Council unable to sustain wildlife case

The change of use of a barn and another small building in Surrey to storage and distribution use has been allowed after an inspector accepted that no harm to the green belt, neighbours' living conditions or protected species would ensue.

The limited impact of parking cars and minor fencing operations around the gate would not have a material impact on the openness of the green belt, the inspector decided. The impact would also be partially offset by the demolition of three smaller buildings, he found. He considered that the level of activity associated with the proposal was unlikely to be significant.

The council pointed out that the barn's age, construction and location meant that protected species might be present on or near the site. It cited Circular 06/2005's advice that the presence or otherwise of such species should be confirmed before planning permission is granted. On this basis, it argued that conditions could not be used to attempt to safeguard these species.

The inspector took into account the circular's comment that bearing in mind the delay and cost that may be involved, developers should not be required to carry out surveys for protected species unless there is a reasonable likelihood of the species being both present and affected by the development. He saw no firm evidence of protected species at the site.

He accepted that protected species might be present but held that there was insufficient evidence to conclude that this amounted to a reasonable likelihood. Given the rural location, he accepted that any light pollution or noise and disturbance would be considerably more noticeable. In granting permission, he attached conditions covering hours of operation and means of external lighting.

DCS Number 100-050-790

Inspector Lloyd Rodgers; Hearing.


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