The inspector noted the adventure farm and its surroundings lay within an open, undulating grassland area dominated by fields typically enclosed by dry stone walls but with extensive views across the area. Proposed play equipment included swings and slides associated with the educational use of the adventure farm, but would also include a green plastic tube, which the inspector felt would introduce a particularly incongruous feature into the natural surroundings. The inspector concluded that even though there would be no changes to the field shape or boundary and the external play equipment would not alter the capacity of the site, the visual harm of the proposals on the AONB from nearby roads and footpaths weighed against it. This harm, she opined, was contrary to the council’s adopted local plan policies and national planning policy which aimed to conserve the natural beauty of the AONB.
Against the arguments put forward on the benefits of the proposal in association with the educational use of the farm, the inspector stated that she had nothing before her to demonstrate why the external play area would be critical to the education offering, either financially or in terms of attracting visitors, and was not persuaded that the diversification benefits of the external play area outweighed the harm to the landscape within the AONB.
Inspector: Kate Mansell; Written representations