The proposal involved 581m2 of retail floor space, a pub, a care home and car parking next to a railway. It lay in an area defined in the unitary development plan as part of the Croal-Irwell Valley. The council argued that the scheme would compromise its aim of conserving and enhancing the landscape, wildlife and recreational potential of the valley and reviving its rural character.
The inspector agreed that retaining the site as an open area was particularly important given the amount of development next to it in recent years.
He considered that the scheme would lead to built development masking views of the valley, while the site's open character contributed to the attractiveness of a public footpath along its edge. These matters justified leaving the land undeveloped, he ruled.
He decided that the appellants had failed to demonstrate that a small supermarket was justified. He noted that Tesco had expressed an interest in the store, which would generate a considerably greater turnover than a local Spar convenience store. The turnover of a Tesco store would be far in excess of convenience goods expenditure generated by the defined catchment area and this was a further reason for dismissing the appeal, he ruled.
DCS No: OT100-044-538; Inspector: Alan Robinson; Inquiry.