Premier Composites Ltd, Boston

Premier Composites Ltd, Boston

Appeal Decision
Site visit made on 15 November 2012
an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Decision date: 25 January 2013

Appeal Ref: APP/Z2505/A/12/2181039
Premier Composites Ltd, Langrick Road, Hubberts Bridge, Boston,
Lincolnshire, PE20 3SG.

  • The appeal is made under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 against a refusal to grant planning permission under section 73A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 for the development of land carried out without complying with conditions subject to which a previous planning permission was granted.
  • The appeal is made by Mr Adrian Byers against the decision of Boston Borough Council.
  • The application Ref. B/12/0087, dated 21 March 2012, was refused by notice dated 31 May 2012.
  • The application sought planning permission for the formation of storage areas, car parking and landscaped areas at Premier Composites Ltd, Langrick Road, Hubberts Bridge without complying with 2 conditions attached to planning permission Ref B/01/0181, dated 4 July 2001.
  • The conditions in dispute are Nos. 4 and 5 which state that: (4) External storage of goods or materials shall be restricted to those areas identified on the approved plans and in no other place. Storage provided in the area cross-hatched on the approved plan shall be restricted in height to a maximum of 3 metres and to a maximum of 4 metres in height in all other authorised locations; and, (5) Car parking shall be restricted to those areas specifically allocated for such use on the approved plans. The visitor parking area shall be used only between the hours of 7 am and 10 pm and shall not be used by any employee of the company, nor for the unloading or loading of trucks and lorries. A sign advising of these restrictions, the design, wording and siting of which shall be agreed with the local planning authority, shall be erected within 28 days of the date of this consent.
  • The reasons given for the conditions are: (4) In the interests of visual and residential amenity; and, (5) In the interests of residential amenity, to reduce the likelihood of vehicle disturbance to the adjacent dwelling either in the early morning, late at night or during the day as a result of large deliveries.

1. I allow the appeal and grant planning permission for the formation of storage areas, car parking and landscaped areas at Premier Composites Ltd, Langrick Road, Hubberts Bridge in accordance with application Ref. B/12/0087, made on the 21 March 2012 without compliance with conditions numbers 4 and 5 previously imposed on planning permission No Ref B/01/0181, dated 4 July 2001 but subject to subject to the following new conditions:

  1. The external storage of goods or materials shall be restricted to those areas identified on the approved plan including the area shown cross hatched and in no other place. Storage in the areas shown cross hatched on the approved plan shall be restricted in height to a maximum of 3 metres and to a maximum height of 4 metres in all other authorised locations.
  2. All car parking shall be restricted to those areas specifically allocated for such uses on the approved plan. The visitor parking area shall be used only between 0700 and 2000 hours. The visitor parking area may be used by any employee of the company between 0730 and 1800 hours Monday to Friday, on Saturdays between 0800 and 1200 hours (when required) and at no time on Sundays or Bank Holidays. The area shown on the plan received by the Council on 22 March 2012 for the parking of cars for office staff and visitors shall not be used for the loading or unloading of trucks or lorries.
  3. There shall be no permanent or overnight or weekend parking of lorries, vans, trucks or trailers except in those external areas shown hatched on the approved plan.
  4. There shall be no outside working, except for the purposes of loading, unloading or the storing of materials, other than in the areas to the west or north of the main building. Designated parking areas shall not be used for any working.

Procedural Matter
2. The original application also sought to vary condition 7 of the original permission to allow some outside working but that part of the application was subsequently withdrawn. I have dealt with this appeal as being under Section 73A(2)9(c) as the use of the visitor car park by staff had been implemented in breach of the condition on the original permission.

Main Issue
3. I consider the main issue in this appeal to be the effect of removing the 2 conditions on the living conditions of the neighbouring property having regard to policies for the support of economic activity.

4. The conditions which were applied to the planning permission in 2001 for new business of Premier Composites Ltd were related to the conditions at that time and were then acceptable to the company. Changes since their first occupation of the premises in 1999 have included the increased business activity of the company and the extra employment with the consequential external storage required. The additional storage area at the front of the building is the subject of an objection by the neighbour on grounds of disturbance and for the same reason objects to the use of the visitor car parking area by office staff. This is the disturbance to the quiet enjoyment of their sole neighbours and the assertion by them that car parking by staff added to those of visitors would, in particular, cause their dogs to bark much more than with solely visitor parking. This would be due to the earlier and later times that the car park would be used by staff. One of the objectives of Policy G1 of the Adopted Boston Local Plan (1999)(LP) is to protect the amenities of nearby residents but the harm must be substantial.

5. The planning permission is for the industrial use of the site which is not solely restricted to the present user and could in theory be potentially a source of considerably greater nuisance to the neighbour. The thrust of Policy G1 of the Adopted Boston Borough Local Plan (1999)(LP) is to ensure that development does not substantially harm the amenities of other nearby land uses. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) has the objective of proactively driving and supporting sustainable economic development to deliver the business and industrial units and thriving local places that the country needs and to respond positively to wider opportunities for growth but also to seek a good standard of amenity for all existing and future occupants of land and buildings.

6. I consider that in the present appeal the additional employment growth since the business was established has met the objectives of current Government policy to support existing business sectors, taking account of whether they are expanding or contracting. The NPPF advises that polices should be flexible enough to accommodate needs not anticipated in the plan and to allow rapid response to changes in economic circumstances. It also seeks to support economic growth in rural areas like the one around the appeal site. In accordance with NPPF guidance significant weight should be attached to the need to support economic growth through the planning system. The company has expanded from 30 staff to a current level of 55 with 5 office staff, 2 of whom are part-time. The output from the site has increased accordingly and put pressure on outside storage areas. I attach considerable weight to the needs of the business.

7. On my site visit I was also able to assess the degree of separation of the proposed new storage area from the neighbouring property. It appeared to me to be well screened due to intervening single storey buildings and boundary treatment and structures within the curtilage of the neighbouring property. The storage area would be substantially screened from the site frontage and well related to the main doors of the factory. This area is already the subject of periodic heavy vehicular movements so I can see no practical reason to restrict this area solely to the circulation of vehicles. Its alternative use would give the company more flexibility in the use of its restricted site when necessary.

8. The visitor parking area is convenient for the office and would give some relief for the car parking area at the rear which was fully occupied at my site visit, freeing part for external storage when necessary. The current situation differs from the aerial photograph in the appellant’s application which was taken some time ago. Indeed there were several cars parked alongside the joint agricultural/company access to the north east of one of the company’s storage buildings indicating an overspill of parked cars. The permitted storage areas appeared to be congested with new and used components. The visitor parking area is limited in size so the number of cars to be accommodated would be restricted. The appellant has offered to accept a condition which would restrict when office staff could park. Restricted in this way the condition would present a problem for effective enforcement and would fail the tests in Circular 11/95: The Use of Conditions in Planning Permissions. Working hours with the existing company would be longer than visitor hours indicating an earlier start and later leaving. However, once parked, office worker vehicles would remain in situ for the day and cause no significant disturbance. There is no proposal before me to alter the hours of visitor parking but these are certain to be within the restricted working hours and therefore a considerable improvement on the existing situation overall and a safeguard against adverse effects from a different occupier.

9. I have considered the argument that the neighbouring site has the alleged benefit of a commercial and residential use but in the absence of any other evidence I have given this minimal weight. However, I have given considerable weight to Government guidance in the NPPF in favour of economic considerations which substantially outweighs the arguments in favour of maintaining the status quo. As a result of the proposed changes I do not consider the difference in conditions for the neighbour would be substantial.

10. I conclude there would be no substantial harm to the living conditions of the neighbouring property in terms of noise and disturbance from the removal of the 2 conditions having regard to policies in the NPPF for the support of economic activity and LP Policy G1, subject to the imposition of new conditions as described in paragraph 11 below.

11. The Council supports the list of conditions in the report of the Planning Officer if the appeal is to be allowed. I have examined these in relation to the conditions imposed in the original permission and my comments above and consider them all to be reasonable and necessary in relation to the amenity of the neighbouring occupiers, particularly with regard to the fact that any permission goes with the land. I also consider that conditions (1) and (2) set out above need to be amended as there is no land coloured blue or pink on the application plan in my possession.

R W Moon