The appeal site was within the settlement boundary of a village but was swathed by green belt designation. A possible exception to development in the green belt at the site was whether it represented infilling within the boundaries of a recognised settlement. The inspector noted the site was on the very edge of the built-up area of the village and had an open appearance which contributed positively to the low-density rural character of the village. He felt a building at this location would erode the spacious and open character of the area and would not represent the closing of an existing gap within a built-up frontage, the definition of limited infilling afforded by the local plan which the inspector held was broadly in line with overall objectives of the NPPF, nor did he consider it would form infill within a group of houses, as per the definition in the emerging plan, which he also afforded modest weight.
The inspector concluded the proposal did not meet the exceptions within the NPPF and held it constituted inappropriate development. Further, he considered a new home on this undeveloped site would erode the open character of the area both visually and spatially and would harm the openness of the green belt. The inspector, in his green belt balancing exercise, held that the benefit of one extra home in an area of shortfall would make little meaningful difference to the housing supply situation and this consideration was insufficient to outweigh the green belt harms he had identified.
Inspector: James Taylor; Written representations