Green belt school redevelopment harms openness

An application to demolish a school in Hertfordshire to enable the erection of up to 30 open market and affordable homes would not comply with paragraph 145(g) of the NPPF because it would have a greater impact on the openness of the green belt.

The footprint of the school and areas of hardstanding totalled 5,495 sq.m. and the 30 dwellings and garages would have a footprint of 3.945 sq.m. But the inspector noted that some of the dwellings would have to be built on the areas of hardstanding which had relatively limited impact on the openness of the area. If these areas were excluded the built footprint was 2,120 sq.m. Since the proposal was in outline it was also difficult to estimate the three dimensional volume of the houses, he opined. But it was clear from an indicative plan that the scheme would introduce numerous dwellings on the northern portion of the site which was devoid of buildings. Overall, it would cause substantial harm to the openness of the green belt.

The inspector also decided that a development management policy required the provision of open space, preferably on site. There was no evidence to demonstrate that this could be provided. Nor had a planning obligation been submitted to enable a commuted payment to be made.

Inspector: Matthew Woodward; Written representations

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