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Our ref: W/09/01443/PN
Your ref: APP/H1840/A/09/2117517/WF
Mr R Nash
The Planning Inspectorate
Room 3/22 Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Temple Quay
Bristol
BS1 6PN
5 January 2010
Dear Mr R Nash
RE:
APPEAL SITE: Forest Farm Nurseries, Allens Hill, Pinvin, Pershore, WR10 2DU
DESCRIPTION: Construction of replacement warehouse and cold store and change of use
to limited B8 use from retail nursery and fruit and veg growing and dispatch.
REF: APP/H1840/A/09/2117517/NWF
Further to the questionnaire sent on 01/12/2009 in relation to the above appeal, please find a summary
of the Council’s argument for refusal of this application below. A list of suggested conditions to be
included should the application be approved has also been attached on a separate sheet.
The Appeal Site
The site of Forest Farm Nurseries is located in an area of open countryside outside of any defined
settlement boundary. The site is located directly adjacent to the A44 link road which connects
Worcester with Evesham. The site is a relatively isolated location, surrounding only by scattered
residential and agricultural/horticultural enterprises. The site lies approximately 450 metres
outside of the nearest settlement of Pinvin, where the development boundary is marked with
residential development to either sides of the cross roads. A map has been attached to indicate
the site’s location in relation to the nearby settlement.
The site itself is largely shielded from the adjacent roadside by tall evergreen trees, although an
opening at the existing vehicular access allows clear views of the existing residential property and
brick stable building adjacent to the roadside.
The site was previously used by a horticultural business, thereby being justified within its rural
location, and had various glasshouses located to the rear of the existing dwelling and the barn
building proposed to be replaced also being present. The site has not been used for these
purposes for many years and has thus largely fallen into disrepair. In recent years, the dilapidated
glasshouse structures have been removed from the site and the existing house refurbished and
currently rented as residential accommodation on the open market.
Anna Thompson BA (Hons)
Planning Officer (North)
Direct Dial 01386 565379 Fax 01386 561092
[email protected]
The proposed development and use of the site is for an established business who are currently
located within a local business park who deal with the packing and storage of fruit and
vegetables. The business does not produce any fruit or vegetables itself and although has
connections with local farmers for trading purposes, the Council would argue that the proposed
use of the site is strictly for B8 use (storage and distribution) and would not constitute agricultural
operations that would be considered to be more appropriate within the rural location.
Relevant Site History
The existing site has been the subject of various planning applications in recent years. Firstly,
permission was granted in 2007 for the replacement of the existing dwelling with a larger property
positioned further back on the site (ref: W/07/02247/PN) so that it was not affected to such a degree by
the proximity to the busy A44. This application was approved on 17 December 2007 and this permission
is still valid and a material start can still be made until 17 December 2010. A plan is attached to this
statement to indicate the positioning of the approved replacement dwelling. The relationship this
approved dwelling would have with the proposed warehouse can be seen in relation to the positioning of
the old pack house on the site.
In 2008 permission was also granted for the change of use of the existing brick stable building adjacent
to the existing dwelling to be converted into offices (ref: W/08/01335/CU). Due to the open countryside
location of the site, and the use of an existing building, this application was considered acceptable for
commercial use under Wychavon District Local Plan Policy RES7.
The Council’s Case
This application proposes the erection of a new building for a proposed B8 use within an area of open
countryside, by a business that does not constitute a rural or agricultural business and therefore cannot
be justified within this rural location.
The previous horticultural use on this site and any development related to it would not be considered to
be previously developed land as PPS3 excludes land that has been occupied by agricultural or forestry
buildings within the “brownfield” classification. This application was therefore assessed in terms of the
erection of a new building for non-agricultural purposes on a greenfield site, outside of a defined
settlement boundary, by a business that could not justify its rural location. The approval of this
application was therefore considered to be contrary to Wychavon District Local Plan Policy GD1,
Worcestershire County Structure Plan Policy SD4 and also the provisions of PPS7.
Furthermore, the nature and scale of the proposed business was considered to be detrimental to the
residential amenities of neighbouring properties, namely the existing dwelling on the site or the proposed
approved replacement dwelling. Both the existing dwelling and its replacement are located outside of the
site area included within this application and it cannot be assumed that the residential unit will be used in
connection with the proposed storage, packing and distribution operations proposed by this business. It
is therefore considered that the proximity of the residential unit (be that the existing or approved
dwellings) to the proposed warehouse building and the associated vehicle turning, manoeuvring and
parking areas, would be incompatible with the neighbouring residential use. Such uses within close
proximity are likely to cause noise disturbance which would harm the residential amenities of the
residents which would be contrary to Wychavon District Local Plan GD2.
The Council acknowledge that since this application has been refused, new advice has been published
by the Government in the form of PPS4, Planning for Sustainable Economic Growth. This publication
includes objectives that are based around achieving sustainable economic growth and delivering
sustainable patterns of development. PPS4 is now a material planning consideration which should be
given significant weight and which supports the Council’s reason for refusal. Approval of this application
would be considered to be contrary to Policy EC6.2 criterion (a) and (b) of PPS4. The document also
stresses within Policy EC12 that the re-use of buildings in the open countryside would be preferable.
This application proposes new development of a large scale which would not comply with criterion (b) of
EC12. It is considered that insufficient evidence has been submitted to justify why the company cannot
remain within the existing business park location and expand further, or find alternative sites within more
sustainable locations that would require us to consider the use of this open countryside site by a nonrural business as an exceptional circumstance.
I trust you now have all the information you require at this stage. If you require further assistance please
do not hesitate to contact me on the number above.
Yours sincerely,
Anna Thompson
Planning Officer (North)
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