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Green Belt Policy Remains an Effective Block on Urban Sprawl

barnDespite intense pressure to build more homes, the Green Belt remains an effective block on urban sprawl and residential developments within it are only permitted in very special circumstances. The High Court made those points in scotching plans for conversion of a storage barn into a single dwelling.

The owner of the barn had been refused planning permission by the local authority and his appeal to a government inspector also failed. The inspector found that the development would be a domestic intrusion into the Green Belt. Although it would only have a minor impact on the openness of the Green Belt, the very special circumstances test had not been satisfied.

In dismissing the owner’s challenge to that ruling, the Court found that the inspector had given adequate and intelligible reasons for his decision. The fact that the proposal was for a single home did not mean that the Green Belt policy to prevent urban sprawl had no application. Also rejected were arguments that the inspector should have granted consent on the basis that the development would have no greater footprint than the existing barn and would involve the reasonable re-use of a largely redundant building.

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