Bid to store 40ft crane sections is rejected

Holywell-cum-Needingworth sign

Holywell-cum-Needingworth sign - Credit: ARCHANT

Storing 40ft tower crane parts on an industrial site at Needingworth would be a "major detractor" to the appearance of the nearby open countryside, planners have said.

Planners at Huntingdonshire District Council rejected a bid by the Burgess and Walker Partnership to change a condition on the use of the Needingworth Industrial Estate site, doubling the height of equipment which could be stored there.

A condition limits the height of storage to six metres, just under 20ft, but the firm wanted to extend this to 12 metres, just under 40ft, to accommodate upright tower crane sections after it was approached by a crane firm.

The application was refused by planners because of its visual impact over land which includes the Ouse Valley Way long distance path.

Planners said:  "Having appraised the publicly accessible locations surrounding the site, it is considered that the existing and proposed vegetation around the proposed crane storage area does not yield sufficient screening in this sensitive landscape, where there are few existing features, natural or manmade, to this height.

"The cranes would form a major detractor in the landscape, competing in height with even the taller, mature, stands of poplar and willow in the locality, and which indeed form the tallest features in the low-lying landscape."

They added: "For the above reasons it is considered that the proposal would not recognise the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside, would fail to respond positively to its context, would not contribute positively to the areas character and identity, and would fail to successfully integrate with the topography and landscape of the area. "

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A statement submitted in support of the plan said: "Based on the amount of existing soft screening surrounding the site the impact on the immediate and long distance views of the crane storage will be minimal in regard to the planning balance for the employment/economic growth.

"The proposed storage facility will meet a pressing need for an established key local employer that will meet its future growth need and secure its continuation in the town. It will therefore accord with overall policies to support business development within the area."