Information on Green Belt Developments

Green Belt Development

The main aim of Green Belt policy is to stop urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open (their essential characteristics are their openness and their permanence). Green Belt areas have some of the strictest planning controls, and their planning policy is the polar opposite of planning policy in areas that aren’t designated as such.

Normally the planning system is set up to allow development to proceed unless there is a harmful element to it. However, in Green Belts all development is considered inappropriate and therefore harmful.

We are often asked what is a Paragraph 55 home and how does it relate to a green belt development? The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is divided into paragraphs each dealing with different subjects. Paragraph 55 deals with housing in rural areas and bullet point four specifically lists the tests that a new isolated house in the countryside would have to pass. Any design related to this must:

  • be truly outstanding or innovative, helping to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas

  • reflect the highest standards in architecture

  • significantly enhance its immediate setting

  • be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area

As architects with a reputation for the inspirational and insightful design of luxury homes, we’re often asked how to secure planning permission for properties on Green Belt land. Over the years we’ve realised that there are a number of misunderstandings about the purpose of this type of land, and whether or not planning permission can ever be gained for it. While we absolutely agree that Green Belts are important and should be preserved to protect our countryside and urban areas, there are many acceptable circumstances when extensions, alterations and even the replacement of properties are permitted.