Employment space inappropriate to rural location

Up to 186,000 sq.m of Class B2/B8 floorspace together with container handling facilities on a former mining site in north Yorkshire was judged to be out of scale with the rural nature of the area.

The appeal site extended to 101ha with 44ha being previously developed and the balance forming landscaped and greenfield land. The appellant proposed to clear the site of all buildings to enable the construction of very large buildings including container handling facilities. The application had been supported by officers.

An inspector noted that the council’s core strategy supported only five hectares of employment space within the rural parts of the district. In his opinion the scale of development proposed was inappropriate in such a location. The area was not well served by public transport and even the appellant’s payment of £200,000 towards improving non-car accessibility, was unlikely to prevent the majority of employees at the site travelling by car.

It was unquestionable that the scheme would bring significant benefits although, since relevant development plan policies were not out of date, paragraph 11d) of the NPPF did not apply. But the scale of the development would have wider implications for employment land provision across the district. Additionally, the inspector was not persuaded that the development would only be viable with the amount of floorspace proposed, the appellant assuming it would be accommodated in one large building.

Inspector: Kevin Ward; Inquiry

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