Homes scheme blocked on rural business site

Harm to employment and the rural economy has prevented the redevelopment of a small industrial estate in the Cheshire countryside to provide 10 houses.

The estate provided premises for eleven businesses, although the appellant alleged that some of these were occupied by hobbyists. It was not an attractive environment and generated noise and traffic from lorries in an area with residential development nearby.

However, the inspector noted that the site was well screened and did not harm the rural character of the area, that there was no record of statutory nuisance or complaints by local residents, and that the level of occupation on the site suggested a demand for the business floorspace that it provided.

Although he accepted that the redevelopment would make a contribution to housing stock in an area without a five-year supply, the inspector was not convinced that the site could not continue to meet rural business needs, and noted that it had not been marketed for an alternative employment use.

Taking into account the site’s poor accessibility, which would make future residents dependent on cars, the inspector concluded that the scheme was unsustainable and should be dismissed.

Inspector: Helen Hockenhull; Written representations

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