Fallback argument fails to gain residential permission at builder's yard

The redevelopment of a builder's yard and workshop in Pembrokeshire with one dwelling was rejected despite the appellant's argument that it would be preferable to the fallback situation.

The site was located in gently undulating open countryside. As such, the appellant recognised the policy objections to the proposal but argued that significant weight should be attached to the fact that the development would utilise previously developed land which was supported by Planning Policy Wales Edition 7 (PPW). She further argued that the dwelling would have no material impact on the aims of sustainability when compared to the established use of the site and which could also be used for office, light industry, storage and distribution uses under permitted development rights.

The site was not conveniently located near to public transport links, nor was it served by a public footpath, the inspector recorded. He found no compelling evidence that a dwelling would be more sustainable than the established use of the site, for instance, by making a significant contribution to sustaining existing local services. He noted the suggestion that the existing buildings could be used for other uses which would not be in the interests of sustainability. However, based on the evidence he considered that these other uses were unlikely to occur. He noted the appellant’s argument that the proposal would have a more positive impact on the residential and visual amenities of the area but was of the opinion that the existing structures on the site had a modest muted appearance commensurate with their rural setting. He found no evidence to suggest that the existing access, or the level of traffic movement associated with the site, had compromised local highway safety in any way. Finally, he found no evidence to indicate the existing use of the site had detrimentally affected adjacent residential amenity by way of noise or nuisance.

On the other hand, the inspector considered that there was adequate alternative provision for the supply of employment land in the vicinity, and that the loss of the appeal site to employment related activities would be negligible. Overall, however, he concluded that the development would represent an unjustified dwelling in a rural location.

Inspector: Declan Beggan; Hearing

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