DC Casebook: In depth - Business expansion benefits fail to justify extension in green gap

An annexe to an industrial building on a business park close to the M5 in Gloucestershire has been rejected by an inspector who found that harm to the green belt outweighs its economic benefits.

The business park had come about through the redevelopment of a scrapyard but covered a larger area. A plot of land near the appellants' unit had also secured immunity from enforcement and was used for car storage. The inspector found it unclear why the park had been permitted in light of green belt policies, but accepted that the council had not abandoned protection of the green belt in the locality.

The appeal site formed a grass area between the side of the existing unit and another industrial estate, from which it was separated by a public footpath and hedge. The inspector held that the site formed a significant break in built development. The extension would fill almost the whole width of the plot and eradicate most of the gap between the estates, he found.

The appellants maintained that the annexe was required to provide extra space to cater for increased demand for their plastic products, many of which were highly specialist items requiring expertise that were hallmarks of their competitive edge. Negotiations had reached an advanced stage with a view to manufacturing an innovative UK-designed product for a multinational corporation, for which forecast demand would run to many millions of units.

The appellants feared that without the extension they would be faced with the prospect of having to turn business away. The inspector attached a great deal of importance to the economic benefits of the proposal but concluded that these considerations did not outweigh the harm to the green belt.

DCS Number 100-069-360

Inspector Jon Roberts; Hearing.


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