After rejecting an appeal on ground (d), that the time for taking enforcement action had passed, on the balance of probabilities, the inspector went on to consider whether deemed planning permission should be granted. The main issue was the effect of the storage of some seventy densely parked vehicles on the enforcement site, a 0.16 hectare parcel of land on the appellant’s family farm, on the character of the area.
The inspector rejected the council’s argument that the storage use was a ‘major development’ in the AONB, having regard particularly to the small site area and also given its context of farm buildings and other land used for car storage which did not form part of the notice site, and storage at no greater height than a single vehicle. Nonetheless, he found the appearance of the stored cars very much at odds with the scenic beauty of the area, noting their haphazard arrangement, rusting and multiple colours standing out against the green fields, a manmade feature at odds with the rural landscape. Whilst accepting the site was generally well-screened, the inspector noted it was still visible from some private and public viewpoints, and concluded it failed to conserve the natural beauty of the area, in conflict with national and local development plan policy.
Inspector: Jonathan Roberts; Written representations