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Guildford Borough Council

Proposed Submission Local Plan: strategy and sites 2017

Proposed Submission Local Plan: strategy and sites 2017 - Part 1: Policies

Policy P2: Green Belt


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 national planning policy 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 now inset from 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 Park and the University of Law Guildford.

4.3.16 National planning policy 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. The Green Belt boundary has also been extended between Ash Green village and the Ash and Tongham urban area in order to prevent coalescence.

POLICY P2: Green Belt

(1) The Metropolitan Green Belt We will continue to be protected the Metropolitan Green Belt as shown designated on the proposals Policies map Map, against inappropriate development. In accordance with national planning policy, the construction of new development will be considered inappropriate and will not be permitted unless very special circumstances can be demonstrated.

(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:

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.

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.

Limited infilling

(5) Limited infilling within the identified settlement boundaries, as designated on the Policies Map, of the following villages:

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

(6) Limited infilling may also be appropriate outside the inset or identified settlement boundaries, and in the following villages, where it can be demonstrated that the site is as a matter of fact on the ground within the village:

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


Reasoned justification

4.3.18 Whilst most forms of development are considered inappropriate in the Green Belt, national planning policy lists certain exceptions which are not inappropriate. These are set out in paragraphs 89 and 90 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 where it would not have a greater subject to the impact on the openness of the Green Belt.

4.3.19 Further clarification is provided below in relation to extensions or alterations of buildings, replacement buildings and limited infilling. We will also prepare a Green Belt Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) which will provide further detail and guidelines to help inform development proposals.

Extensions or alterations

4.3.20 In assessing whether an extension or alteration is disproportionate, 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 including guidance on the scale of development that the Council is likely to be considered appropriate and how this will be calculated. This will help provide greater clarity to any applicants wishing to extend their homes although any guideline figures therein would still need to be considered in relation to other design criteria.

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.

Replacement buildings

4.3.22 In assessing whether the replacement building is materially larger, account will also be taken of the forthcoming Green Belt Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) which will provide guidance on the scale of development which is likely to be considered appropriate.

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 this exception 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, as a matter of fact on the ground, within the village.

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.

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

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


Monitoring Indicators



Data source

Number Percentage of appeals allowed involving development in the Green Belt.

Reduction in them number percentage of appeals allowed

Planning applications and appeals appeals