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Green Belt appeal decisions

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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.

Service stations, motels and similar are on the Hotels/restaurants page.


Weekend storage of rail wagons allowed in Yorks GB.  The sidings were part of a coal dispersal point, and then part of an approval for extracting coal and fireclay.  Weekend storage of 17 – 19 sets of wagons would undermine the openness.  However there were no other suitable sites but there was no evidence of a thorough search of alternative sites for new railway connections.  National and local plans encouraged rail freight and temporary permission was granted for 18 months to allow a thorough search.  DCS 100039666.  9.12.05

Former railway bridge to be retained in Oxford GB.  The bridge and embankment was built in the 18603 but the line closed in 1963.  The bridge had no visual merit but the unusual location in the heart of the village made it a significant contribution towards local history and gave a sense of place and identity.  Weight was placed on PPS1 that local communities should be involved when making planning decisions.  They unanimously wanted to retain the bridge and embankment.  DCS 100040820.  17.2.06

Surrey GB restaurant cannot become car showrooms – the restaurant building was somewhat eccentric, and appeared to be not well maintained, and the large car park was scruffy.  Although the replacement building would look better it was 21% bigger, reducing the openness and erode a gap between nearby settlements.  DCS 38713184  October 2003.

Biggin Hill hangar gets OK - At 160m by 40m by 12m high, the hangar could house a Boeing 737. While wishing to see the airport expand the local authority decided the hangar would harm the openness of the GB countryside. The business case was not a very special circumstance. Alternative locations were available which would not harm the Biggin Hill conservation area. The Inspector agreed with the Council, but the Secretaries of State made a joint decision allowing the appeal. They decdied other sites were not available and little evidence had been submitted to refute the appellants case of need, making a very special circumstance. Any increase in aircraft movements would be within permitted limits, and the additional employment opportunities and improved airport efficiency also counted. DCS 29689153

Slough freight exchange refused - located in the Berkshire GB, it was proposed to build a new freight exchange, an aggregates depot and a logistics centre for the construction of Heathrow Terminal 5. The Deputy Prime Minister dismissed an appeal on the grounds of harm to the openness of the GB by creating a large-scale urban intrusion and that no overriding need had been demonstrated. Although the site would be largely open and undeveloped, tree planting and bunds would provide only partial screening and there would still be an impression of an industrial estate. The DPM agreed that no suitable alternative sites were possible but aspects of the need were not compelling or convincing. The frieght exchange was unrelated to the operation of a railway system and the disbenefitsoutweighed the benefits so GB policy prevailed. Slough BC 20 Aug 2002. DCS No 35840233

Petrol station redevelopment approved. - This scheme, in the Met. GB at Feltham, Middx, would increase the retail area from 75sqm to 156sqm. The authority argued this was excessive to meet the needs of motorists, and contra to the government's policy of maintaining and enhancing town centres. The Inspector thought it a reasonable increase and compatible with town centre policies. The appellant's survey indicated only a limited increase in visits solely for shopping, and might eliminate shopping trips elsewhere. No parking spaces were necesary except for employees. There would be a small increase in the openness of the GB due to a reduction in the canopy area, with a visual improvement through new landscaping and a better quality building. L/B Hounslow 14 Aug 2001. DCS 39204827

Motorcycle training centre refused in GB - A motorcycle training centre would harm the openness of the Bristol GB, and also the setting of a nearby listed building. It would have involved building a staff dwelling, student accommodation, a sports building and hardstandings on 7.3ha of open fields on the edge of a village. It would have replaced an existing training centre north of Bristol and provide up to 50 jobs. The Inspector ruled that motorcylcing was not primarily an outdoor recreational activity but a means of transport, and was not intrinsically appropriate to the GB location. The proposal also included other facilities not connected with training - a diving tank, kiddies electric cars, tennis & badminton courts. The Inspector noted the appellant's existing centre was poorly designed and constructed, leading to misgivings about the quality of the proposal. The scheme would erde the character of the area and adversley affect the curttilage of the listed farmhouse. It would substantially harm the GB and open countryside. S Glocs C 17 July 2001. DCS No. 38305186

Bus depot refused permanent GB site  - The SOS refused the appeal despite Newcastle under Lyme Council claiming an overriding need for a rural bus service that the company provided. The inspector felt it inappropriate in the GB and the temporary buildings and parking of 60 buses and coaches on the site would cause substantial harm to the openness of the surrounding countryside. The site is about 3 km. outside the built up area of the town. The depot could be built within the built up area without undermining the viability of the rural bus service provided by the company.

Airfield - council can challenge an Inspector's decision. - The Inspector granted permission to use GB land as an airfield and for storage of aircraft. Thurrock Council challenged this decision, and the landowner took the Council to Court arguing that they did not have this power. The Court disagreed. Thurrock BC v DETR and another. 13 Dec 2000 ref CO/2247/2000 see next item

Approval of an airfield in the GB - but Council wins leave for High Court challenge. - The Planning Inspectorate approved GB land in Essex to be used as an airfield, but Thurrock Council can challenge this at the High Court. The notices alleged an unauthorised change of use at a farm in Orsett from residential and agricultural to residential and airfield, and unauthorised construction of a hardstanding and a building. The first appeal was allowed since it had been a airfield for more than 10 years. The second appeal was allowed on the basis that although the building did not constitute permitted development, he could erect another building within the boundary of his own house if he was ordered to demolish it.

Council argued that a banner-flying business had operated but ceased in 1984, and it was wrong to find that the airfield had remained a dormant use of the land. the owner agrued that the use as an airfield before 1989 was neither short-term nor temporary prior to 1989. The judge allowed the council to proceed to a full hearing saying that the council had an arguable case.


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