Changed circumstances

In dealing with an enforcement appeal concerning the use of land in Hertfordshire as a wedding venue (DCS Number 200-007-514) an inspector has pointed out the potentially significant implications for green belt policy arising from draft changes to the NPPF.

Here is what he says:

“…on 05 March, the Government published a consultation draft of a revised NPPF. The general approach to development within the Green Belt is largely unaltered. However, under paragraph 145(e) of the consultation document the material change of use of land would not be inappropriate so long as the use of land would preserve the openness of the Green Belt and not conflict with the purposes of including land within it.

Due to the way in which the NPPF is structured ‘very special circumstances’ are required to justify a development that is inappropriate by definition i.e. one that does not fall within the limited number of exceptions. That is a high bar to overcome. The suggested policy change would have significant implications in respect of the material change of use of land, subject to the assessment on the openness of the Green Belt and the purposes of including land within it. If, such a change of use was not inappropriate there would be no need to demonstrate very special circumstances and, undoubtedly, the planning balance of material considerations would shift accordingly.”

You heard it here first.

Section 4.251 of DCP Online concerns green belt policy.