ORDERED TO DEMOLISH: Enforcement notice upheld
North Somerset landowners have been ordered to demolish two buildings that harm the green belt.
Alan and Esther Johnson lost their appeals against North Somerset Council’s enforcement action for an unauthorised mixed use of their farmland east of Manor Road in Abbots Leigh for recreation and leisure.
Following a complaint from a member of the public, officers documented a football pitch, ornamental planting, landscaping and a large barn that had been rebuilt with bi-fold doors, plastered walls, sockets, a toilet and a shower.
The couple admitted that they had occasionally used the land for barbecues and games but argued that it did not amount to a material change of use.
Planning inspector Paul Hocking disagreed and said their decision to level what they called an “old tip”, lay manicured grass and install football goals could not be described as incidental to the site’s agricultural use.
He said the large building was “part and parcel” of the mixed use, adding: “It has very limited features that might be expected as part of an agricultural building.
“Given this is a rebuilding operation, I cannot require the land to be restored to its former condition by means of erecting the former barn, as this would be tantamount to another rebuilding operation without planning permission.
“Demolition of the building is therefore not excessive.”
He added: “The development enforced against is inappropriate development that conflicts with national and local policy to protect the green belt and results in harm to the character and appearance of the area.”
The inspector said a small building that pumps water to the main building is “part and parcel of the mixed use alleged” and it must also be removed, while a shepherd hut that had a dishwasher installed should be returned to its previous condition.
Mr and Mrs Johnson were also ordered to remove all landscaping and paraphernalia not associated with the site’s agricultural and horticultural use.
Mr Hocking gave the couple six months to comply.
Words: Stephen Sumner, Local Democracy Reporter
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