The council had taken enforcement action against the airport car park after refusing a retrospective application. Assessing the effect of the development on the green belt compared to the low key golf club use of the site, the inspector considered that while the introduction of hardsurfacing had only a limited impact on openness, the presence of over 140 closely parked cars for much of the time did as a matter of fact reduce spatial openness. As the cars would be visible during the winter months when the mature landscape boundary was not in leaf, she also identified an impact on visual openness.
Having regard to the purposes of including land within the green belt set out in national policy, the inspector was of the view that introducing an essentially urban activity into a rural context, including floodlighting and CCTV paraphernalia, amounted to encroachment into the countryside. Given these findings the inspector concluded the development conflicted with NPPF paragraph 146 policy advice that material changes in the use of land are not inappropriate development in the green belt provided they preserve its openness and do not conflict with the purposes of including land within it.
Inspector: Deborah Boffin; Written representations