The site lay within an area designated as a primarily industrial area. While it benefited from an extant permission for offices, it had been vacant for more than a decade. Although the council confirmed that there had been an uptake in demand for employment sites, none of this related to the appeal site. The appellant presented information on attempts to attract an employment use, although the council argued that this process had been undertaken prior to the application for the filling station and drive-through catering uses being submitted.
In allowing the appeal, the inspector placed weight on a report prepared for the council in 2010 identifying the appeal site as potentially suitable for leisure or retail use due to its accessibility to the strategic road network. The scheme would create 25 full-time and 60 part-time job opportunities, he noted. He did not believe that allowing the site to be developed for non-employment uses would compromise the overall availability of land for economic development in the borough. The council did not argue that the scheme failed the sequential approach or would have a significant impact on existing centres, he noted.
Inspector: David Carter; Written representations