DC Casebook: Commercial and industrial - Fencing storage held to harm gun site

The storage of fencing at a site in the Kent countryside has been ruled out by an inspector who concluded that it harms the area's character and the setting of a scheduled ancient monument.

The site lay close to an industrial estate and land used as winter quarters for travelling showmen. The appellants argued that the scheme should be assessed in the light of nearby commercial uses that had a significant impact on the character of the area. They claimed that any adverse impact could be mitigated by conditions, including the provision of a landscaping scheme and requiring the boundary fencing to be painted a suitable colour.

The site contained equipment used to provide temporary fencing for outdoor events, several lorries and a metal fence along one boundary. In the inspector's view, these features were unsightly and out of character with the rural character of the surroundings. While recognising that the industrial estate had an impact on the area's character, he judged that the scheme would involve a considerable extension of commercial activity into an area with a much more rural character.

The land also formed part of a scheduled monument comprising a Second World War anti-aircraft gun position. The inspector recognised that opportunities for appreciating its history had been compromised by the industrial estate but did not see this as a valid reason for adding to the harm. The use was close to a command post that had housed control instruments for the gun and undermined the site's historic importance, he decided.

DCS Number 100-064-387

Inspector David Prentis; Hearing

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