Retrospective planning consent refused for Linwood Sawmills near Three Legged Cross

A sawmill in Mannington near Three Legged Crosshas been told that its operation in woodland is not acceptable.

The Linwood Sawmills at Willow Farm on Holt Road was refused retrospective planning consent to continue operating by Dorset Council last year – which was appealed to the Planning Inspectorate.

The appeal has upheld the Dorset Council decision, ruling that the use is unacceptable although the sawmill, run by Mr Denny Sweet, has been in place for more than ten years and employs five people.

Agents acting for the business argued that the 0.37 hectare site is well located to use locally-produced timber, mainly cutting it into planks.

Said the agent: “It is recognised that the use of the site includes some heavy equipment such as a rough terrain fork lift and a band saw which does create noise; however, with this site being screened on all sides by trees with no immediate neighbours, it is ideally located to operate as a sawmill without impacting on any local residents.”

Most of the activity takes place in a barn although there are also portacabins and several outbuildings, including shipping containers, which are used, together with a yard for storing timber.

Dorset Council decided that the sawmill use was harmful to the Green Belt with no special circumstances being accepted to allow its continued use.

In evidence to the appeal a neighbour told the Inspector that the sawmill is close to a Site of Special Scientific Interest, with the sawmill activities disturbing wildlife.

“Daily, the site uses industrial machines, creates inappropriate noise for the local residences, leaves unnecessary rubbish, alongside HGV vehicles entering the site, weekly. These types of work do not fall under what is acceptable within greenbelt planning regulations and are therefore unlawful and inappropriate within the greenbelt area. It is evident from historical photographs of the site that it has expanded within the last 8 years.”

The Planning Inspector, who visited the site in December, concluded : “The development results in harm to the openness of the Green Belt. As a result, the development is inappropriate development in the terms set out by the (National Planning Policy) Framework. Having regard to the Framework, I give this Green Belt harm substantial weight. This weighs heavily against the development.”

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