2.113 Within villages washed over by the Green Belt Placemaking Plan Policy GB2 (Development in Green Belt Villages) allows residential development if it is limited to infill within the defined Housing Development Boundary (HDB). This approach broadly reflects the NPPF. However, the NPPF simply references infill development as not being inappropriate development in the Green Belt and also refers to the redevelopment of previously developed land (as long as there is no greater impact on openness) or replacement of dwellings (as long they are not materially larger than the existing dwelling) as not being inappropriate. Court judgements have concluded that whether a residential proposal is infill and as such lies within the extent of the village is to be judged and determined on an individual scheme basis. A village boundary defined in a Local Plan can be useful in informing this assessment and judgement, but it is not determinative.
2.114 As a result Policy GB2 needs to be revised. Firstly, so that it references the replacement of dwellings or redevelopment of previously developed land in villages within the Green Belt as being acceptable subject to the caveats noted in para 2.104 above (in order to accord with the NPPF) and secondly, to align with Court judgements in respect of the reference to Housing Development Boundaries.
2.115 Whilst HDBs are not the same as a village boundary, in the case of villages within the Green Belt they are primarily defined in a way so as to be infill boundaries i.e. they exclude those parts or edges of the village where development could not be regarded as infill. This is within the context of the Core Strategy definition of infill which in relation to housing is “the filling of small gaps within existing development e.g. the building of one or two houses on a small vacant plot in an otherwise extensively built up frontage, the plot generally being surrounded on at least three sides by developed sites or roads”.
2.116 In amending the policy two options exist. The first option is to amend the reference to HDBs so that it is clear they are infill boundaries and that they are not determinative as to whether development is to be regarded as infill, but that they do provide a strong indication or starting point. Or the second option would be to remove HDBs for the Green Belt villages from the Policies Map and reference to them in the policy and for limited infill to be considered solely on an individual scheme basis, with no indication in the Local Plan. Under the first option further work would be needed to ensure HDBs fully reflect the role of an infill boundary and that such boundaries are defined for all ‘villages’ within the Green Belt.
Consultation reference DM36
Policy GB2: Development in Green Belt Villages
Amend Policy GB2 by adding reference to residential development being permitted where it is limited to infill or a replacement dwelling (subject to it not being materially larger than the dwelling to replaced) or redevelopment of previously developed land (subject to no greater impact on openness). In relation to infill development and reference to HDBs:
Option 1 Amend the policy to make it clear that infill development is acceptable and that infill boundaries are defined on the Policies Map to provide a strong indication as to those parts of the village where development is capable of being considered to be infill in nature (and that outside the infill boundaries a scheme is unlikely to be regarded as infill). Housing Development Boundaries need to be assessed and redefined as ‘infill boundaries’ and ‘infill boundaries’ need to be defined for all villages within the Green Belt.
Option 2 Remove Housing Development Boundaries defined for Green Belt villages from the Policies Map and reference to them in the Policy so that it just refers to residential development being acceptable where is it limited to infill (or the redevelopment of previously developed land or replacement of dwellings)