Casebook: Appeal case - Agricultural Development - Worm pits found to cause no harm to countryside

An appeal against conditions attached to a permission for two worm pits at a rare breeds farm in the Derbyshire green belt has been allowed after the scheme was judged to cause negligible harm to the countryside.

The substantially complete pits, some 20m long and 2m wide, were used to convert pig waste into compost. They were located in an extremely untidy and cluttered site, which the inspector acknowledged had a significant impact on the countryside's character and appearance.

However, he found that the pits themselves were very similar to traditional features of agricultural landscapes such as slurry pits. He considered that the modest landscaping already carried out performed very little in the way of a screening function and did not consider that further landscaping would perform any useful or necessary planning purpose.

The inspector found no evidence that the worm pits would constitute a health hazard or odour nuisance but felt that a precautionary approach was both necessary and reasonable. He granted permission subject to conditions covering details of construction and boundary treatments, a scheme for the control of odours and flies and details of the feeding and growth medium.

He considered that a temporary permission would not be appropriate because there were no sound reasons for resisting the proposal in principle. He also found that a landscaping condition was unreasonable and unnecessary because there was no real further harm to the area's character and appearance.

DCS No: WR100-045-830; Inspector: Graham Snowdon; Written representations.

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