Forestry development harms countryside and highway safety

The provision of a loading bay in the Kent countryside to facilitate forestry and logging operations would adversely affect the green belt, the character of the area and highway safety, an inspector determined in dismissing the appeal.

Revised plans showed a 25-metres long and 5-metre wide area of hardstanding which would be used to load timber together with a 12-metre bell-mouth entrance. Up to nine metres of hedgerow would be removed along with an agricultural field gate. Although the council accepted that the scheme involved an engineering operation which would not affect the openness of the green belt, the inspector disagreed, concluding the hard surface and bell mouth would not safeguard the area from encroachment nor maintain the open nature of the field.

The turning area was also, in the inspector's opinion, insufficient to accommodate turning movements of HGVs with access and egress in a forward gear. It would also intrude into an AONB, with the rural character being eroded by the removal of hedgerows and development incursion into an arable field. Therefore, despite the acknowledged need by the appellant to manage and harvest woodland, which would also give rise to biodiversity benefits to which the inspector attributed significant weight, they did not amount to the very special circumstances needed to support the proposal, with very significant weight given to maintaining the natural beauty of the area.

Inspector: Nicola Davies; Written representations

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Join the conversation with PlanningResource on social media

Follow Us:
Planning Jobs