Vehicle depot fails local transport infrastructure exception

Proposals for a vehicle depot for highway maintenance and traffic management works on a brownfield site in a Surrey village were rejected by an inspector as not qualifying as an exception to green belt policy.

400-020-508 (Image Credit: Gravesham BC)
400-020-508 (Image Credit: Gravesham BC)

The inspector recorded that national planning policy on the green belt states that certain forms of development are not inappropriate provided they preserve openness and do not conflict with the purposes of including land, including local transport infrastructure which can demonstrate a requirement for a green belt location among the exceptions. In this case, however, he found it unclear whether the depot would constitute local transport infrastructure, but noting the operator had a national remit and had searched for a site over several local planning authority areas, came to the conclusion that it had not been demonstrated that it required a green belt location.

The site comprised hardstanding and the remains of buildings and the inspector accepted it was a previously developed site but concluded that the introduction of modular buildings, containers and parked vehicles all over the site would have a greater impact on the openness of the green belt than the existing development and did not fall within the exception to inappropriate development relating to the partial or complete redevelopment of previously developed sites set out in national policy.

In addition, the inspector concluded that the depot would harm local landscape and scenic beauty, result in harm to highway safety that could not be overcome by conditions and would harm the living conditions of occupiers of surrounding dwellings. He rejected the suggestion of a temporary permission and dismissed the appeal.

Inspector: A Steen; Written representations

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