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Guildford Borough Council

Submission Local Plan: Strategy and Sites - Main Modifications

Submission Local Plan: Strategy and Sites - Main Modifications - Part 1: Policies

Policy P2: Green Belt

Introduction

4.3.11 Most of our open countryside is designated as part of the Metropolitan Green Belt that surrounds London. The main aim of Green Belt is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open. Green Belt also provides opportunities for people to access the countryside, to protect land for agriculture, forestry and similar land uses, and for nature conservation.

4.3.12 Historically all the villages, except Ash Green, and major previously developed sites have been washed over by the Green Belt designation. However, the NPPF states that only those villages whose open character makes an important contribution to the openness of the Green Belt should be included in the Green Belt. Those that do not should be inset, or removed, from the Green Belt and other development management policies used to restrict any inappropriate development.

4.3.13 The following villages are no longer washed over by the Green Belt: Chilworth, East Horsley, Effingham, Fairlands, Flexford, Jacobs Well, Normandy, Peasmarsh, Ripley, Send, Send Marsh/ Burnt Common, Shalford, West Horsley and Wood Street Village.

4.3.14 Whilst not villages, a similar approach is applicable to major previously developed sites in relation to whether they should remain washed over or be inset from the Green Belt. National policy requires that land which it is unnecessary to keep permanently open should not be included in the Green Belt. If major previously developed sites are of sufficient scale and do not possess an open character, it is not considered necessary for them to remain within the Green Belt.

4.3.15 The following major previously developed sites are now inset from the Green Belt: Henley Business Park, HM Prison Send, Keogh Barracks, Mount Browne, Pirbright Barracks, Pirbright Institute, Send Business Centre and the University of Law Guildford.

4.3.16 The NPPF requires that Green Belt boundaries are only amended in exceptional circumstances and that this must be undertaken as part of the Local Plan process. We consider that exceptional circumstances exist to justify the amendment of Green Belt boundaries in order to facilitate the development that is needed and promote sustainable patterns of development.

4.3.17 Whilst the general extent of the Green Belt has been retained, land has been removed from the Green Belt in order to enable development around Guildford urban area, selected villages, and at the former Wisley airfield.

POLICY P2: Green Belt

(1) The Metropolitan Green Belt will continue to be protected, as designated on the Policies Map, will continue to be protected against inappropriate development in accordance with the NPPF. In accordance with national planning policy, the construction of new development will be considered inappropriate andInappropriate development will not be permitted unless very special circumstances can be demonstrated. Very special circumstances will not exist unless the potential harm to the Green Belt by reason of inappropriateness, and any other harm, is clearly outweighed by other considerations.

(2) Certain forms of development are not considered to be inappropriate. Proposals will be permitted where they are consistent with the exceptions listed in national planning policy and, where relevant, also meet the following criteria:The construction of new buildings in the Green Belt will constitute inappropriate development, unless the buildings fall within the list of exceptions identified by the NPPF. For the purpose of this policy, the following definitions will apply to those exceptions:

Extensions or alterations

(3) The extension or alteration of a building provided that it would not result in disproportionate additions over and above the size of the original building.

(a) The "original building" shall mean either:

i. the building as it existed on 1 July 1948; or

ii. if no building existed on 1 July 1948, then the first building as it was originally built after this date

Replacement buildings

(4) The replacement of a building, provided the new building:

(a) would be in the same use, and

(b) is not materially larger than the one it replaces, and

(c) is sited on or close to the position of the existing building.

(b) A new building will only constitute a "replacement" if it is sited on or in a position that substantially overlaps that of the original building, unless it can be clearly demonstrated that an alternative position would not increase the overall impact on the openness of the Green Belt.

Limited infilling

(c) "limited infilling" shall mean:

(i) Limited infilling within the identified settlement boundaries, as designated on the Policies Map, of the following villages. Limited infilling may also be appropriate outside the identified settlement boundaries where it can be demonstrated that the site should be considered to be within the village.

Albury, Compton, East Clandon, East Horsley (south), Gomshall, Holmbury St Mary, Peaslake, Pirbright, Puttenham, Ripley, Shere, West Clandon and Worplesdon.

(ii) Limited infilling may also be appropriate outside the inset settlement boundaries, as designated on the Policies Map, of the following villages where it can be demonstrated that the site should be considered to be within the village.

Ash Green, Chilworth, East Horsley, Effingham, Fairlands, Flexford, Jacobs Well, Normandy, Peasmarsh, Ripley, Send, Send Marsh/ Burnt Common, Shalford, West Horsley and Wood Street Village.

(iii) Limited infilling may also be appropriate either outside the inset or identified settlement boundaries, orand in the following villages, where it can be demonstrated that the site should be is as a matter of fact considered to be within the village:

Artington, Eashing, Farley Green, Fox Corner, Hurtmore, Ockham, Seale, Shackleford, The Sands, Wanborough and Wisley.

(3a) Certain other forms of development are also considered not inappropriate in the Green Belt provided they preserve its openness and do not conflict with the purposes of including land within it, and these are listed in the NPPF.

 

Reasoned justification

4.3.18 Whilst most forms of development are considered inappropriate in the Green Belt, the NPPF lists certain exceptions which are not inappropriate. These are set out in paragraphs 145 and 146 of the National Planning Policy Framework. The exceptions listed include development such as new buildings for agriculture and forestry, and the redevelopment of previously developed land subject to the impact on the openness of the Green Belt.

4.3.19 In assessing proposals, account will be taken of the forthcoming Green Belt Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), which will be prepared to support this policy. This will set out guidelines and considerations that the Council will take into account when assessing Green Belt planning applications. This will help provide greater clarity to any applicants.

4.3.20    Paragraph intentionally blank

4.3.21 For the purpose of this policy, the original building is defined as the building as it existed on 1 July 1948 or, if constructed after 1 July 1948, as it was built originally. For the avoidance of doubt, if no building existed on 1 July 1948, then the original building is considered to be the first building as it was originally built after this date.

4.3.22    Paragraph intentionally blank

4.3.23 Replacement buildings are expected to be sited on or close to the position of the original building, unless it can be clearly demonstrated that an alternative position would reduce the overall impact on the openness of the Green Belt.

Limited infilling

4.3.24 Development within villages in the Green Belt is limited to small scale infilling. This reflects the need to protect the openness of the Green Belt. Case law has now established that limited infilling is applicable to all villages and not restricted to sites that fall within identified settlement boundaries in local plans. Instead, the decision-maker is required to consider whether the site is located within the village, identified boundaries being at most a relevant consideration. The policy defines, and applies to, all those settlements in the borough which are considered to be villages and in which limited infilling may therefore be appropriate.

4.3.25 In order to provide some certainty, settlement boundaries have nevertheless been identified for those villages that are of a scale and form that enable a boundary to be established with a degree of certainty. Proposals within these areas are considered to be in the village and limited infilling here would be appropriate. However, the built form of many of the villages extends wider than the boundary and, in some instances, proposals here may also be considered to be in the village. These will need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis and, if considered to be in the village, then limited infilling here would also be appropriate. Those villages for which no boundary has been identified are listed in the policy and would also need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. There are a number of considerations to take account of when assessing whether a site is located within the village. This includes factors such as the pattern of development, and the proposed development's relationship to the built up area of the village and the surrounding countryside.

4.3.26 For the purposes of this policy, limited infilling is considered to be the development of a small gap in an otherwise continuous built-up frontage, or the small-scale redevelopment of existing properties within such a frontage. It also includes infilling of small gaps within built development. It should be appropriate to the scale of the locality and not have an adverse impact on the character of the countryside or the local environment.

4.3.27 Implementation of this policy will be through the Council's development management process.

Key Evidence

  • Green Belt and Countryside Study Volumes I - VI (Guildford Borough Council, 2011 and 2014)
  • Settlement Hierarchy (Guildford Borough Council, 2014)

 

Monitoring Indicators

Indicator

Target

Data source

Percentage of appeals allowed involving Number of planning decisions, including appeals, granting permission for inappropriate development in the Green Belt

Reduction in the percentage of appeals allowed

N/A

Planning permissions and appeals