Petrol filling station consistent with road corridor and surroundings

A company promoting the use of land on the edge of a town in Essex secured permission to erect a petrol filling station, an inspector agreeing that its proximity to a main road and built development meant that it would not undermine the character of the area.

200-004-273 (Image Credit: Rapleys)
200-004-273 (Image Credit: Rapleys)

The site comprised a small wedged shaped remnant of land acquired by the county council for highway purposes when a new road system was built as part of the settlement’s expansion from a village into a town. An appeal in 1995 for a petrol station was dismissed and the site had remained undeveloped. A belt of trees lay to the rear and the rest was overgrown, the inspector observed. Although it formed part of the rural area it had little in common with the more attractive landscape beyond the site. Rather, its character was dominated by the proximity of the highway corridor, enclosed by buildings on one side and trees on the other. It also had an unkempt and unmanaged appearance and its size and shape meant that it could not be returned to beneficial agricultural use. No significant adverse impact on the character of the area would arise.

In so finding the inspector also agreed that the petrol filling station fell within the definition of a policy within the council’s core strategy regarding local transport infrastructure. There would be some impact on the amenity of occupiers in an adjoining dwelling but given the separation distance and the ability to erect a two metre high fence he did not believe these would be unduly harmful. A condition could be imposed controlling lighting, and the appeal was allowed.

Inspector: John Felgate; Inquiry

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