Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Legoland expansion decision knocks hole in the Green Belt

When I first heard Legoland was going for an expansion I had an image of the addition of a Lego Stonehenge, a scale model of the M25 or Brands Hatch, or even the White Cliffs of Dover, how wrong was I, writes Andrew Metcalf of PR and marketing agency Maxim.

Little did I realise that the Berkshire visitor attraction had plans for the development of 450 visitor accommodation units, new rides including a haunted house, car parking, landscaping and associated infrastructure.

Surely given its location within Berkshire’s Green Belt, the council would send a wrecking ball through those plans.

Well apparently not. Councillors have granted permission despite their planning officers at Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead recommending refusal on the grounds that very special circumstances had not been demonstrated to justify the use of Green Belt land.

Councillors took the decision that the economic impact of the development was in itself very special circumstances.

Planners argued the physical presence of up to 450 holiday units would result in a significant visual intrusion and have a significant impact on the openness of the Green Belt, contradicting the NPPF’s aim to prevent urban sprawl and development.

Legoland probably won’t be getting its bricks out of the box just yet, as the decision could still be the subject of a judicial review. However, it does go to show there are councils out there that are prepared to accept economic impact has a part to play in determining the future use of the Green Belt.

No comments:

Post a Comment