Recycling benefits outweigh visual harm

The secretary of state has accepted an inspector's recommendation to grant planning permission for a waste recycling and recovery centre next to a canal towpath in Berkshire, finding that its benefits substantially outweighed the limited harm it would cause to amenity.

PPS10 states that positive planning has an important role in developing sustainable waste management by providing sufficient opportunities for new facilities, the secretary of state observed. She agreed with the inspector that the proposal would make a small but significant contribution towards combating the general shortage of sites.

The inspector considered that the combination of the land use, activities arising from it and the building would impact on the character and quality of the landscape. He noted that the building would be the largest in the immediate area and would result in the loss of the site's existing openness. However, the secretary of state considered that these factors had to be seen in the context of possible mitigation measures and the contribution the proposal would make to meet the identified need for facilities.

She noted that no major criticisms had been made of the building's design and agreed with the inspector that the materials and curved shape of the roof would all help to minimise its impact. Although the design could not disguise its size, shape or bulk, she concluded that its harm to visual amenity would be limited and increasingly mitigated over time.

DCS Number 100-050-823

Inspector Rod Evans; Inquiry.

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