London Green Belt Council

Green Belt appeal decisions

Housing – Redevelopment of brown field sites



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Updated 11 May 2007, this page includes various recent decisions on appeals against refusal of planning consent. Summarises of appeal decisions arising from refusal of planning consent are available at www.Planning,uk/dcs, with a copy of the decision letter also available for a fee.

Housing appeals have been split into four categories, namely:

        New (green field) including re-use of agricultural land

        New (brown field) being the redevelopment of other categories of land

        Conversions, being the conversion of an existing building, with perhaps an extension.

        ‘Other’ is a miscellany such as extensions, outbuildings, walls, access and other items not covered by the three main categories.

The category decision is ours, and you may disagree! Some cases are hard to categorise, so it may be worth checking out the others.

'SoS' = Secretary of State. 'DETR' is now ‘DCLG’ = Dept for Communities and Local Government

Colliery regeneration refused in S Yorks GB. Most of the 4.6ha site was open having previously been used for coal stockpiling. 1ha would be used for employment and the rest for housing. It would restore the damaged and derelict land and help with local housing needs. The Inspector decided the brown filed nature of the land had no bearing and there were no overriding need to sanction the release of additional housing land nor pressure for employment. The community and environmental benefits were insufficient to justify the scheme. DCS ref OT-100-045-081. 10.11.06

Homes refused at Beds GB lime works. The 4ha former chalk quarry was now an active lime hydrating plant, The proposals were to demolish all buildings and erect 40 homes. The appellant claimed it would enhance the visual amenity and increase openness by removing the buildings. While agreeing these points, the Inspector decided the buildings had become part of the landscape and a reminder of the past chalk quarrying. Housing would introduce an incongruous suburban feature. To justify housing as more attractive could be repeated across the countryside and was not a very special circumstance. There were significant benefits from the offer to restore the kilns and manage the adjacent wildlife site, but the site was relatively unsustainable being largely car depend. DCS OT100-045-374. 1.12.06

Mixed use of 3 sites in Kent GB village refused. The proposals included a replacement primary school and playing field, replacement memorial hall 22 affordable homes and a public open space. The existing school site would be used for 12 homes with 4 more on the existing playing field. The SoS agreed with the inspector that the development plan specifically excluded GB land from the rural exception sites policy. The development would have an urbanising impact and diminish the rural character of the land and part of the village. The benefits did not outweigh the harm. The need to replace community facilities were very special circumstances but the housing needs survey did not justify the number of homes proposed. The survey did not establish that all the identified need should be met within the village or located on this GB land. DCS 100042860 21.7.06

Sheltered homes refused in Bristol GB. Various appeals involving between 2 and 19 sheltered homes at a nursing home were dismissed because VSC had not been proven. The primary health care trust had not established a pressing need in the district. The appellant argued that the nursing home would be jeopardised if the appeals were dismissed. DCS 100040723. 1`0.2.06


Redevelopment of flatted house refused in Berks GB. The 1.4ha site contained a house divided into 12 flats. The proposal was to demolish the house, outbuildings, greenhouses etc and erect a Queen Anne-style house containing 15 flats, a separate courtyard development of 5 houses and 35 car spaces. The overall size would be similar. The Inspector recommended approval being previously developed, reduced area, significantly reduced hardstandings, and increased openness. The need to preserve the environmental quality outweighed the low density. The DPM disagreed since the density was only 14 dwellings per ha, compared with PPG3 minimum of 43 on this site. Also there were only 3 units for key workers, and the ratio should have been based on the total number, not the increase in numbers. The location was unsustainable being remote from shops, services and bus routes. DDS 100040042. 13.1.06

Hospital redevelopment refused in Bucks GB. The proposal was to develop the Canadian Red Cross Memorial Hospital with 191 dwellings, including 42 affordable homes, on part of the 7.3ha site. The local plan supported development in the Green Belt as long as it increased the openness. Outline permission had been granted for 135 dwellings, which the Inspector thought important. However the site was inherently unsustainable, generating more car journeys, justifying refusal. The ODPM agreed. DCS 100039967. 6.1.06

Homes at Staffs GB sports club approved. The proposal was to demolish buildings on the 1.1ha site and build 5 dwellings, reducing floor area from 730sqm to 205sqm, and volume from 2408 m3 to 1240 m3. the DPM agreed that removal of hard standings etc would increase the openness and visual amenity of the GB. The new homes would be close to others. This plus improved landscaping were very special circumstances. DCS 100039965. 6.1.06

24 dwellings approved in Warwicks GB. Reserved matters were approved since the scheme would not compromise the visual amenity and integrity of the adjacent GB. The council argued the site, containing a care home, paddock and orchard, related more to the nearby open land and the scheme was urban in character. The Inspector decided thatb the views from the GB were limited and not overly conspicuous. The Inspector also dismissed council’s claim that trees on the site would reduce light in the proposed dwellings. DCS 100039816. 16.12.05

Housing refused on West Mids GB scrap yard site. The Inspector recommended approval of 4 houses on this brown field because retaining the scrap yard undesirable particularly if its use increased, and homes would benefit the community. The ODPM refused permission on GB and housing policy grounds. The High Court upheld the ODPM decision even though it was unpalatable to the appellants. De Mulder and others v 1st SOS. 30.11.05 Ref CO/2279/2005. Planning 16.12.05

Mableton hospital redevelopment refused in Kent GB. The DPM dismissed two appeals by the SoS for Health because there was no need for additional housing. The buildings on the 16.4ha site had been demolished in 1986 and various options proposed.. This is a MDS (Major Developed Site) in the GB. The housing proposals would affect openness because the buildings would be less compact than the original hospital buildings. The site was unsustainable. DCS 100039017. 21.10.05

Higher density housing refused at Essex GB site. Outline permission was granted in 2002 to develop 3.75ha of land at a camping and sports development darting back to the 1950s. Conditions imposed a limit of 28 houses, a 3,640 m sq floor area and maximum of 2 storeys. The appellant wanted either 60 or 180 dwellings with conservation work on the remaining 15.6ha. The DPM agreed with the inspector that it was not a major developed site so PPG2 annex C did not apply. The DPM noted that the low-density development approved formed part and parcel of the outline permission, which also proposed improvements to the environmental qualities of the rest of the site. Building at a higher density would fail to maintain the landscape quality of the surrounding area and would not create a well-landscaped and visually acceptable layout. DCS 100037810. 22.7.05

Housing allowed at Middx GB research site. The 11 ha site contained several large buildings of varying ages which were gradually being vacated as users moved to new facilities. The DPM approved housing on about 5ha with the rest becoming open space, landscaping and footpaths to the adjoining common. A condition limited the housing area to comply with PPG2 annex C on redevelopment of major developed sites in the GB. DCS 33272551. 1.7.05


Haulage yard cannot be used for housing in Essex GB. The very special circumstances claimed were that the haulage yard was unrestricted by planning controls and had adversely affected local community amenity. It would use previously developed land and the site had been earmarked for housing in the draft District Plan before it was withdrawn. The Inspector decided none of these, singly or collectively, were very special circumstances and the small housing estate would be more likely to erode the openness since dwellings would be scattered over the site instead of the current grouping in the centre. DCS 100037214. 10 June 2005.


Homes & golf club refused at Staffs GB. The proposal was to demolish an existing clubhouse to provide housing and fund a new clubhouse, a maintenance shed and course improvements. The argument was that the housing would have the same footprint as the existing clubhouse and the new clubhouse facilities for outdoor sport, complying with PPG2. The Inspector decided there would be a significant increase in built development reducing the openness of the GB. The funded improvements were not very special circumstances, and there would not be any significant benefits to the public as a whole. DCS 100037064. 27 June 2005

Conversion of agricultural buildings to holiday homes refused in Cheshire GB. No substantial evidence was produced to show that a particular agricultural had been in mind for work already carried out on the buildings. The appellant claimed it was a agricultural permitted development under section2 of GPDOm1995 but the Inspector disagreed. It was not permitted development and the building had been altered to encourage the works to take place. Apart from the steel frame, little else would remain. In effect it was the erection of a new building. DCS 54487464 Oct 2004.

Walsall/Birmingham GB former hospital approved for housing. The DPM agreed with the Inspector’s recommendation for up to 445 houses on this 65ha site between Walsall and Birmingham. The grade 11* listed hall and immediate grounds were outside the appeal site and were key elements of a conservation area. Until 1997 the hall housed mentally ill patients. The site was near shops etc and had good public transport links, and approved measures would resolve access, traffic and congestion problems. It met PPG3 requirements and include significant numbers of social housing. Although inappropriate in the GB it would reduce pressure on other green field sites, and the harm to the GB by way of increased height of buildings was outweighed by an overall increase in openness. Re-instatement of parkland and removal of derelict buildings would preserve the character of the conservation area. These were sufficiently very special circumstances to warrant approval. DCS 30680741.. Oct 2004.

Housing on former airfield refused in Cambridgeshire. Not in GB but refused because the poor accessibility by non-car means of transport made it unsustainable. Revisions to PPG3 and PPG13 overrode the 1998 permission for 12 houses on the site. DCS 52614748. Sept 2004.

Some permitted development rights re-instated for Kent GB house. Permission had been granted for a replacement bungalow with conditions preventing extensions, external alterations, enclosure or a swimming pool in the garden. The bungalow was 129& bigger that the original. The Inspector agreed that extensions or curtilage buildings would be inappropriate. New windows, roof lights to enable use of the roof space would not have any significant effect and he re-instated these rights. DCS 35230748. August 2004.

Surrey GB replacement house can have additions. The Inspector allowed retention of a porch, screen wall, pergola, gazebo and portico at a replacement house despite the council’s arguments that they were excessive and undermined the openness. The original house of 496 m2 was replaced by one of 1,497 m2 excluding garden structures and buildings. The Inspector agreed that all except the gazebo were inappropriate but they were embellishments complementing and completing the new dwelling, improving its appearance and proportionate to the size of the approved building. Their relatively minor nature and the visual improvement were a very special circumstance. However he removed all General Permitted Development Rights. DCS 58195297. August 2004.

Surrey GB housing estate refused at former ammunition depot. The former WW2 ammunition depot contained 8 bunkers, agricultural buildings and hard standings. The appellant argued that the development would increase green areas from 4,800 m2 to 6.800 m2. The Inspector noted a 25% increase in the built footprint and the 76 new houses would be two storey high. The gardens would not be ‘open’ and the domestic buildings would have an urban effect. It was unsustainable being poorly related to shops, employment and other services including public transport. DCS 52985451. August 2004.

Staffs GB housing refused – wall garden improvement not v.s.c. Improvements to the locally important walled garden were not sufficiently very special circumstances to justify building 4 houses on a former nursery site. The appellant claimed it would ensure the long-term survival of this only surviving remnant of a kitchen garden of a former manor house. The wall was not listed nor in a conservation area. The harm to the openness of the countryside and character of the area by the housing would be substantial. DCS 31777582. June 2004.

N Yorks GB hospital site refused for housing. Despite the Major Developed Site designation the DPM refused plans for 34 dwellings on the site of a former hospital. The appellant argued the scheme met paragraph C4 of PPG2, it would increase openness, promote access to the countryside, restore degraded land and reduce the volume of building on site by 65%. The Inspector did not think it met all of paragraph C4’s criteria, in particular outside sports and recreation, and some buildings would be higher than the original ones. It failed to meet the sequential approach to housing land release, and would have an adverse effect on an AONB at Nidderdale. The DPM agreed. DCS 33461213. June 2004.

Replaced care home site OK for housing. The original care home was demolished in 2001 and permission granted for a 60-bed replacement elsewhere, creating a very special circumstance. The proposed 2-storey block of 24 flats and 36 car spaces on the site would be smaller than the original building, and would provide a range of unit sizes promoting a more mixed and socially inclusive community. DCS 3424096. April 2004

West Yorks GB housing estate would harm village character. The proposal was to convert a 19th century mill into 12 flats plus 30 new dwellings on an adjacent site. The Inspector accepted the mill conversion which retained the character of the building but the new development would increase the dispersal and height of development across the site. The relocation of the site’s industrial occupiers to a purpose-built factory funded by the housing sale, the potential dereliction of the premises and fallback position of unconstrained general industrial use were not sufficiently special circumstances to allow the scheme. The loss of the mill and the conventional terraced housing estate would diminish the character of the village. The loss of the mill would detract from the choice and mix of employment sites. Although the premises might not suit their present occupiers, others would find them suitable. It conflicted with the development plan and PPG7 advice supporting a better balance between employment and housing in rural communities to promote sustainable development. DCS 55588294. April 2004.

Manchester GB mill homes refused. 117 new homes were refused on the site of a 1920’s mill in a GB river valley, being harmful to the character and appearance of the area. The design was driven by highways requirements and reflected more substantial suburban locations. The resulting footprint was less than the mill’s but it would be an uninteresting and unworthy addition to the valley. It would not have any greater impact on the openness but would not improve access to the countryside or provide outdoor sports and recreation. It qwould not enhance the landscape or be an environmental improvement. DCS 29989202. April 2004.

Five houses on Kent AONB refused. At a farm in the Kent Downs AONB permission was granted in 1991 for use of buildings for light industrial storage and distribution. They were used for car importing etc for about 75 vehicles a month. The Inspector recommended the replacement by housing because of the reduction in vehicle movements and a likelihood of more intense industrial use if permission was refused, and an enhanced visual appearance of the AONB by extinguishing a bad neighbour use. The DPM refused permission, deciding the existing use did not harm the environment by virtue of the scale of activity and traffic movements, so it was not a bad neighbour, and the remoteness of the site made in unsustainable. DCS 34569959. April 2004.

Redevelopment of waste transfer station land for housing in Surrey GB refused. It was proposed to build 12 flats and 33 houses on the site. It would contravene GB policies by contributing to sprawl of a large built-up area and encroach into the countryside, but would have a neutral effect on openness. It was unsuitable for business use and current had a severe adverse impact on the neighbours due to smell, dust, noise and other disturbance. The redundant buildings were ill-suited for conversion which in any case was likely to be uneconomic. The loss of employment land was acceptable. Although there was a good service to the site the occupants would be car-dependent to reach local facilities. The Inspector’s reservations were about the poor links to local facilities, lack of information about whether the existing business could be relocated, and licence controls. If all the licence controls had been exercised and the site remained a bad neighbour then that would add weight to very special circumstances, but the controls had not been fully applied, so that argument was unproven. DCS 36590146. June 2004.


Four homes refused on Little Chef site in Surrey GB – The 0.42 acre site contained two 4-bed houses and the former restaurant. The applicant and council acknowledged that it was an inappropriate development but the site needed regeneration,, justifying a 32% increase in floor space and 28% increase in volume. Density was < 10 per hectare but an improvement on the existing <5 per hectare., and was the maximum achievable. The DPM and Inspector agreed that no very special circumstances had been given and it was not sustainable being some distance from services and the occupiers would be car-reliant. The DPM accepted car spaces above 1.6 recommended in PPG3 because of poor public transport and the figure was meant to be an average over the LA area, not a site maximum. However the development would reduce the openness of the countryside by consolidating sporadic development, and there was no specific need for the housing. DCS 30536064 March 2004.

Housing OK at milk depot – In Surrey GB, 9 dwellings were approved on a former milk storage and distribution depot. The appellant agreed the site was within the village curtilage so it was infill. The Council disagreed and was inappropriate development. The Inspector decided it was limited infill so no very special circumstances were needed. DCS 52959440. Feb 2004

Cheshire GB housing instead of odour from livestock – The 29 homes on the edge of a village would have a smaller footprint than the existing farm buildings and slurry lagoons. The site was not defined as previously developed per PPG3, but it did have existing buildings so it was not green field under PPG3. Many houses in the village were unpleasant to live in, and the removal of smell from intensive farming was a very special circumstance, re-enforced by increased openness, provision of affordable housing and improved landscaping. This conforms to previous decisions on the removal of a cause of severe amenity harm. DCS 334475581 March 2004.

House replacement of warehouse refused – In Merseyside GB, there were no very special circumstances to outweigh the harm to the GB. Attempts to sell the warehouse had been unsuccessful and the asbestos roof made it unsuitable for food storage. Most of the building was to be demolished and the house would have a smaller volume and footprint. The new building would be more prominent being further forward and taller, having a greater effect on openness than the dimensions suggested. Refusal of permission would not necessarily lead to a derelict building. It could be used for other purposes. DCS 33905706. March 2004.


House to replace Herts GB kennels – removal of the noisy business was a very special circumstance. The house was inappropriate but the 150-place kennels generated more activity and traffic than a house. GBs are not intended to be devoid of all commercial activity and there can be appropriate locations for many enterprises. These kennels were beside a straight and sometimes busy section of road, but this was a chance to remove a source of noise which intruded into the peace and quiet that neighbours might expect in such a rural location. DCS 55455368 October 2003.

2 houses down and 15 up refused next to Worcs GB – The site bordered the GB and the development would harm the character of the area and create an undesirable precedent. The area had a high environmental quality and the scheme would be out of character with the relatively low-density existing housing. It would be an incursion into the well-defined rear garden land, and could lead to copy-cat developments in the long rear gardens along the road which would be difficult to refuse. DCS 36021523 October 2003.

Bath GB mixed proposal refused despite benefits – The rejected scheme would have provided business floor space and 19 live-work units on an industrial site south of Bath on a sensitive position. It was on the edge of a built-up area alongside a main route into the city and a gateway into the world heritage site. The existing footprint of 2,805 sqm would be replaced by 2,586 sqm. The Inspector accepted the proposal dealt with a long standing problem site which had a dilapidated and unkempt appearance. He did not think it would materially harm the openness of the GB countryside or prejudice the reasons for including the land within it. The DPM disagreed, noting the land was not a major developed site, and that PPG2 was only a guide. The bulk and mass of the buildings would increase, reducing openness. The removal of a silo etc was offset by increased hard standings and parking areas. The proposal had an urban feel compared with the current neutral effect. An acceptable scheme would need very special circumstances but the proposed fallback position was not enough. It would not comply fully with PPG13 so the DPM refused permission. DCS 53906044 Aug 2003.

Affordability of homes did not outweigh harm to Met. GB – It was proposed to use the site of a house and paddocks to provide 29 affordable homes for which there was a local demand. The Inspector noted the need was for 16 to 24, not 29. The development would reduce the openness of the countryside. A condition controlling occupancy as suggested in Circular 6/98 was inappropriate because no social landlord was involved. The owner would not have his Human Rights contravened because the interests of the general public and harm caused were greater than the owner’s rights. DCS 23715813. June 2003.

Housing refused on Bristol GB hospital – A previous refusal was overturned by the High Court, but a second application has also been refused for 250 homes proposed by Barratt Homes Ltd & Taywood Homes Ltd. In October 2001 the DPM refused permission because the site was not within or immediately adjacent to a settlement so it failed to comply with the preferred location for now housing. He now ruled that meeting a housing shortage did not outweigh the need to create more sustainable patterns of development and reuse of land within urban areas in a sequential approach to site selection. This site was inappropriate, reducing the openness and visual amenity, and car-dependent, but it was a finely balanced case. The emerging local plan identified this site as a major developed site within the GB suitable for up to 225 dwellings but there had been numerous objections including one from GO-SW. The site scored lowly against PPG3. DCS 54008288. May 2003.

Warehouse replaced by house in Merseyside GB – the house would have a smaller footprint and volume compared with the warehouse, increasing the openness. Although the warehouse looked like a typical agricultural storage building it was a discordant feature in a gap between two substantial houses, and the new hose would not have an urbanising effect. DCS 46047925. June 2003.

Edward Ware New Homes v SoSTLR decision - E Ware Ltd proposed to build 10 houses and integrated office space on 1.7ha on a former industrial site & mushroom farm in the Bristol GB. The Inspector refused permission and the High Court agreed. However the Court of Appeal overruled this decision, agreeing that the Inspector had erroneously concluded the site had limited potential for re-use for employment purposes, even though this had been discussed at the inquiry, so it was procedurally unfair. The High Court had thought sufficient evidence had been considered. the Court of Appeal decided that the expert witnesses for the council and appellant had not been asked to give a view on this point so it was unfair for the inspector to rely on it. 16 April 2003 ref C1/2002/0102

Larger dwelling refused in Herts GB - In 1991 permission was given to replace a 380 msq wooden chalet with a house of 988msq. The area was transferred in 2001 to another local authority who said a newly approved dwelling of similar size was not being built in accordance with the plans. The Inspector held that such an increase should not have been approved, and the actual building was 12% larger than approved. The cumulative increases would harm the openness and there were no very special circumstances. DCS 41295188 March 2003.

Larger dwelling in GB approved due to enhancement - In the Surrey GB, a 196 msq dwelling was approved to replace a 123 msq dwelling even though it was inappropriate in the GB. It would enhance the character and appearance of a conservation area, making a very special circumstance. It would enclose a village green that was of particular visual importance, contrasting markedly with the open countryside beyond. DCS 52365317 March 2003.

GB flats in Heathrow flight path refused - It was proposed to replace a 297msq coach depot with flats with a footprint of 332msq. the new building would be slightly higher and wider, and would reduce the openness of the countryside. DoT circular 1/2002 was against new or replacement development in the public safety zone for Heathrow Airport, and no residential buildings should be permitted. Although users of the building would fall from 30 to 15, the flats would be occupied at night as well as daytime. Noise levels would be excessive. DCS 29127891 March 2003

House allowed on commercial storage site in GB - The local council, in Hertfordshire, said that a significant oversupply of housing compared with the District Plan enabled the council to refuse new permission because of the cumulative effect. However the draft structure plan proposed an increase in housing. The Inspector decided that a blanket refusal of windfall sites was not justified, The continued commercial use of the site was not material and the new dwelling would not reduce the openness of the area. March 2003. DCS 37599800

Housing cannot replace Surrey GB hotel - the Inspector refused the demolition of a country hotel and erection of 23 flats, being inappropriate in the GB. The high density housing in a rural location was not compatible with sustainable development. DCS 39151978

N Somerset stables in GB cannot be redeveloped - Planning was refused for housing in a paddock adjoining stables since it conflicted with GB policies and was unsustainable being car-dependent and remote from local facilities. An appeal was made arguing that the paddock was within the curtilage of the stables so it was a very special circumstance. The Inspector decided the land was partly previously developed but the balance of the site was not previously developed. the High Court upheld the Inspector's decision. Withers V SoS TLR 11Nov 2002. DCS C)/2784/2002

GB pub site cannot be used for housing - The 8 houses would be built as a cluster like a farmstead. The planning authority accepted it was inappropriate in the GB but this was outweighed by very special circumstances of removal of the pub and large areas of hardstanding which would increase the openness of the countryside. The Inspector agreed but the DPM called it in and refused permission. the increased height from one to two and a half storeys would suburbanise it, eroding the openness. Also the density was too low at less than 30 dwellings per ha. It would be heavily car-dependent and 3.5 car spaces per dwelling was unjustified. Walsall MBC 30 Oct 2002. DCS 42403027

Surrey GB care home to be replaced by housing - A 0.75ha site contained 2 & 3 storey buildings with a footprint of 1,100sqm. Reuse of the buildings was impractical and the planning authority supported a scheme to replace the buildings with 24 flats at 32 units per ha. increasing the openness and visual amenity of the GB. The Inspector wanted a higher density including some affordable units, but the DPM approved the scheme, being within acceptable limits. The site was sustainable being accessible by a choice of transport, and the DPM concluded the units were acceptable with no need for affordable units. Reigate & Banstead BC 6 Nov 2002 DCS 31495793

Housing allowed at Sheffield GB school - the DPM allowed 27 dwellings and a new playing field at a school in the Sheffield GB, since it would increase the openness and reuse previously developed land i.e. disused school buildings. Although the buildings would be higher the footprint would be 37% less, increasing the overall sense of openness making a very special circumstance (VSP). Other VSPs included the continued deterioration of the existing buildings due to incapability of economic reuse. Although the search requirements of PPG3 were not met it would promote sustainability and assist in meeting the council's target of 80% of housing on previously developed land. Sheffield CC 14 Oct 2002. DCS 44639665

Gatwick zoo to become GB housing - The owner of a long-established small zoo wished to retire and sell it to a large company who planned to treble visitor numbers. The local authority felt this would harm the setting of a nearby village and supported redevelopment for housing. An application was made to demolish all buildings on the 4ha site and put houses on just 1.1ha, significantly increasing the openness of the area. Vehicle movements should reduce from 72,000 pa to 42,000, benefiting the environment and safety on the narrow rural roads. At 19 dwellings per ha. it was consistent with PPG3- Housing given the sensitivity of the GB location which, together with the other benefits, which were even greater compared with an enlarged zoo, became a very special circumstance justifying approval. Mole Valley DC 6 Aug 2002. DCS 47485088

Leeds GB housing unsustainable - An application was made to convert Becca Hall, a listed building, into 14 flats and add 16 more flats and 14 dwellings in the grounds. It was supported by Leeds Council, but the DPM refused it being unsustainable on transport grounds, with no affordable housing and harmful to the character and setting of the house. He agreed that demolition of outbuildings would increase the openness but it had not been established that this was the only means of securing the future of the listed building. More significance was put on the remoteness being 2km from the nearest settlement. The DPM concluded it was unsuitable for a housing development and subdivision would spoil the character, even more so with flats in the frounds. Leeds CC 20 Aug 2002. DCS 288532996.

Bristol GB industrial site refused for housing - The 0.8ha site was used for processing agricultural lime and contained building with 1,447 sqm floorspace, and a B2 industrial use. The planning authority supported an application for 11 homes, the developer arguing that it would enhance the openness and visual amenity of the green belt. It would reduce the traffic movements, was a reasonably sustainable location, and used previously developed land. The Inspector agreed the neutral effort on openness and environmental and landscaping benefits were a very special circumstance. However it did not meet the sequential approach to new housing development, and had poor public transport to jobs, shops and services. There was no affordable housing provision and the density was less than half the PPG3 figure of 30 per ha. It should be possible to increase the density without compromising the openness. The SoS agreed noting that the large detached houses in the countryside were contrary to PPG7. S Glocs C 4 July 2002. DCS 32109475

Housing refused at Staffs iron foundary in green belt - The Sos called in a Cannock-Chase-DC supported application for 8 houses in two rows of four dwellings totalling 1350 sqm plus 614sqm of garages. On the edge of a village in the Staffs green belt, the site contained various 19th century buildings mainly built of brick. The applicant said it was a previously used site and visually unattractive, so the houses would remove a heavy industrial use from the green belt, improving the openness of the countryside and its visual amenity. The Council said it was not a major developed site in the green belt but the MDS criteria of PPG2 provided a useful starting point for assessing acceptability. The Inspector noted that, although no longer operational, the foundry use could be resumed. Even if PPG2 annex C was applicable the scheme did not meet that criteria, being spread to a much greater extent than the existing buildings and hard standings. It would not be more open because the proposed footprints, which had to included the garages, exceeded the existing 1120 sqm. It had not been proven that this was the only option available. It did not comply with PPG3 (Housing) on the location of new dwellings, and did not comply with the sequential approach to the location of new housing. Also residents would be car-dependent. Cannock Chase DC 27 May 2002. DCS 36263733.

Low density large houses in green belt disallowed - Industrial buildings on 3.25ha site on the edge of Widnes were to be demolished and 36 houses built, a density of 16 per ha, well below PPG3 levels. The Inspector said it would extend the choice of housing and the reduction in built development would increase the openness. Although a higher density could be achieved the judged the scheme to be acceptable. The SoS overruled saying the density was too low and it was necessary to maximise the use of previously developed land eevn in the green belt. It did not incorporate good design& did not focus on the quality of the place and living environment created with too much priority to the vehicle movement and parking. Halton BC 7 May 2002/ DCS 51065111

Oldham mill conversion to residential approved - Approval given to convert the Royal George Mills, Oldham to 28 flats, a business unit and 38 terraced houses. The Council refused permission saying that the mill conversion was OK but the new houses would harm the openness of the green belt, and wanted fewer houses. the Inspector said the site was not designated as a Major Developed Site in the District Plan so annex C of PPG2 did not apply, but this annex gave useful guidance on openness. The proposed scheme involved demolition of 4,687 sqm buildings being replaced by 1,633 sqm housing, some being higher than the demolished buildings but all lower that the 3 storey mill. There would be a small gain to openness. The Inspector did not accept that a lack of harm to the green belt was a very special circumstance He ruled that this redevelopment, despite its green belt location, reduced or delayed development of green field land in the area, creating a very special circumstance. Oldham MBC 12 April 2002. DCS 31752264

Chobham warehouse site refused for housing - The Inspector recommended plans to build 23 houses at a warehouse site in the Green Belt at Chobham, Surrey saying that there were very special circumstances. The SoS DETR disagreed because the warehouse might resume being used for commerce, removing the benefit of the scheme. The case went to Court and the Judge agreed with the SoS, saying that the SoS's reasons were not unintelligible or perverse, and the SoS was entitle d to disagree with the Inspector. Charles Church Dev Ltd v Sos DETR 18 April 2002. ref CO/5338/2001

Previously developed Staffs green belt site allowed for housing - The Council claimed a green belt site had no recognised use so it could not be classified as previously developed land. It served an enforcement notice alleging part of the site was used by a coach company and for storage of pallets, tractors, and containers for rent. The Inspector noted an established use certificate dated 1980 for a haulage contractor with ancillary repair and maintenance use etc. He rejected council's arguments that subsequent uses had superseded the lawful uses in the early 1990's and were not themselves unlawful because 10 years had not elapsed. there had been no break in the haulage use. The lawful use and nature of activities were a very special circumstance justifying permission. Impact on openness was speculative because siting, design, and external appearance were reserved matters. Lichfield DC 12 April 2002. DCS 41515743.

Bromley Grade 11 listed building conversion & new houses refused - The main Grade 1 listed Holwood Estate building would be retained but a substantial number of buildings would be demolished for this Green Belt development. The applicant argued that reusing and refurbishing and improvements to the openness of the green belt, due to the demolition, was a very special circumstance. the SoS decided it was inappropriate development of what was not defined as a major developed site. The dispersed nature of the new buildings over a wode area would substantially reduce openness. L/B Bromley 14 Jan 2002 DCS 525541635

Yatscombe Hall, Oxford redevelopment refused - 14 flats, 2 cottages and a gatehouse were refused at Yatscombe Hall, in the Oxford green belt. All buildings except the hall would be demolished. Nearly all parties supported the scheme including the Council and CPRE since it would give a more open character by concentrating development within the site. There would be a 40% increase in footprint and 30% increase in volume but scattered outbuildings would disappear. The SoS held the increases as harmful and greater weight should have been given to an extant planning permission to convert buildings to residential use. the location was not sustainable and residents would be car-dependent. Vale of White Horse DC 13 Nov 2001. DCS No. 36053398.

Ex hospital cannot become housing estate - the SoS refused to allow a 9ha. hospital site in the Green Belt to be used for 250 houses on sustainability grounds. The Planning Inspector had recommended it because of very special circumstances i.e. brownfield site, negligible impact on appearance and character of the surroundings, improved environment, public transport improvements, and housing needs. The SoS placed only limited weight on these factors, and rejected it because the site had no link with any settlement and did not comply with policies on preferred location of new housing. There was a need for a more sustainable pattern of development and re-use of urban land. It would reduce the openness of the countryside and a loss of visual amenity. S Glocs Council 27 Sept 2001. DCS No. 34134946.

Existing greenhouses and sheds not classified as a 'brownfield site' - The SoS refused 10 houses on a horticultural nursery in Staffs Green belt. The local council supported it arguing that it would increase the openness of the area and the housing would be visually less intrusive that the existing glasshouses and timber sheds. The Inspector ruled housing as inappropriate in contrast with the existing agricultural use. Although the site adjoined development on 3 sides, it safeguarded land on the other boundary from encroachment. The glass in the greenhouses mitigated their bulk, and the proposed houses would be 50% taller. This agricultural use did not classify the land as 'previously developed' so it was not a brownfield site. S Staffs DC 11 July 2001. DCS No. 34565439

Housing for independent elderly rejected in Sheffield green belt - The green belt site had extant permission for elderly person in care in either a 72-bed nursing home or in very sheltered units, justified because it met a very special need and only involved part of the appeal site. The SoS rejected an appeal for 106 residential units, including 38 independent living units for the elderly, plus recreational facilities, a pavilion and car park. No very special circumstances were offered to justify the increase and inclusion of general housing, which the Inspector ruled would harm the openness of the countryside. There would be a loss of former industrial buildings on a riverbank designated as an area of special character. The scale of the development would dominate the valley and therefore its heritage and character, changing it to suburbia. Sheffield City Council 24 July 2001. DCS no 35316168

Re-build of fire-damaged dwelling in green belt not justified - The original dwelling was destroyed by fire and demolished 15 years ago. The Inspector ruled that, since there was no existing dwelling, construction of a new dwelling would be inappropriate and harmful to the green belt. the residential use had been abandoned. the appellant's former agent had underestimated, or ignored, the implications of green belt status for its redevelopment potential. Basildon DC 2.7.2001. DCS No. 37082864.

Fire & demolition of dwelling justified its replacement - A dwelling had a fire and then was demolished on health & safety grounds, which were sufficient exceptional circumstances to justify the erection of a replacement, even though it was in the green belt. The appellant did not have any alternative accommodation, and was seriously ill with a progressive disease also amounted to very special circumstances. This outweighed the inappropriate form of development and severely substandard access. South Gloucs Council 29 March 2001. DCS No. 42075924

Napsbury Hospital, St Albans, Herts, approved for predominantly residential use. - Following interim decisions in February 2000, the SoS has issued final decisions in Jan 2001. Originally the SoS raised concerns about the wording and requirements of various agreements. Two appeals were approved, and two refused. St Albans City and DC 26 Jan 2001 Ref. APP/B1930/A/97/280908. DCS No. 33241873

Refusal of 2 dwellings to replace a pub and club - Proposals rejected to replace a vacant pub and nightclub with 2 5-bedroomed two-storey houses in the Metropolitan Green Belt. The Inspector noted that the existing building was mainly single storey. The 4% increase in floor area used for comparison included the existing basement and canopies. The proposal would be far more dominant and reduce the openness of the countryside. Elimination of a commercial use and improved appearance were not 'very special circumstances'. South Bucks DC 12 Feb 2001. DCS No. 42798433.

Glasgow green belt homes approved - 10 areas, totalling 100ha of green belt around Glasgow, will be allocated for 1,800 new executive homes over the next 5 years. Detached family house are in short supply and most of the city's brownfield sites have been redeveloped.

Housing on green belt refused - density too low. - The SOS disagreed with the Inspector's recommendation to approve 121 dwellings on 5.65ha of green belt land in Surrey, formerly MoD married quarters. The Inspector identified two very special circumstances justifying consent. the site had already been developed with an urban appearance, did not contribute to the openness of the countryside, and the new development would materially improve the visual amenities of the area. Density was below 22 dwellings per hectare advised in PPG3 and parking of 2.9 spaces per dwelling was significantly higher than County Council standards. The SoS rejected this because of the less than PPG3 levels for best use of previously developed land, and the redevelopment did not need to match existing densities in the area. The foot-print of a higher-density scheme need not be larger than the proposal, and lower parking provision could be achieved without compromising the quality of the environment and green belt objectives. Tandridge DC 29 Nov 2000. ref GOSE/103/003/TAN/T2

Brownfield site in Green belt refused redevelopment for housing - Within the Bristol Green belt a site was being used for motor vehicle repairs. The Inspector said this was low-key activity and the existing shed was not an overly assertive feature, and vehicles waiting for repair were transient. This existing use did not damage the rural landscape or the essentially open character of the area. The site was not appropriate for new housing since it lay deep within the countryside, residents would be car dependent, and the area was devoid of facilities with poor access to public transport. Although it was a brownfield site, it was not suitable for housing. South Glocs. Council. 11 January 2001. Ref APP/P0119/A/00/1051515

New village rejected in NE London Green Belt - A proposed development of 312 new houses on 24,000 sqm. was rejected by the SoS despite the Inspector's recommendation. The site contained a range of industrial and commercial development as well as housing, but it could not be viewed as a Major Developed Site, though at 18 ha. it was substantial. Redevelopment would remove unsightly low-grade commercial buildings, and contribute positively to improved recreational needs, improved landscaping and restore semi-derelict land.

The SoS said it did not meet the MDS characteristics set out in PPG2, annex C, since it contained a multiplicity of uses, and had few genuine 'village' attributes. The proposed enclosure of rear gardens would not improve the openness of the area. The 14% increase in build footprint was inappropriate increase. While acknowledging that it was a brownfield site, the SoS said it would not assist in urban regeneration, and would increase the need for travel. It was an inappropriate development in the green belt with no very special circumstances to warrant approved. L/B Redbridge 13 Nov 2000 - APP/W578-/V/99/00068.

Replacement house in green belt would have less overall impact than existing premises - In Warwickshire, the Inspector allowed a 469 sqm. replacement dwelling 40% larger than the existing property. because of the reduced impact of residential use on the locality. A replacement 13% bigger had already been approved, and the Local Plan accepted extensions up to 50% of the original floor area. The appeal dwelling would be sited at a lower level and in a less prominent location. Demolition of long-established existing buildings totalling 943 sqm would improve the openness of the locality. Ref - APP/C1625/A/00/1046821 on 30 October 2000.

Classroom size is a material consideration at a mixed use community. - The Four Acres Trust wish to establish a mixed community on a 14.5 ha former school site in the green belt near Grays, Essex. After demolition, they want to build new institutional buildings, dwellings, workshops and change use of a water tower to a cafe, light industrial and leisure use. People with various forms of mental and physical disability would live and work there. The Inspector said it was not a 'major developed site' (MDS) as defined in PPG2, would not encroach into the countryside, and would ensure the continued protection of the green belt.

The Secretary of State's interim decision agreed, since the MDS designation was only in the deposit unitary development plan which had not yet been adopted. Although the scheme was inappropriate, the very special circumstances (use by less disadvantaged people (advantaged?) and other social and community benefits) outweighed the harm to the green belt.

However a proposed S106 obligation was defective because class size is a material consideration. It would be necessary for an appropriate contribution to be made to a primary school. The SoS allowed a further period of consideration by all parties before issuing a final decision.

Housing refused on restored landfill site in Metropolitan Green Belt - St James Homes failed in their appeal to build 276 dwellings on a 4.3ha. site at Feltham, west London (Hounslow) as part of wider proposal on 32.5ha. The Sec of State (DETR) and his inspector agreed that the local authority had misdirected itself as to the definition of the green belt area. Where there is a difference between a proposals map and a written guidance, the latter should prevail. Therefore all of a link road and part of the accommodation blocks would be within the green belt and not an area designated for housing. The benefits of landscaping enhancement and increased public access to surrounding land were not sufficient special circumstances to justify this development. The development would dominate views to and from the green belt with four-storey blocks accentuating its scale and bulk.

Mixed use plan for school site in green belt approved - The Sec of State approved plans to demolish former school buildings to create a mixed use development, but is likely to refuse permission for a single house on the same site. The landowner applied for a mix of residential types, including social housing, at the former Ardale School, North Stafford, near Grays, Essex. They also applied to change the use of existing workshops and a water tower on the site to offices, a cafe, and community facilities, and construct a single dwelling. Thurrock Council failed to determine 2 applications, and refused 2 others on grounds that it was not designated a major developed site and would harm the openness of the green belt. The Appeal succeeded apart from the house which would be too close to a protected tree. The site was earmarked as a new major developed site. Also the floor area would increase by only 900 sq m. and would not encroach into the open countryside.

Housing scheme rejected to protect the green belt. - Brentwood Council rejected plans for housing on commercial land in Essex, since it would harm nature conservation and the open character of the green belt. A developer wanted to demolish an existing building compound and build houses on the site of a former BT depot. It was refused as inappropriate development in the green belt and would harm the ecological value of a site of importance for nature conservation (SINC). However the inspector said that an application for a smaller scheme could have the 'inappropriate development' outweighed if the application were to secure the conservation of the SINC by transferring 'site management to public control through planning obligations'.

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