Pickles cites green belt harm in marina scheme refusal

Plans for a marina and up to 200 homes on green belt land to the north of Coventry have been blocked by the communities secretary, who concluded that the benefits of the scheme would not outweigh the harm to the green belt.

Pickles: refused permission for marina development
Pickles: refused permission for marina development

Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council refused to grant applicant the Ronald Wilson Trust outline permission for a development comprising a canal marina with up to 150 berths off the Coventry canal and up to 200 homes in November 2012.

A second outline application from the Ronald Wilson Trust for a development on the same site in Exhall comprising a marina – also with up to 150 berths - and up to 169 homes was refused by the local authority in March 2013.

The applicant appealed both refusals and after a public local inquiry held in July 2013 planning inspector Jessica Graham recommended that both appeals be allowed.

The inspector concluded that the benefits of both proposals "would in each case clearly outweigh the harm. This would result, in both cases, in the ‘very special circumstances’ necessary to justify granting planning permission for development in the green belt".

But in a decision letter issued today, communities secretary Eric Pickles disagreed with the inspectors conclusions and recommendations, dismissed both appeals and refused planning permission.

Pickles considered that the decisions "are very finely balanced", but in both cases he concluded that the benefits "would not clearly outweigh the harm to the green belt and other identified harm".

Pickles said that he agreed with the inspector regarding the degree of positive weight to ascribe to the provision of a marina in this location, the agreed absence of a five-year housing land supply, the provision of affordable housing and ecological benefits.

But the communities secretary placed less weight than the inspector on the new open space, foot and cycle paths, and the provision of allotments and a community building.

Click here to download the decision from Compass Online (subscription service): DCS number 200-001-263

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