Green Belt

What is the Green Belt?

The Green Belt serves five purposes:

  • to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas;
  • to prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another;
  • to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment;
  • to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns;
  • and to assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land.
Green Belts in England By Hellerick [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Usually, new buildings are considered inappropriate development in the Green Belt.

Usually new buildings are considered inappropriate development in the Green Belt

These exceptions are NOT considered Inappropriate Development:

  • buildings for agriculture or forestry;
  • provision of appropriate facilities for outdoor sport, outdoor recreation and for cemeteries, as long as it preserves the openness of the Green Belt and does not conflict with the purposes of including land within it;
  • the extension or alteration of a building provided that it does not result in disproportionate additions over and above the original building;
  • the replacement of a building provided the new building is in the same use and not materially larger than the one it replaces;
  • limited infilling in villages, and limited affordable housing for local community needs under policies set out in the Local Plan;
  • or limited infilling or the partial or complete redevelopment of previously developed sites (brownfield land), which would not have a greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt and the purpose of including land within it than the existing development.

Example of a planning application that was approved for appropriate residential development in the Green Belt

Existing plan of a nursery/garden centre
Existing plan of a nursery/garden centre located in the Green Belt
Proposed housing development on the same site
Proposed housing development on the same site in the Green Belt

Read more about this application here:
Case Study: Housing Development in the Green Belt

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