Bund lawfulness claim rejected with harm to ancient woodland

An enforcement notice issued by Wiltshire Council against a bund which had been erected adjacent to former farm buildings was upheld after an inspector decided that it did not comprise permitted development and adversely affected an ancient woodland.

The bund extended to 70 metres in length and separated an area of hardstanding from the woodland. The appellant argued that it was permitted under Class A of Part 2 of Schedule 2 of the GPDO 2015 which allowed the construction of a fence, wall or other means of enclosure less than 2 metres in height. In contrast the council argued that the key requirement of Class A was the ability of the structure to enclose land, and in the case of the appeal, it merely separated the commercial use from woodland beyond.

In making his assessment, the inspector considered various legal judgments and appeal cases. The bund was formed from material on the land, the aim being to remove material including some asbestos cuttings from between two of the storage buildings. In his opinion, contrary to the appellant’s claim, the bund did not from an effective security barrier being open at two ends and with a gate to allow access into the woodland. Since it did not form a means of enclosure it was not permitted development.

Nor in the inspector's opinion should permission be granted for its retention. It appeared as a man-made structure unrelated to the natural topography and landscape. It did not enhance the character of a special landscape area and had adversely affected the ancient woodland and its importance for biodiversity. It could not be left in its current state due to asbestos contamination. Mitigation was not possible since the precise location of the asbestos within the bund was not known.

Inspector: Anthony Wharton; Written representations

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