Small but Mighty Changes in the Revised National Planning Policy Framework – Green Belt

17th September 2018

Continuing our article on Small but Mighty Changes in the NPPF on Decision Making, where proposals are affected by the Green Belt subtle changes also arise.

Those worthy of note that relate to decision making include:

  • Clarity over the inclusion of rural exception sites as an exception to Green Belt Policy and the introduction of burial grounds and allotments.
  • With reference to limited infilling or partial or complete redevelopment of Previously Developed Land, a distinction has been introduced to allow for a lesser test to be achieved where such development meets an identified affordable housing need within the area of the Local Planning Authority.
  • Development brought forward under a Neighbourhood Development Order are also not inappropriate development provided they preserve openness and do not conflict with the purpose of including land within the Green Belt.
  • In addition to Community Forests, the National Forest is also confirmed as a material consideration in preparing development plans and in deciding planning applications.

Greater changes, however, occur when an alteration to the Green Belt is being considered. These include:

  • New rules introduced where a need to change the Green Belt boundaries has been established through strategic policies.
  • Following previous Green Belt Policy, changes to the Green Belt are only acceptable in exceptional circumstances. There is, however, a greater emphasis in the revised NPPF on this being fully evidenced and justified alongside all other reasonable options for meeting the Local Authority’s identified need for development. This will be assessed through the examination of the Local Authority’s strategic policies, which will take into account whether the strategy makes as much use as possible of suitable brownfield sites and underutilised land, optimising the density of development in locations well served by public transport and has been discussed with neighbouring authorities about whether they can accommodate some of the identified need.
  • Any changes should also set out ways in which the impact of removing land from the Green Belt can be offset through compensatory improvements to the environmental quality and accessibility of remaining Green Belt land.
  • Detailed amendments to those boundaries may also be made through non-strategic policies, including neighbourhood plans.

To find out more or how this affects your planning applications, please contact us on 01256 766673.

Written by Partner, Mike Cole.

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