Aston Marina Specialists in Rural Planning & Design WEB by APK Aston Marina - Canal Marina, Farm Shop & Bistro Project Type:  Canal Marina, Farm Shop, Restaurant and Boat Yard Services: Site evaluation Project management and co-ordination of specialist consultants Consultations with British Waterways, Local Planning Authority and statutory consultees Design of marina basins, new buildings and car parking Preparation of Planning, Design & Access Statements Planning applications Section 78 Appeal & Expert Witness for planning and building design at Public Inquiry. PPS25 Flood Risk Sequential Test Haston Reynolds was approached by a Staffordshire dairy farmer to explore the possibility of gaining planning permission for a new-build farm shop on land that he owned near Stone in order to diversify his farm business. Following a review of the Development Plan and initial consultation with the Local Planning Authority it was quickly established that a new-build farm shop in that location would be contrary to policy and would be strongly resisted. However, having regard to the site's location adjacent to the Trent & Mersey Canal and close to the Development Boundary of Stone, the potential for a much more ambitious scheme involving an offline canal marina, restaurant, boat yard and ironically, a chandlery/farm shop, was identified. A wide range of planning, design and environmental issues needed to be addressed given that the site was located in 'open countryside' and the canal corridor had been designated as a Conservation Area.  Inputs from suitable specialist highways, ecology, landscape and engineering consultants were also sourced and co-ordinated in the preparation of the planning application. The need for a full Environmental Impact Assessment was however avoided even though the scheme exceeding the indicative thresholds for that type of development. Despite a recommendation of approval from the Local Planning Authority's professional Planning Officer the planning application was refused.  This necessitated a Section 78 Appeal which was dealt with by way of a Public Inquiry during which Haston Reynolds provided Expert Witness evidence on planning and building design issues.  The Inspector made it clear within his decision that the scheme was acceptable in principle and planning permission was subsequently granted by the Local Planning Authority in 2008. A further planning application to provide additional visitor berths has since been approved and the scheme which now boasts 220 berths, a shop, a bistro and a boat yard opened in 2010.