Defining “building” in Planning Policy and the Implications of Green Belt Protection

  • High Court have updated the Laws to the Planning Policy.
  • Implications of the Green Belt Protection.
  • Exceptions to the Green Belt Protection.

Original Author: Assent Risk Management
Original Links: N/A

Recently the High Court has clarified the approach that will be taken when interpreting ‘building’ for the purposes of the National Planning Policy Framework (The NPPF).

It has now been acknowledged that ‘building’ can refer to either a singular or multiple structures on a site. This has significant planning implications, predominantly in relation to Green Belt policy.

[See Tandridge District Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.]

Protection of Green Belt

In paragraphs 79-92 of the NPP Framework provide for shielding of Green Belt land. The term ‘inappropriate development’ is regarded as harmful to the Green Belt, therefore not permitted except in “very special circumstances”. New developments within the Green Belt and are therefore generally inappropriate, unless they fall inside the limited number of exceptions.

Exceptions are detailed in Paragraph 89, they include:

  • buildings for agriculture and forestry
  • provision of appropriate facilities for outdoor sport, outdoor recreation and for cemeteries, as long as the openness of the Green Belt is preserved and there is no conflict with the purposes of including land within it
  • the extension or alteration of a building, provided this does not result in disproportionate additions over and above the size of the original building
  • the replacement of a building, as long as the new building is in the same use and not materially larger than the one it replaces
  • limited infilling in villages and affordable housing for local community needs, following Local Plan policies
  • limited infilling or the partial / complete redevelopment of previously-developed sites (brownfield land) – whether redundant or in continuing use (excluding temporary buildings) – which would not have a greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt and the purpose of including land within it, when compared to the existing development.


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