A planning permission for a smaller clubhouse to house fish breeding tanks had been granted at the site in 1997 but had now lapsed. The current proposal included a dual-purpose single storey structure to provide for theoretical aspects of angling alongside practical lessons at the reservoir, plus general facilities for anglers using the existing ten fishing stations at the lake. The building was to be sited alongside existing residential properties, but the inspector felt the site, being adjacent to open countryside was on the rural fringe. Despite being within the boundary of the angling club, she felt the site had an open and rural character and a new building here would not only lead to a moderate loss of openness but would result in encroachment into the open countryside, contrary to adopted local and national policy to protect the green belt. She also felt the proposal was unnecessarily large compared to that previously approved at the site and was located at a prominent position at the entrance to the site leading to harm to the appearance and character of the area.
In reviewing the other considerations raised in support of the scheme, the inspector afforded limited weight to the previous permission at the site given the material differences in size and needs, noted that the existing fishing lake had been closed to the public for a number of years, declared the accompanying business model was "light on detail" regarding usage, level of membership and educational affiliations and therefore concluded need for the facility was not robustly justified.
Inspector: Helen Cassini; Hearing