Office building allowed to support rural enterprise

A new office building was allowed in open countryside in Cheshire, but a new dwelling at the same agricultural services business was refused. Both were considered on the grounds of their "need" or otherwise to support a rural enterprise in accordance with Paras 28 and 55 of the NPPF respectively.

The main issues in this case, as stated by the inspector, revolved around the need or otherwise for the proposed new office and worker's dwelling at this agricultural services enterprise in this rural area. The inspector considered that the proposed office constituted the expansion of an existing building and, despite its scale, would not harm the appearance and character of the area. The inspector "was not persuaded" that suitable, available or proximate offices or sites existed for the appellant to use. He also felt that the human resources, accounting and sales functions needed to be embedded with the existing business and could not be separated as this would hinder its sustainable growth. He concluded there was a need for the office building in accordance with local plan and national policy.

With regards the proposal for an associated worker's dwelling at the site, the inspector considered the test to be whether there was an essential need in accordance with Para 55 of the NPPF as local plan policies on the issue were outdated. Having considered the nature of the enterprise which consisted of agricultural machinery servicing and contracting out, he concluded that there was no need for a worker's dwelling in terms of the efficient running of the business, security or overall viability. In addition, the appellant had failed to demonstrate other existing dwellings were not available that could be used as an alternative.

An award of costs was rejected.

Inspector: David Spencer: Hearing

 


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