The council had served an enforcement notice on Bishop's Stortford Football Club alleging that part of the land that should be reserved for parking by club supporters was being occupied by vehicles owned by passengers using the airport. The club claimed that when permission on appeal was granted in 1996, no condition had been imposed restricting use of the car park to club use. It also argued that the car parking remained subordinate and incidental to the permitted use of the land.
The inspector rejected these claims, concluding that the park-and-ride operation was open to all and had no functional link to the club. He found nothing in the secretary of state's decision to indicate that the car park was intended for use other than by those attending football matches.
Accordingly, he held, it was ancillary to the primary use of the land as a football ground and unrelated parking clearly fell outside the scope of the permission.
In assessing the planning merits, the inspector held that the use harmed the openness of the green belt and noted that no examination of alternative sites had been carried out. Although he acknowledged that the loss of income from the park-and-ride facility would affect the viability of the club, he held that this did not amount to a very special circumstance justifying permission.
DCS No: 34976013; Inspector: Dennis Bradley; Inquiry.