Farmyard redevelopment fails green belt policy

An inspector dismissed a scheme for the demolition of neglected farmyard buildings and their replacement with twelve houses in the Somerset green belt, finding no very special circumstances to support the inappropriate development.

The former dairy farm lay outside a village in green belt and AONB. While the parties disputed the extent of previously developed land, they agreed a substantial part of the site did not fall to be considered an NPPF paragraph 89 exception to inappropriate development in the green belt. The proposals involved replacing the large existing farm complex with a suburban style housing layout including domestic curtilages, driveways and estate roads, albeit softened with a vernacular design, landscaping and a reduced height and volume of built development.  

The inspector considered the design would reduce the open character of the site and encroach development into the countryside, conflicting with the purposes of green belt designation and visual amenity. He also decided the suburban and domesticated appearance of the indicative housing layout would be out of keeping with the pastoral landscape of the AONB. According only limited weight to the appellant's claim of enabling development to fund a modern new poultry farmstead in a less prominent landscape location, in the absence of planning permission or a legal agreement, the inspector found harm to the green belt was not outweighed and dismissed the appeal.

Inspector: Gareth Thomas; Written representations

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