The coffee shop would require a larger building and associated access and parking would extend the area of existing hardstanding. However, the inspector noted that it would be located on previously developed land within the curtilage of the service area. Applying the principles in Euro Garages Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government , he concluded that its impact on openness should relate to the green belt in general rather than the appeal site itself.
While accepting that the development would lead to some loss of openness, he was satisfied that it would be contained within landscaped bunds and would be viewed in the context of the existing service area, with its canopy and pumps, and the busy nearby M4 motorway. Overall, he decided, it would cause little harm to the green belt and would not give rise to a significant effect on openness.
Inspector: Jonathan Price; Hearing