DC Casebook: Commercial and Industrial - Job benefits justify rural business park

The secretary of state has accepted an inspector's recommendation to allow two appeals for a business park and access road in Devon, concluding that the economic benefits justified her decision.

The two appeal sites were covered by two policy designations. The area proposed for the business park fell in an area of great landscape value, while part of the road's route lay in open countryside. The applications had been recommended for approval by the council's planning officer, but members found the landscape impact unacceptable.

The developers pointed out that planning permission had been given in 2000 for employment development at the site and this could still be implemented. They also asserted that the council had failed to adopt the correct approach in determining the applications because inadequate weight had been given to the substantial economic benefit of creating a new business park.

The secretary of state found a significant shortfall in employment land in the area and agreed that no other sites of suitable scale were likely to become available in the foreseeable future. The site was near a strategically significant town and some 35ha of employment land was required by 2026, she noted. While the scheme would have some landscape impact, she found that the very strong case in its favour justified granting permission.

Inspector: Chris Gossop; Inquiry.

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