Green belt homes agreed to fund college upgrade

Very special circumstances justify comprehensive redevelopment of a further education college in the Hertfordshire green belt, the secretary of state has determined.

The scheme proposed new and refurbished college buildings alongside an enabling residential development of 348 dwellings. Saved local plan policies designated the site as lying within green belt outside a town settlement boundary, where development would be inappropriate.

The secretary of state noted that the appeal site fell within an area identified in an emerging plan where at least 1,000 homes were expected to be provided. In the absence of a five-year housing land supply in the district, the benefits of providing market and affordable housing were significant in his decision.

The secretary of state also agreed with the inspector that the delivery of improvements to the college, the main provider of further education in the district, also weighed very heavily in favour of the proposal. Finding very special circumstances and no harm to protected trees, a community forest or flood risk, he allowed the appeal.

Inspector: Phillip Ware; Inquiry

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