Planning Success on a Difficult Green Belt Site

PDP_Difficult Green Belt

We are pleased to have received planning permission for a spacious three bedroom single storey dwelling on Green Belt land to the east of Derby, located within the Derby/Nottingham Green Belt.

The site lies to the south of a village, in an area of low density housing interspersed with small fields, paddocks and woodland. The site is not part of an area of continuous development and is not infill.

The site was created by subdividing a large garden and using an existing garage as the basis for a new home. The land had permission to alter and extend the garage but the design was very poor and in order to keep the height down, head heights within the building were sacrificed to the absolute minimum, creating a home with severe limitations. Notwithstanding the very poor design the consent created a backstop for the consideration of revised proposals.

We worked with the LPA and proposed a replacement three bedroom dwelling. We proposed digging down so as not to increase the height of the building but to provide an attractive two storey dwelling with good head heights. The volume of the new building was substantially greater than the approved conversion and extension.

We had a good pre-app and we submitted the application. New buildings in the Green Belt represent inappropriate development and should not normally be permitted but the council had to this point taken a relaxed attitude towards infilling and we remained confident that planning consent would be granted.

There were major staff changes in the council team and we lost ’our’ planning officer from the case almost as soon as it had been submitted. The planning team had new leadership .The leadership are determined to tighten the council’s approach to the Green Belt and we were the first casualty. The application was recommended for refusal and we withdrew it. We then tried for a second pre-app but were told that the council did not have the staff resources to continue with a pre-app service.

We tried to submit amended proposals for a replacement dwelling and eventually applied for a smaller replacement but were again knocked back. Eventually we were able to get a meeting and agree the parameters of a fresh application. We agreed to retain the existing building but to extend it across the site to create a good sized three bedroom single storey dwelling. We were able to double the size which addressed the problems of the extant consent but technically we were still at the edge of acceptability. We were pleased to finally receive the consent and work is expected to start later this year.

This was a difficult case, the LPA were inconsistent in their approach and then they were uncommunicative. We wasted time and client’s money on proposals which could have been stopped had we’d been able to meet and negotiate. We will always try to get the best permission we can for our clients. But where a council is working outside of national guidance there can be real problem and in such circumstances as there is no appeal option.

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