The inspector agreed that the moorings themselves would not be incongruous in the canalside setting but considered that an enlarged access to the site from a narrow lane and a proposed car park for four vehicles would appear discordant in the open countryside context. She was also concerned about adverse visual impacts on the rural setting arising from the need for excavation and bank stabilisation works to ensure an adequate navigable canal width.
The canal banks were designated as a biological heritage site as part of an ecological network and contained five to seven metres of aquatic vegetation extending into the water. The Canal and River Trust warned of significant loss of reed bed providing essential habitat for nesting birds and amphibians, with a consequent need for compensation such as reed bed creation at another suitable location. The appellant’s ecological survey indicated no direct reed bed loss from the proposal and hence no compensation requirement.
The inspector considered that the appellant’s survey, undertaken earlier in the year, did not appear to adequately assess the site’s biodiversity value, the extent of harm arising from the appeal proposal or the need for mitigation and compensation. She concluded that the proposal would cause significant harm to biodiversity and conflict with local and national policies to minimise impacts and provide net gains.
Inspector: Sarah Manchester; Written representations