To be or not to be….

If you think about it, the Prince of Denmark had a rather odd name.

Setting aside such musing, readers will be aware that Paragraph 145 of the NPPF states that “A local planning authority should regard the construction of new buildings as inappropriate in the Green Belt.” Exceptions to this include, at 145 e), “limited infilling in villages”. In a recent appeal against the refusal of planning permission for four houses amongst a group of dwellings in Staffordshire, however, the main parties disputed whether the group was a village or a hamlet (DCS Number 400-020-890).

The inspector explained that this had consequences in terms of whether the scheme accorded with Framework paragraph 145 e). He noted that “The Oxford Dictionary defines a village as a group of houses and associated buildings, larger than a hamlet and smaller than a town, situated in a rural area. It defines a hamlet as a small settlement, generally one smaller than a village, and strictly (in Britain) one without a Church.” We did not know that.

The inspector observed that while a church may have once existed in the group of dwellings, there was no church there now as it had been replaced by a dwelling. There were also no other associated buildings that would, in his judgement, mean that the group was anything more than a hamlet. He concluded that the proposal did not accord with the exception in Framework paragraph 145 e).

More on green belts can be found at section 4.251 of DCP Online.