A local plan policy found that a village had been excluded from the green belt and therefore limited infilling within that village would be permissible subject to the effect on the character of the settlement and its setting. A proposals map confirmed that the boundary between green belt and village ran on the western boundary of the appeal site, and had been tightly drawn along the rear boundaries and road frontages of properties to the west for some way towards the village centre. The inspector agreed with the court of appeal judgment Julian Wood v SoS and Gravesham Borough Council 2015 which determined that the ‘village’ in paragraph 89 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) need not be the same as the settlement boundary, depending on the situation ‘on the ground’.
The situation on the ground was that in this case the ‘village’ boundary as defined in the local policy was, in the vicinity of the appeal site, the same as the ‘village’ that should be considered with regard to paragraph 89 of the NPPF. The inspector found that the proposed development of a new building would not fall within the exception in the fifth bullet point of paragraph 89, and should be regarded as inappropriate development in the green belt. The proposed development would have an adverse impact on the openness of the green belt, and would be a visual encroachment of built form which would undermine one of the purposes of the green belt.
Inspector: Stephen Papworth; Written representations