Filling station passed as limited harm to amenity

The site's proximity to a main road and built development has helped persuade an inspector that a proposed filling station in Essex would not have a significantly adverse effect on the area's character.

The small wedge of land had been acquired by the highways authority when roads were built as part of the settlement's expansion. It had remained undeveloped since an appeal for a petrol station was dismissed in 1995, becoming largely overgrown.

Although the site formed part of the rural area, the inspector found that it had little in common with the more attractive landscape nearby. In his view, its character was dominated by the proximity of a road enclosed by buildings and trees. Its size and shape meant it could not be returned to beneficial agricultural use, he found.

He accepted that the development would have some impact on amenity at an adjoining dwelling. However, given the separation distance, scope to build a screening fence and the prospect of a condition to control lighting, he decided that the amenity impact would not be too harmful.

Inspector: John Felgate; Inquiry

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