DC Casebook: Mixed use development - Benefits to business justify rural location

The Welsh Assembly Government has decided that a major employment and housing scheme in south Wales should proceed even though the site lies in the countryside.

The appellants claimed that the site represented a logical location for new houses and would deliver much-needed employment floor space through a premier office business park. The council's policies supported the need for inward investment close to the M4, they pointed out. They challenged the council's view that a major employer requiring space in the proposed development should be identified before giving approval.

The scheme would stem the loss of investment and employment in the office sector from Wales and reduce the substantial daily outflow of residents travelling to Cardiff to work, they maintained. The assembly government agreed with the inspector that the scheme represented a highly significant opportunity for the borough to secure a major stake in employment and investment opportunities and meet demand for high-quality business premises.

Refusing planning permission would mean that this opportunity was lost and the provision of a range of smaller office sites would not meet the identified need, it concluded. Despite the rural location, it maintained that the site was well linked to existing roads and other development and the impact on the landscape would not be unduly harmful. The mitigation measures proposed by the appellants for various road junctions were acceptable, it held.

DCS Number 100-058-397

Inspector Alwyn Nixon; Inquiry.


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