West Boldon farm loses appeal over plans for new stable block on green belt land

Plans for a stable block development have been dismissed at appeal by a Government-appointed planning inspector over green belt concerns.

Earlier this year, South Tyneside Council’s planning department refused plans for land adjacent to Laverick Hall Farm in the West Boldon area.

The proposals included changing the use of land from “agricultural/grazing” to land for the “keeping, breeding and recreational use of horses.”

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This included erecting a stable block and a hay store/tack room, planting native hedgerow around the field and creating a hard-surfaced area.

A stock image of a hose, c/o Pixabay.

According to planning documents, the plans aimed to replace an existing smaller field shelter and to support an equestrian business on the site.

Applicants also maintained that no change of use was occurring as the land had been used for the keeping of horses for more than 10 years.

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During consultation on the plans however, concerns were raised by neighbours, with nine addresses lodging objections to the proposals as originally submitted.

South Tyneside Council’s planning department refused the stable block application on January 21, 2022, deeming it as “inappropriate development” in the Green Belt.

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Council planners, in a decision report, said this was because of the stable block’s “substantial scale and massing’ and the plans “altering the established character of the area”.

The applicant later lodged an appeal against the council ruling, with planning inspector C Dillon appointed by the Secretary of State to rule on the matter.

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After considering the appeal, the planning inspector dismissed it in October, 2022, and upheld the council’s refusal decision.

An appeal decision report noted that arguments in support of the proposal did not outweigh the harm to the green belt, which would conflict with planning policy.

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The appeal decision report added: “In spatial terms, the appeal proposal will significantly extend the existing sporadic built-up form along this side of the A184 further back into this open landscape.

“Despite the proposed design, materials and soft and hard landscaping treatment, the appeal proposal will intensify and formalise the use of this site for equestrian purposes.

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“In doing so, this will no longer be a low-key use of the appeal site for grazing purposes.

“In visual terms the proposed use of the site, the associated traffic movements and the paraphernalia in terms of vehicles and equipment that can reasonably be expected to arise will cause a significant change to the site’s character and appearance.

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“Overall, the appeal proposal will cause a considerable loss of openness to the site both spatially and visually.

“Furthermore, the site will no longer make a positive contribution to the openness of the wider Green Belt extent.

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“The proposed change will be permanent. Such an effect constitutes considerable harm which would be in addition to the harm incurred by reason of the appeal proposal constituting inappropriate development.”

The planning inspector accepted the proposal may have “promoted more sustainable patterns of travel” but said the plans did not meet “special circumstances” needed to justify development in the Green Belt.

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Identified harms to the Green Belt in the planning inspector’s report included “both inappropriateness and loss of openness”.

The full appeal decision can be found on the Planning Inspectorate’s website by searching reference: APP/A4520/W/22/3303367