Essential need for forestry worker's accommodation

A more basic lifestyle adopted by an appellant seeking permission for a forestry building with living accommodation above supported an inspector’s decision to allow an appeal in west Sussex.

The appellant had worked with the Forestry Commission since 2011 in managing the woodland and bringing it back into viable use. Felled timber was processed at an on-site sawmill, with waste from the milling process dried and used to produce charcoal. Two kilns required a full-time presence and in addition the land was used for camping between April and October. This too required a person to be present for safety and operational reasons, the inspector conceded.

The business was not able to support two full-time paid employees, the inspector noted, but the camping and educational facilities reflected the appellant’s aim to live a more sustainable lifestyle and to enable others to enjoy the very special qualities of the area. Maintaining a sustainable forestry operation alongside a camping experience during the summer months, and which actively encouraged sustainable living while also providing an educational experience, should be supported, the inspector held. Such a holistic approach to low impact outdoor pursuits coupled with environmental education and appreciation meant that the enterprise, when viewed as a whole, was viable. The design and siting of the building would also preserve the natural beauty and character of the area.

Inspector: Johanna Ayres; Hearing

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