The 11ha site in open countryside featured bird pens comprising covered sheds with open fenced runs, water towers and caravans housing staff facilities. The appellant also proposed a building 35m long and 18m wide to store equipment and machinery. Local residents claimed that the development failed to protect great crested newts on the site. They questioned the accuracy and conclusions of the appellant's ecologist and complained that traffic undermined highway safety.
The inspector noted that neither the council nor Natural England argued that permission should be withheld on the basis of adverse impact on the newts. The appellant's ecological surveys had been accepted by the main parties and showed that subject to suitable mitigation the species would not be adversely affected. Neither did the council object on highway grounds, he remarked.
However, he agreed that the visual impact was unacceptable. The features were incongruous and intrusive and eroded the site's open grassland appearance, he ruled. In his view, the pens had an industrial character and this was exacerbated by traffic generation and the caravans. Landscaping would not mitigate this impact to an acceptable level, he judged.
DCS Number 100-069-269
Inspector Clive Wilkinson; Hearing