Casebook: Appeal cases - Leisure and Entertainment - Green belt fishing lakes deemed appropriate

Two fishing lakes in the Essex green belt have been approved after an inspector ruled that they would not harm the green belt, the natural environment or the living conditions of neighbours and would not adversely affect the performance of flood attenuation measures.

The inspector considered that the proposal was appropriate development in PPG2 terms. The provision of a storage building to house a boat and maintenance equipment was not excessive in relation to its function and would provide an essential facility that would be entirely related to the proposed outdoor recreational use, he held.

He noted that the building would be contained by a substantial area of planting and that the parking area would also be partly contained by planting.

He therefore concluded that the development would preserve the openness, visual qualities, appearance and character of the green belt.

The council took the view that the development would reduce available habitats for wildlife and replace them with less valuable ones. The inspector noted that the scheme would create habitat in the form of the lakes with their marginal shelf vegetation, smaller ponds for invertebrates and amphibians, conservation meadows, grazed grassland and indigenous tree and shrub planting.

While the scheme would erode the extent of the area due to be developed as a conservation meadow under an existing management plan, he found that areas of similar habitat were proposed. He decided that adequate provision would be made to retain wildlife interest on the site.

Subject to conditions requiring replacement of an agricultural-style access gate with an electronic one and limiting the use to daylight hours, the inspector decided that there would be no material harm to the living conditions of residents. He accepted the conclusion of a flood risk assessment that the development would not prejudice the operation of an existing flood storage reservoir.

DCS No: 47130745; Inspector: Chris Frost; Written representations.

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