A Recharge One’ In The South Downs National Park Allowed On Appeal
Citation: Appeal Ref: APP/Y9507/W/22/3308885
Following a two week inquiry, Inspector Michael Boniface has today allowed an appeal by Recharge One Limited in relation to ‘Recharge One’: a recharge centre for electric vehicles, powered off-grid by biogas harvested from agricultural waste, together with 60 climate-neutral eco lodges and an earth sheltered block comprising up to 1330sqm of tunnel floor space for a flexible mix of uses within Classes C1 and E (including a farm shop), on a site next to the A3 at Buriton, in the South Downs National Park. The scheme was designed by award winning architect Bill Dunster OBE.
The decision noted that, although the site is in the National Park, “its historic field boundaries have been altered as part of works to introduce the A3 slip roads, which now entirely separates the appeal site from the wider landscape” and that it “is dominated by the surrounding road infrastructure and embankments and is evidently an island piece of land left over after the introduction of the trunk road”. The Inspector held that “all the special qualities of the NP would be, at the very least, conserved and in some cases enhanced” by the scheme, and that there would be no conflict with development plan or NPPF policies protecting the National Park. In the particular circumstances of the case, this was not “major development” in a NP triggering NPPF para. 177.
Amongst the benefits of the development identified in the decision were “clear and obvious advantages arising from the scheme in combating climate change”. Contentions that the individual components of the development should be disaggregated and located elsewhere were rejected.
The decision’s analysis of the scheme benefits contains an interesting discussion about the need for additional EV infrastructure.
Overall, the Inspector found the scheme to be in accordance with the development plan as a whole and with the NPPF.
Charles Banner KC acted for the successful appellant together with Robert Williams, instructed by Daniel Drukarz and James Kon of Asserson.
The appeal decisions is available here.