Appeal Ref: APP/D0121/C/07/2041958
Gatcombe Farm Industrial Estate, West Hay Road, Wrington BS40 5GF
The appeal is made under section 174 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as amended by the Planning and Compensation Act 1991.
• The appeal is made by Cindabi (International) Ltd against an enforcement notice issued by North Somerset Council.
• The Council's reference is 05/0050/E.
• The notice was issued on 21 February 2007.
• The breach of planning control as alleged in the notice is without planning permission, the change of use of the land from an agricultural use to a use for the parking of vehicles.
• The requirements of the notice are: i) Cease the use of the land for the parking of
vehicles. ii) Cease parking vehicles unconnected to the agricultural use of the land and
remove all vehicles from the land.
• The period for compliance with the requirements is one month.
• The appeal is proceeding on the grounds set out in section 174(2) (a), (b) and (g) of
the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as amended.
Summary of Decision: The appeal succeeds in part and the enforcement notice is upheld with a variation
Appeal Ref: APP/D0121/A/07/2051161
Gatcombe Farm Industrial Estate, West Hay Road, Wrington BS40 5GF
• The appeal is made under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990
against a refusal to grant planning permission.
• The appeal is made by Cindabi (International) Ltd against the decision of North
• The application Ref 07/P/1072/F, dated 16 April 2007, was refused by notice dated 13 July 2007.
• The development proposed is the temporary change of use of part of the site from B1, B2, B8 use to vehicle storage for Bristol Airport passengers.
Summary of Decision: The appeal is dismissed.
1. A Section 106 Agreement was submitted at the Hearing by the appellants. The
agreement addresses the concerns of the Council regarding access onto the highway. The Council confirmed that they are satisfied that it is a correct legal document and it overcomes their objections to the proposal on highway safety.
The appeal on ground (b)
2. The appellant argues that the inclusion of a field to the north-east of the site in
the enforcement notice plan is incorrect in that it has never been used for parking of vehicles and there is no intention to use it for parking in the future.
As such those matters alleged have not occurred and the field should be deleted from the plan. The Council argue that the notice embraces the whole planning unit and the land in the ownership of the appellant. In addition, previous experience has shown, where areas in the same ownership are not included within a notice, the unauthorised activity simply moves onto the land not embraced by the notice.
3. I have no reason to doubt the appellant’s view that the field would not be used for car parking. However, I did note on site that vehicular access onto the field is readily available from the adjacent hardstanding. Moreover, the Council is entitled to anticipate changes to defeat the operation of the notice by enforcing against the planning unit as a whole. The planning unit is not under dispute and thus the appeal on ground (b) fails.
The S174 appeal on ground (a) and the S78 appeal
4. Whether the scheme constitutes inappropriate development within the Green Belt, and if so, whether there are other material considerations sufficient to clearly outweigh the harm to the green belt thus justifying the development on the basis of very special circumstances.
5. The advice found in National Planning Policy Guidance 2 (PPG2) Green Belts is
a material consideration. I consider the following policies of the North
Somerset Replacement Local Plan (NSRLP) to be relevant to the cases before
me; Policy RD/3 reflects PPG 2 and sets out what development is deemed to be
appropriate in the Green Belt. Policy GDP/2 states that development will only
be permitted if environmental pollution or harm to amenity, health or safety
can be mitigated.
6. Policy T10 states that development will only be permitted where it does not
prejudice highway safety. Policy T11 requires travel plans to be submitted
where development is likely to have significant transport implications. Policy
T12 addresses the development of Bristol International Airport and includes
locations where airport parking will be permitted.
7. In addition, Policies 1, 16 and 61 of the Joint Replacement Structure Plan
(JRSP) have been saved by direction of the Secretary of State under Schedule
8 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and address issues of
sustainability, Green Belts and the requirements of Bristol International Airport.
Policies 54 and 59 have not been saved by direction and do not form part of
8. The appeal site lies to the north of West Hay Road and consists of a number of
agricultural type buildings, associated hardstanding and field to the east. A car
repair business operates from one of the buildings as does a gaming machine
repair business from another. During my site visit cars were parked inbetween,
alongside and inside some of the redundant buildings. The site is on
the south facing slope of Cleeve Ridge and views into the site can be found
from several points to the south, including distant views on the opposite ridge.
9. The appellant contends that whilst airport parking is inappropriate development
in the Green Belt, this is only the case where it reduces openness. In this
instance the appellant argues that because of the enclosed nature of the site
with its hardstanding and range of buildings the effect on openness is very
10. I do not accept that view, the presence of parked cars, reduces openness
regardless of any existing screening or buildings. Moreover, whilst I accept
that the existing hardstanding areas could be used for the storage of materials,
it would not, in my opinion, be practical to utilise as much of the hardstanding
as is being used currently for the parking of cars. Particularly given the access
requirements of the buildings. The most important attribute of Green Belts is
their openness and I must find that the development reduces that and as such
11. Nevertheless, I have to consider if there are any other material considerations
sufficient to justify the proposal within the Green Belt on the basis of very
special circumstances. I accept that there are several established uses on the
site as indicated by the accepted description on the S78 application. The
current use, with its on-site security, has led to a reduction in vandalism and
anti-social behaviour. In addition, I have no reason to disagree with the
appellant’s statement that the use of the site does not involve traffic outside of
the hours of 0700 to 1900.
12. Also the submission of the Section 106 Agreement overcomes the Council’s
concerns regarding the highway. ODPM Circular 05/2005 Planning Obligations
states that an obligation should be given significant weight only if it is
necessary to overcome some valid planning objection to the proposed
development. Therefore, I give it significant weight as it addresses the
Council’s specific concerns regarding highway safety and meets the other tests
set out in the Circular. In light of this the proposal would not conflict with
Policies T10 and T11 of the NSRLP.
13. I also accept that the major impact upon the landscape is the buildings, when
viewed from further afield the eye is drawn by the whitewashed buildings which
are a contrast to the rural land that surrounds the farm. At the time of my
inspection, the parked cars were not obvious from distant views. However, the
day was dull and overcast and I have no doubt, given the south facing slope,
that on a sunny day reflections from cars and their windscreens would be at
odds with the surroundings. This would draw the eye and appear as an
incongruous feature in the rural landscape.
14. The argument that there is limited public visibility is not a good argument in
principle, as it could be repeated too often to the overall detriment of the
openness of the area and does not justify an unacceptable use. I do not accept
that any impact upon the landscape would be similar to any current permitted
use as it would not, to my mind, involve large blocks of parked cars. The
appellant also asked me to consider, were I minded to approve the
development, a landscaping condition to help screen the site; given the rural
nature of the site any planting would need to be native and deciduous and
would be unacceptable as it would not offer all year round screening.
15. The appellant also impressed upon me the need for parking at Bristol
International Airport and referred me to the Car Parking Solutions Study
carried out in November 2006 which indicates a shortfall of 2600 spaces next
year. This would potentially require parking to be provided outside of the
Airport boundary. I accept that the report indicates a need for further parking
however, I am also aware that the operation of the airport and need for
parking is subject to varying demands. Moreover, it would seem to me that
the provision of extra parking is the responsibility of the airport and there is
nothing before me to indicate that there are no other sites available closer to
the airport and motorway or in those areas identified in the Local Plan which
would be a less damaging solution.
16. I have also considered the issue of sustainability; the appellant has suggested
that less distance would be travelled by passengers’ cars using Gatcombe Farm
than a similar car park located close to the M5 as advocated by the NSRLP. In
addition the Council confirmed that they had over-estimated the number of
likely trips generated by the farm. The distance travelled may well be less than
that generated by another operation elsewhere however, the current use does
not promote public transport, in fact is at odds with it encouraging users to
drive to the hotel rather than use public transport and as such it conflicts with
both local and national policies which seek to reduce private car use and
promote sustainable patterns of developments.
17. Overall I consider that the harm which would be caused by inappropriateness
and that caused to the openness of the Green Belt together with the harm to
the rural landscape would not be outweighed by any other matters. As a result
there are no very special circumstances to justify the proposal. I therefore
conclude that it would not be acceptable having regard to the strict control over
new development in the Green Belt contained in national and local policies. It
would also be at conflict with the aforementioned policies of the NSRLP and the
JRSP. I have taken into account the appellant’s request for a two year
permission however, such a permission would not be appropriate given the
harm I have identified.
The appeal on ground (g)
18. It is claimed that at least six months are needed to comply with the notice and
to wind down the operation without adverse impacts upon customers who have
already booked flights and parking. In addition, time is needed by employees
to seek alternative employment. The Council argue that the appellant has
been aware of the enforcement action for sometime, the operation is not
complex and cessation does not involve substantial or complicated changes to
the physical states of the site; one month is more than adequate.
19. I have some sympathy with the appellant regarding the existing staff and
although, I have little evidence before me to substantiate the requirement for
six months to serve current bookings, I accept that many people book flights
several months ahead. Given these circumstances, four months would, in my
opinion, be more reasonable and consistent with the requirements of the notice
and I shall vary the notice to this effect.
20. The appeal on ground (g) succeeds in part.
21. For the reasons given above and having regard to all other matters raised, I
conclude that the S174 appeal as a whole should not succeed. I shall uphold
the enforcement notice with a variation and refuse to grant planning
permission on the deemed application. Similarly the S78 appeal should fail.
Appeal Ref: APP/D0121/C/07/2041958
22. I direct that the enforcement notice be corrected by the deletion of the words
one month” as the time for compliance and the substitution therefore by “four
months”. Subject to this variation I dismiss the appeal, uphold the
enforcement notice, and refuse to grant planning permission on the application
deemed to have been made under section 177(5) of the 1990 Act as amended
Appeal Ref: APP/D0121/A/07/2051161
23. I dismiss the appeal.
FOR THE APPELLANT:
Stephen Pasterfield ARTPI Solicitor and Partner,
Clarke Willmott, 1 Georges Square, Bath Street, Bristol BS1 6BA.
Jeremy Bladon BA (Hons) DipTP MRTPI
Director, CSJ Planning, 1 Host Street, Bristol BS1 5BU.
Sean McInytyre BSc (Hons) CEng MICE MIHT
Director, Key Transport Consultants Ltd, 66
Queens Square Bristol BS1 4JP.
Paul Tanner 2b Pennine Road, Oldland Common, Bristol BS30 8QD.
Roland Tanner Director Cindabi International Ltd.
FOR THE LOCAL PLANNING AUTHORITY:
Michael Cole DipTP MRTPI Principal Area Officer.
Michael Schneider Dip TP MRTPI Principal Engineer North Somerset Council.
Kevin Carlton BA DipLA ALI Landscape Officer.
Clive Hall Tall Storeys, Gatcombe Farm, West Hay Road, Wrington Bristol BS40 5NW.
David Glynn Beggars Back, West Hay Road, Wrington.
1 List of vehicle numbers.
2 Unilateral Undertaking dated 3 December 2007.
3 Bristol International Airport Car Parking Solutions Study.