Planning Inspectorate says Council was right to enforce against landscape garden business

The Government’s Planning Inspectorate has ruled Telford & Wrekin Council was right to order a man to stop using the base of his landscaping business because it harmed the character and appearance of the area.

In January last year, the council served an enforcement notice to Graham Davies telling him he wasn’t authorised to use the land off Rodenhurst Lane, Rodington for his business, Simply Green, because he did not have planning permission.

Telford & Wrekin Council contended that Mr Davies laid hardcore to create a hardstanding area surrounded by earth bunds for a mobile office, storage container and agricultural equipment.

The enforcement notice, served on 6 January 2020, read: "The council considers that the development is an unsustainable and inappropriate form of development which fails to either make use of previously developed land or the conversion/re-use of existing redundant buildings, or address the needs of the rural community.

"Additionally the development is not considered to relate to agriculture, forestry or assist in the diversification of the rural economy, nor has it been shown that the development addresses the needs of the rural community or that it could not have been accommodated within alternative and available existing buildings or sites.

"Furthermore by virtue of its design, it is also considered that the development fails to respond to or respect the landscape setting, topography or enhance the quality of the local environment."

Mr Davies appealed to the Planning Inspectorate who agreed with the council that the site wasn’t suitable, that the development significantly harms the character and appearance of the area and represents an unacceptable risk to users of a public footpath which runs through the middle of the site.

In his judgment, Inspector Alexander Walker acknowledged support received for the development from local residents, but he considered this support was outweighed by the harm to the area and public safety.

Mr Davies will now be required to:

•Stop using the land to run a landscape gardening business

•Remove all vehicles and items connected with the business from the land

•Remove all stone and hardcore laid earlier

•Remove the earth bunds and return the land to its previous condition and contours.

Councillor Richard Overton, Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Enforcement, said: “We’re pleased that the Inspector has upheld the enforcement notice and agreed with the Council’s view that the development was inappropriate. 

Telford & Wrekin Council will continue to seek to protect the open countryside and other green spaces from inappropriate forms of development. We will not hesitate to take formal enforcement action when and where appropriate.”