Reuse of rural brownfield site denied

A reporter refused planning permission in principle for twenty houses and 375 square metres of retail floorspace on brownfield land in the countryside outside a village in Ayrshire, finding the development unsustainable.

The appeal site lay just outside a settlement boundary, adjacent to housing and a dual carriageway. The inspector saw that the land had been previously developed with areas of roadway and hardstanding visible and was in active use with three storage containers present, confirming the site had not been abandoned as suggested by the council. He also recorded that abandonment would not remove its status as a brownfield site in any event.

Whether the site benefitted from an extant permission for commercial development was another matter disputed by the main parties, the council taking the view that planning permission had not been commenced. The reporter stated this was not for him to determine and noting that the permission did not relate to retail or residential development anyway.

Assessing the proposal against policy, the reporter held that while it met some of the guiding principles of Scottish national policy, primarily in relation to the re-use of brownfield land, the location in particular of retail/food and drink units outside the settlement was not sustainable development. Consequently, despite the adopted local development plan being more than five years old he found that the proposal did not benefit from the presumption in favour of sustainable development. In terms of local development plan policy, he found no housing shortfall or justification in terms of rural housing policy, and no need for the retail/food and drink elements or for development in a countryside location in conflict with spatial strategy.

Reporter: Gordon Reid; Written representations

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