Large scale housing permitted in green belt

An inspector found very special circumstances to justify granting permission for an inappropriate development of 266 houses in the green belt outside a north Yorkshire city.

The site, being an agricultural field and former civil service sports ground, lay on the urban edge in an area generally defined as green belt by a development plan comprising of the saved policies of a regional strategy and a neighbourhood plan. A detailed inner green belt boundary around the city had never been formally defined although an emerging local plan now proposed to exclude the site from the green belt and allocate it for housing, the evidence of a green belt review suggesting the site fulfilled none of the purposes of including land within a green belt. For the purposes of the application and appeal, the main parties agreed the site lay within the green belt.

Making her own assessment, the inspector agreed the site served none of the five green belt purposes and did not need to be kept permanently open. Giving significant weight to this finding and the benefit of delivering housing on the site to help address a five-year shortage, plus additional weight to the emerging plan with limited outstanding objections to the site allocation, the inspector concluded that these were very special circumstances which justified the housing development in green belt and allowed the appeal.

Inspector: Yvonne Wright; Inquiry

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