Landowner pledges to restore common after losing appeal
LANDOWNER Ewen Reynolds says he will remove a controversial track he created on a common – but will not say when.
He angered some residents and the Open Spaces Society by creating the track on Brockeridge Common, near Twyning, earlier this year.
He did so because he wanted to be able to have vehicular access across the common to get to his agricultural holding.
But he ran into trouble with the authorities for not getting planning permission, having previously had plans turned down by Tewkesbury Borough Council because it said a track would spoil the appearance of the common.
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Now the Bristol-based Planning Inspectorate has backed the council's view that the track must be removed.
It has dismissed Mr Reynolds' appeal against the council's decision to issue an enforcement notice in April. That ordered him to reinstate the common to how it was by removing bricks and other hardcore.
In his decision letter, appeal inspector David Richards said: "In my opinion the works constitute an unattractive and alien visual intrusion, which have introduced a hard engineered route into a traditional pastoral landscape. It detracts strongly from its character and appearance, as well as its amenity as access land."
Mr Reynolds had claimed he was merely carrying out repairs to a track that was already there and submitted evidence to the inspectorate to support his argument.
But Mr Richards said: "I find that the works which have been carried go well beyond repairs to an existing track and constitute engineering operations for which planning permission is required."
Paul Skelton, the borough council's development control manager, said Mr Reynolds should reinstate the land to its former condition, and remove all the materials he brought on to it, by the end of October.
He said: "If the necessary restoration works are not carried out, it will be open to the council to prosecute Mr Reynolds, which could lead to a maximum fine of £20,000.
"Of course, we hope that this is not necessary and look forward to the land being restored."
Mr Reynolds said: "I wanted to ascertain that there was the original track.
"I will reinstate the top soil and grass seed it."
Asked whether he would do so by the end of October, he said he would do the work "when I get round to it".