversity, the Inspector ruled. The appellant's pig-breeding business had collapsed so he wanted to diversify into storage of caravans, in line with PPG7. The Inspector noted that this was not in the acceptable uses listed in annex C of PPG7. While that list was not exhaustive, the new use had to be compatible with the location, and this use was entirely unrelated to the character of the farm holding. DCS 34133475. May 2003

Scaffolding business refused in Gloucs GB - The retention of this business at a farm was out of character and harmful to the openness of the GB. It was not an acceptable diversification, and the number of staff cars and equipment stored on site was out of scale with the agricultural nature of the farm and rural location. DCS 38828490. May 2003

Bucks GB garden centre extension refused - Chiltern DC issued an enforcement order to stop agricultural land being used to store and display goods relating to a garden centre. The appellant claimed that the Inspector had taken no account of the previous development at the site nor the very special circumstances put forward. Also compliance with the order could be acheived by restricting the height of the stored goods. In the High Court the judge rejected these claims, concluding that the openness would be harmed. Hildreth China & Glass Ltd v 1st SoS and another. 10 March 2003. ref CO/4949/2002.

GB Cattle building refused - The Insapector upheld an enforcement order for the removal of a Lancashire GB cattle building because of its unacceptable impact on adjoining residents, within 50m of it. The local authority it was only necessary if a viable farming enterprise had already been established, but the Inspector disagreed. He noted Hill v SoSEnv & London Borough of Bromley 1992 which defined agricultur under S336 TCPA 1990, saying that it should not be confused with 'agricultural land' in permitted development regulations. GPDO 1995 required previous commercial activity, but S336 allowed future intention. He accepted that the building was used for agriculture and was appropriate in the GB, but the smells harmed the living conditions of nearby residents. On his site visit many calves appeared to be sick and 2 were dead on the floor in the building. March 2003. DCS 37687146

GB abattoir allowed - In Scotland a state of the art abattoir and 6,500 msq meat packing plant has been approved in the GB north-west of Edinburgh. It will be the first in the UK. All waste will be stored and then burnt to produce heat and power. It was necessary to relocate an abattoir at Linlithgow and the site was partly dictated by the need to retain existing staff, and to provide grazing before slaughter for the animals to reduce stress. The local authority opposed the plan on GB policy and the harm to the landscape. the Reporter (Scottish for Inspector) felt that the search for alternative sites had not been exhaustive but there was a special case of retaining the workforce. DCS 51219608 March 2003

Worcs GB equestrian hospital approved - modern farm buildings can be converted into an equestrian hospital. The Inspector decided it would not harm the openness of the GB. It was compatible with GB policy but permission did limit the hours of use. The LA was concerned that, combined with other existing and approved uses of the farm, it might affect highway safety and the GB. DCS 33387050.

Stable use restrictions are valid - A Cheshire GB farm received planning permission in 1999 for a stable block, restricting use for keeping & breeding horses. The appellant said the condition was not sufficiently precise to to clear and enforceable. The condition said it could not be used for agriculture including keeping livestock, was for the private enjoyment of the owners and not for trade or business, with horse breeding only by people living in nearby dwellings. The Inspector decided this was clear and enorceable, and prevented any reversion to agricultural use. He did permit an alteration allowing up to 20 mares and 4 permanent liveries, but not a riding school or riding centre. DCS 42336740

Microlight airstrip allowed - A Shropshire GB field can be used permanently for this use, with 2 landing strips and 9 hangars. The latter poly-tunnels were not small but housed planes with a 10m windspan, so they were not larger than necessary. Take-offs were restricted to 25 a day, and planes had to be below 450kg. DCS 33970001

House too expensive for agricultural worker - A 1969 approval restricted use of a house in the Surrey GB to argicultural workers. The house remained unsold after 8 months despite a 25% reduction in price. Attempts to sell it did not mention the restriction. Valued at 2.25m with the restriction, the Inspector agreed that it was too expensive for agricultural workers, so he lifted the restriction. DCS 43168208

Horticultural trade supplies storage OK in GB barn - Located in the Met GB, two barns had a change of use approved, restricted to equipment for the arboricultural and landscaping contractor's business. However one barn was used to store horticultural trade supplies. Planning permission was refused being detrimental to the openness of the GB due to increased activity, noise and disturbance. The Inspector noted that the building contained shop sundries such as pens, sticky tape, etc, but PPG2 did not limit the re-use of rural buildings to intrinsically rural activities. The change of use was not inappropriate. LB Bromley 20 July 2002. DCS 41403987

Herts barn conversion to B+B allowed - A Herts farmer wished to convert an under-used barn to bed & breakfast accommodation. The Council alleged it did not involve farm diversification but was focused on supporting an already successful farm. The Inspector ruled that the conversion did not require major work so it was an appropriate development in the green belt. He said government policy did not limit agricultural diversification to support of a declining enterprise. He allowed the appeal which would not harm the openness of the Chilterns area of outstanding natural beauty. Three Rivers DC 30 May 2002. DCS 38198815

Agricultural occupancy condition did not apply - Not in green belt, but of interest. A 1986 outline permission included this occupancy condition and requiring improvements to the site access before development began, which were reinforced in the reserved matters approval. The appellant said failure to comply with these 'conditions precedent' meant the dwelling was not authorised by the planning permission so there was no restriction on occupancy. There were two 1992 cases where it was held that development carried out in breach of conditions was not authorised by the planning permission. The Inspector agreed and decided that since the dwelling had been built in 1990 and used as a dwelling for 4+ years, no enforcement action could be taken. Torridge DC 30 April 2002. DCS 32980203.

Farm lake would be incongruous - An unauthorised kidney shaped lake, 94m by 74m, had been built at a 27ha farm in the Guidford green belt in an area of outstanding natural beauty and with great landscaping value. the Inspector ruled that it was an alien and artificial feature having a considerable visual impact on the area. An attempt to justify it on agricultural grounds were held to be flimsy and highly speculative. The farm contained no animals and no viable agricultural enterprise was in progress. The appeal was dismissed. Guiodford BC 18 April 2002. DCS 35320065

Refusal to reuse of farm buildings for business purposes - Appeal dismissed because suitable safeguards could not be provided to ensure the openness of the green belt was maintained.The four units, varying from 1,140 sqm to 1,500 sqm, were made of brown corrugated sheets on breeze block plinth walls. If approved it would require parking for 100 cars on a concrete surface. The Inspector agreed that PPG2 permitted reuse of buildings in the green belt subject to certain criteria. These buildings were in open countryside in a prominent and elevated position so they already had an adverse effect. Proposed landscaping etc were insufficient to maintain the openness, coupled with the car parking need and increased traffic movements. Although recent Government statements encouraged farmers to diversify these did not provide 'very special circumstances' to warrant an override established green belt policies. Calderdale MBC 25 March 2002. DCS 56611150.

Aircraft activity at farm forbidden - Thurrock BC issued two enforcement notices alleging a matreial change of use from agriculture to storage and flying aircraft, and an unauthorised hangar at a farm in the Essex green Belt. The Court of appeal upheld a High Court decision upholding these notices. The Inspector had held that 10 years use had been established and there were very special circumstances for retaining the hangar. The High Court disagreed, saying that the Inspector failed to give proper reasons for the decision. Appeal to the House of Lords was refused. Thurrocks BC v SoS DLTR 27 Feb 2002 ref C/2001/647

Cattery refused, charcoal burning allowed - The redundant poultry farm is in historic woodland, parts of which were designated sites of special scientific interest. The former poultry business was not viable. The propsed forestry activities and associated accommodation were appropriate in the green belt, justifying the temporary accommodation on a trial basis. A cattery did not need a rural location and was inappropriate, reducing the openness of the green belt. Although there were positive aspects of diversification, there was no financial appraisal of either propsal to prove the need for the propsed scale of diversification. East Herts DC 14 Feb 2002 DCS 32406053.

Agricultural dwelling restriction upheld - Not in the Green Belt but of interest. Planning permission was granted in 1961 for two dwellings restricting their occupation to agricultural workers. The Inspector refused to grant a lawful development certificate (LDC) to allow occupation by someone not employed in agriculture. Permission was granted in 1979 to convert them into one dwelling and the owner claimed this created a new planning unit without the restriction. The Inspector said the conversion did not require planning permission so the original condition remained in force. Horsham DC 8 Feb 2002. DCS 33896681

Corporate hospitality at Green Belt farm refused

The owner of a Surrey Green Belt 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

Lairage at abattoir allowed

A small cattle slaughtering business had become a huge concern exporting over 500,000 sheep carcases a year. A lairage (an animal resting area) had been built without permission. The Inspector dismissed an enforcement order because the impact on the green belt was slight, and it was needed for the animal's welfare. Warwick DC took the case to Court but the judge ruled that the Inspector's decision was not irrational. Any increase in traffic due to the increased lairage was offset by the specialisation in sheep instead of 3 animal types. Warwick DC v SoSETR 3 Oct 2001. Ref CO/2269/2001.

Existing greenhouses and sheds not classified as a 'brownfield site'

The SoS refused 10 houses on a horticultural nursery in Staffs Green belt. The local council supported it arguing that it would increase the openness of the area and the housing would be visually less intrusive that the existing glasshouses and timber sheds. The Inspector ruled housing as inappropriate in contrast with the existing agricultural use. Although the site adjoined development on 3 sides, it safeguarded land on the other boundary from encroachment. The glass in the greenhouses mitigated their bulk, and the proposed houses would be 50% taller. This agricultural use did not classify the land as 'previously developed' so it was not a brownfield site. S Staffs DC 11 July 2001. DCS No. 34565439

Hardstandings on Green Belt farm refused

Two enforcement orders were issued requiring removal of two hardstandings, connected to a track on a Herts. farm. The farmer argued they were used as bases for feeding sheep and the track prevented waterlogging. An Inspector dismissed an appeal saying they were not permitted development and harmed the openness of the Green Belt. The farmer won a High Court ruiling quashing this decision, but the Secretary of State then won a Court of Appeal decsion in favour of the enforcement orders. The Court of Appeal said a lot of material had been imported onto the site, including rubble, and the areas were not needed for agriculture. Taylor v DETR 31 July 2001 ref C/2000/3687

Static caravan & agricultural buildings accepted in green belt

the IOnspector approved an agricultiural storage barn and livestock building and a static caravan with full costs awarded to the appellant. the new buildings had been recommended by the officers and would improve the viability of the holding by increasing livestock numbers. The were appropriate in the green belt because they were reasonably required for agriculture. The temporary caravan was alos justified by clear evidence that the appellant would develop the olding and increase agricultural activity. Costs were awarded because the Council disregarded the conclusions of two agricultural consultants and its planning officers that the caravan was necessary.The appellant's commitment to enter into a legal agreement to provide a full appraisal should a permanent dwelling be sougyt also justified costs. Selby DC 4 April 2001. DCS No. 31520558.

Steel frame building necessary for agricultural purposes in green belt.

Wychavon Council refused a 372sq m. structure on a farm for the fattening of 80 beef cattle. They said that the owner had failed to demonstrate an agricultural need in the green belt. Allowing the scheme would make it difficult to resist similar applications which would progressively harm the openness of the green belt. the inspector decided that he had no reason to doubt that the proposed building was reasonably required for agricultural purposes, and was not inherently harmful.

Green Belt building to house cows during winter ruled necessary for farm operation.

A proposal for a building on green belt land for a livestock farm to house cows during the winter has been ruled as necessary for agricultural purposes. It would help the operation of the farm by addressing the severe problems of cattle churning up the g rass with their hooves when the ground is soft. - Chiltern District Council.

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