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