The farmyard had been granted permission for use by a landscape contractor and the appellant contended that the site had been in commercial use for some time but the inspector found limited evidence to support this claim and no lawful use. The inspector judged that the building had encroached into the countryside and harm to rural character could not be mitigated through landscaping.
On the second main issue of whether the site was in an appropriate location for commercial development, the inspector considered the development against core strategy policy allowing employment development outside the main settlements provided that one of a number of criteria was met. Although the inspector acknowledged that the occupying company business provided full-fibre broadband networks across the country and therefore met a strategic interest of the council, as the appellant was not seeking a personal permission, this criterion was not met.
Finding similar notable economic benefits unlikely to apply to any other potential occupier of the site, the inspector concluded these benefits did not outweigh conflict with development plan policy on new employment land and premises or the protection of the countryside and dismissed the appeal.
Inspector: L McKay; Written representations