The airfield itself had been allocated for development as a new settlement, for which outline permission had been granted, including D1 floorspace for uses which could include a museum or school. The inspector noted that local plan policy made provision for a museum either on the former airfield or land adjoining. He decided that a museum on the scrubland site satisfied policy, there being no preference for it to be within the former airfield or requirement for land linked to aviation use. In the absence of strong evidence that the developer of the new settlement intended to include a museum in the permitted scheme and in the light of policy options over location, the inspector did not consider the appeal proposal would be premature.
The phased 10,000 square metre museum development would clearly diminish the existing rural character of the site in the inspector’s opinion, but when considered in the context of the new settlement and mitigation in the form of dense boundary landscaping, the inspector concluded there would be no unacceptable harm to the character and appearance of the area, including an AGLV and the setting of an AONB. He allowed the appeal.
Inspector: Steven Lee; Written representations