High Court Appeal Case on 15 July 2014 confirms protection of Green Belt and that unmet housing need does not constitute a very special circumstance”

Read the full findings here.
Or in brief…………

33. However, the Government have made it clear in their Ministerial Statement of 1st July 2013 that unmet demand for housing is unlikely to outweigh the harm to the Green Belt and other harm so as to constitute the very special circumstances justifying inappropriate development in the Green Belt.

34. Having balanced all the material considerations in this case, it is my judgment that the considerations in favour of the development are insufficient to amount to the very special circumstances necessary to clearly outweigh the substantial harm caused by inappropriate development in the Green Belt and the other harms I have identified. Very special circumstances to justify the development have not been demonstrated and the appeal should therefore be dismissed.”

Relevant Policy Considerations

  1. The National Planning Policy Framework (“NPPF”) provides as follows with respect to Green Belt:

“9. Protecting Green Belt land

79. The Government attaches great importance to Green Belts. The fundamental aim of Green Belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open; the essential characteristics of Green Belts are their openness and their permanence.

80. Green Belt serves five purposes:

o   to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas;

o   to prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another;

o   to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment;

o   to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns; and

o   to assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land.