DC Casebook: Retail Development - Traffic concern stymies aquatics centre

The conversion of premises in rural Leicestershire into an aquatics centre selling fish and associated accessories has been declared an unsustainable form of development because customers would need to reach the site by car.

Although the council accepted that reuse of the stable block would not involve harm to the countryside, its policies required the appellant to show why the development could not be sited in an existing settlement. The appellant responded that several aquatic centres had closed in a nearby town, suggesting that an urban location was unviable. He maintained that the level of activity arising from the proposed use would not be significantly different from its current use as a stable.

The inspector observed that the appellant had not submitted a retail assessment demonstrating a need for the scheme. In her view, the proposal would undermine development plan policies seeking to locate retail development in or adjacent to existing town centres because they were more accessible by a range of means of transport. The scheme would generate a significant number of car journeys, she decided.

DCS Number 100-058-208

Inspector Sarah Colebourne; Written representations.

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