The character of countryside recreation and leisure appeals: an analysis of planning inspectorate records

R. Wood, J. Handley, P. Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article presents an analysis of appeal data relating to recreation and leisure developments in the countryside over the years 1988-1994, derived as part of a wider study of local planning policies for countryside recreation. The analysis uses this valuable data source it is believed for the first time, and demonstrates the value of this source of information, where used with due caution. Recreation and leisure appeals are not necessarily more likely to be approved than other sorts of development (on appeal at least). Given that recreation and leisure are, in principle, acceptable developments in the countryside, how far this reflects the inherently controversial nature of appears or is illustrative of a wider phenomenon, needs further investigation. National policy issues are key determinants of appeals. Local amenity issues, though taken into account are, in comparison, of less importance. Where local amenity issues (for example noise) were significant, appellants stand a higher than average chance of success, perhaps reflecting the more objective consideration of the planning merits of the case by the Inspectorate. Significant variation exists in how different land uses are treated. Traditionally significant, and often controversial, leisure land uses such as caravans are more likely to be given harsher treatment, with approval rates 5 to 19 per cent below average. Similarly the more intensive, or traffic-generating, developments, such as driving ranges and 'multi-use sites', receive more rigorous control with approval rates some 10 per cent below average. By contrast certain activities and developments are much more likely to gain approval, notably recreation areas, war games, museums/galleries and water sports. There is remarkably little reference to recreation and leisure policy as a decision issue. Policies should be devised to cover a number of different aspects of each development propsoal. Determination of appeals by development plan conformity was commonest amongst well-established land uses such as caravans, recreation areas, sports facilities and driving ranges. Whether the increasing, scope of policy coverage under district-wide local plants will influence the future determination of a broader range of appeals involving some of the newer land uses remains to be seen.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1007-1027
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Planning and Environment Law
Publication statusPublished - 1998


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