Coach depot secured on rural site

A coach maintenance depot close to an Essex international airport was allowed after an inspector found factors outweighing countryside and heritage harm.

The countryside site contained a number of buildings and uses including an agricultural grain store and hardstanding, car parking and an existing depot and workshop for a local bus company. In light of the existing uses on the site and proposed demolition of workshops, the inspector found that the proposals would not harm rural character and a need to consolidate local coach depot facilities carried weight, in his opinion.  

Close proximity to a listed farmstead raised heritage impact concerns. On this issue, the inspector found some enhancement of setting from demolition of workshop buildings and maintenance improvements to listed buildings. Given the existing use and activities on the site, he judged the degree of harm to the significance of the listed buildings would be small. Mitigation measures in terms of screening and landscape buffering, along with lighting controls and better regulation of the site would also help to reduce harm. Overall, he decided there were public benefits, including a long-term location for a national bus operator on a site well-situated for the airport, outweighing any heritage harm and he allowed the appeal.

Inspector: Tom Gilbert-Wooldridge; Hearing

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