Economic benefits of marquee outweigh green belt harm

The retention of a wedding marquee at a hotel and restaurant in the green belt in Yorkshire was allowed for a period of six months, an inspector finding that noise would not harm neighbours' amenity and economic considerations weighed in its favour.

The entrance lobby to the marquee connected to the main hotel building, and in total the marquee covered an area of 310 square metres. The inspector found that it was a disproportionate addition and therefore constituted inappropriate development in the green belt. He considered, however, that the temporary nature of the permission sought lessened the harm caused in relation to openness and character and appearance.

The marquee had been used to host parties and wedding receptions. On several occasions there had been complaints about noise, resulting in the service of abatement notices. However, since a noise limiter had been fitted there had been no complaints regarding music played within the marquee. Accordingly, the inspector found that the living conditions of nearby residents were not adversely affected to a significant degree. Further, he noted that the licence for the hotel and restaurant allowed it to trade well into the early hours. He therefore did not consider that noise and disturbance associated with the arrival and departure of marquee guests on a Friday and Saturday night for a limited period would result in unacceptable noise and disturbance.

Turning to other considerations, the inspector observed that the marquee was a popular entertainment facility which stimulated the local economy. When events were held in the marquee an additional three full-time equivalent staff and 15 to 20 further people were employed to prepare for and host the event. Also, permission for an extension in the same position and of a similar footprint had been granted in 2009 on the basis that the employment and economic benefits amounted to very special circumstances.

The inspector reasoned that the ongoing use of the marquee and the income from it would make commencement of the extension more, rather than less, likely. He concluded that the other considerations were considerable and clearly outweighed the harm.

Inspector Ian Radcliffe; Hearing

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