Green belt site release for housing unjustified despite shortfall

A reporter failed to be persuaded by an appellant who claimed that green belt land in Lanarkshire should be released to enable housing to be built, ruling that the site continued to make an important contribution to legitimate planning objectives.

The appellant stated that the site lay within a particularly broad area of green belt and lay in an area of transition involving a less rural landscape on a valley floor. It was claimed that the site did not perform an effective green belt role and had limited importance in separating two settlements. Conversely the council maintained that the scheme would unacceptably erode the rural appearance and rural connectivity of the site resulting in a marked visual change to the character of the green belt.

In finding favour with the council’s claims the reporter held that the scheme would not integrate with the settlement edge blurring the distinction between countryside and existing built development. Nor did he agree with the appellant that the green belt’s function in protecting open space had to be applied to land with statutory or non-statutory designations. The site formed an area of open land which played a valuable role in maintaining the separation of settlements and their setting.

The site was poorly accessed on foot, by cycling and by bus and in a 1 in 200 year flood event the main access road into the site would be under water. It would also adversely affect the setting of a nearby country park. These adverse effects substantially outweighed a significant shortfall in housing land and the appeal was dismissed.

Reporter: Robert Seaton; Written representations

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