Green Belt Development

19th September, 2019 by Acorus

Green Belt land exists to prevent urban sprawl and to keep land permanently open, indeed the essential characteristics of Green Belts are their openness and their permanence.  This does not mean however that all development is considered inappropriate in the Green Belt.

A site situated within a designated Green Belt is often subject to additional restrictions in terms of what sort of development is permitted.  As a result, there is a test of appropriateness in terms of any potential harm caused by development.  As per the National Planning Policy Framework, inappropriate development is by definition harmful to the Green Belt, with development only permissible in very special circumstances. 

Generally, Local Planning Authorities should consider new buildings in the Green Belt as inappropriate.  However, there are exceptions.  

Green Belt development that is not considered inappropriate includes buildings for agriculture and forestry, the provision of facilities in connection with outdoor recreation, re-use of buildings, the replacement of buildings (provided the new building is in the same use and not materially larger than the existing) and limited infilling in villages. 

However, renewable energy projects are generally considered inappropriate Green Belt developments. For such projects, very special circumstances will need to be demonstrated.  This may include the wider environmental benefits, and showing that they outweigh any harm.

When considering development in a Green Belt area the first matter to consider is whether the type of development proposed is not inappropriate.  The next consideration is scale and appearance and whether it is acceptable.  For example, agricultural buildings may not be inappropriate in the Green Belt, but consideration also has to be given to their scale, appearance and siting in order to minimise harm. Justification is required as to why the buildings are needed, why they are of a certain type, scale and appearance, and why they are sited in a certain location.  A higher level of detail is usually required, particularly in terms of drawings and plans in order to demonstrate exactly what is proposed so a judgement of impact on the Green Belt can be established. 

Should you be considering development in the Green Belt, please do not hesitate to contact your local Acorus office and speak to one of our planning consultants.



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