Employment needs secure edge of settlement expansion

The needs of a high technology company in Cambridgeshire have been sufficient to persuade an inspector that it should be allowed to build new offices and research and production facilities on part of a former second world war airfield.

The airfield had closed in 1946 and the land returned to local farmers. As a result there was little sign of the former structures and areas of hardstanding, the inspector deciding that it no longer comprised previously developed land. The appellants claimed that they had been looking for a new site for over three years and wished to remain within the area in order to avoid the loss of highly skilled employees moving to other firms. This was a somewhat nebulous argument, the inspector held, because she did not have sufficient information about what employees might ultimately do since this was a matter of personal choice and was dependent on many factors including house prices, the availability of good schools and  fondness for the immediate area. Nonetheless, she did accept that a thorough analysis of alternative sites had been undertaken and none had been identified. The site lay on the edge of a large village and the existing firm which was located only a short distance away would not lead to a material change in travel patterns.

Inspector: Gyllian Grindey; Hearing


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