Brindle & Green were commissioned by a private client through Brachers LLP to undertake a Landscape and Visual Impact Appraisal to support an appeal on a site near Wormshill in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
The proposed development, comprising a garage with office space above, had been refused planning permission and the client was intending to appeal the decision. The application was refused on the grounds of the impact of the proposed building on the character and appearance of the surrounding area, which is part of the Kent Downs AONB (and, as such, is particularly sensitive to changes within the landscape character and visual amenity).
Brindle & Green undertook a desk survey and site survey to establish the landscape and visual baseline conditions. This involved desktop study of elements such as published landscape character, landscape designations (including the special qualities of the AONB), and production of a Zone of Theoretical Visibility (ZTV) model to establish where views of the proposed development would be available in the study are. A site visit was then undertaken to capture representative views of the site from a range of visual receptors such as local residents, users of recreational routes and users of highways; as well as verifying that the published landscape character descriptions matched the situation on the ground.
Following the research stage, the effect of the proposed development on the landscape character and visual amenity of the study area was able to be carried out. This involved first making judgments on the value of the landscape/visual receptors, their susceptibility and sensitivity to the proposed development. Next, the magnitude of change as a result of the proposed development was analysed. The judgments on the landscape and visual sensitivity and magnitude of change were then combined to give an overall importance of effect. This analysis established that the proposed development would not inordinately affect the landscape character of the study area and would have a limited visual presence, with no discernible impact in longer distance views.
Following the submission of the LVIA with the appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, the Planning Inspector agreed with the conclusions of the LVIA produced by Brindle & Green. They found that the proposed development would not be incongruous or visually intrusive, and that location and design of the development would have a neutral effect on land within the AONB and would not detract from its landscape and scenic beauty. The appeal was allowed.