A good way to make sure that you get the green belt balancing exercise right is to imagine that you are using a set of cast iron kitchen scales with imperial weights. Bear with us, this really works. By way of illustration we have emboldened the words of an inspector in a recent appeal case (DCS Number 400-016-936): –
“The harm I have identified as a consequence of the inappropriateness of the development in the GB carries substantial weight against the proposals.”
- So that means you need to put a big weight on the ‘against’ side of the scales.
“The loss of openness to the GB involved also attracts substantial weight against the scheme.”
- Another big weight on the ‘against’ side.
“The acceptable design of the scheme and its minimal visual impact attract moderate weight in favour of the proposals.”
- Now put one of the medium-sized weights on the ‘for’ side of the scales.
“The fall-back argument presented attracts very little weight in favour.”
- A tiny weight on the ‘for’ side.
“The harm caused by reason of inappropriateness and loss of openness clearly outweighs any benefits of the proposals. Accordingly, the very special circumstances necessary to justify the development do not exist, and the appeal fails.”
- By this time the scales will indicate very clearly what the decision is going to be because the ‘against’ side will have dropped. However….you have one last thing to do:
“All other matters raised in the representations have been taken into account but none are of such strength or significance as to outweigh the considerations that led me to my conclusions.”
- The scales are still weighing against the proposal so the decision is to refuse.
Follow this procedure and you can’t go wrong.
The following DCP section is relevant: 4.251