More than slightly fed up with seeing puffed up storeys about the NPPF its time to demonstrate one of the real and very considerable threats, it radically weakens policy over development in villages Green Belts.
Lets take an example of a very typical Green Belt village, Bough Beach near Edenbridge Kent, Sevenoaks District. One pub left, lost all its other services, station included generations ago. Yes the Green on the map means green belt.
Currently controls over development in Green Belt villages are very strict, unless it is the sort of large village you would cut out of the Green Belt anyway. ost villages are what is called ‘washed over’ by the Green Belt, as here, normal policy presuming against new housing applies. If some limited infill was ok, say a village was slightly larger and has some services, they can be designated as ‘infill only’ villages. It is a matter of local choice. A local authority can choose the degree of control appropriate.
The NPPF get rid of that it says now in para. 144 that one ‘exception’ to the normal presumption against new buildings in the Green Belt is ‘limited infilling in villages.’ When I first read this I almost fell off my chair. Either some of the developers or their agents on the ‘practitioners advisory group’ had pulled a very fast one or the Department had completely misunderstood the role and purpose of this policy.
What it means is that every Green Belt village in the country limited infilling is acceptable. Indeed now as the ‘presumption against’ inappropriate development in the Green Belt no longer applies the ‘presumption in favour’ applies. The NPPF is a presumption in favour of limited infill in Green Belt villages.
Just having a quick look around the village I found at least 20 sites where the default answer would probably be ‘yes’ under the NPPF. There are lots of trees, but only veteran trees are given strict protection. The traffic access issues to single plot sites would probably not be so severe to pass the very low traffic impact test in the NPPF. LIke a lot of Green Belt villages it has a lot of fairly large 1/2 acre to 2 acre sites development within the plots of which would count as infill. I counted over 20 such potential sites in this one little village alone. Presumably the prospect of villagers making a great deal of money was thought to be able of countering opposition.
Indeed the NPPF does not need to propose deleting fields from the Green Belt to allow much more development in the Green Belt. It merely has to propose a rule such as this which could be repeated several hundred times in the Green Belt around London alone.