Which Green Belt Sites in a Local Plan Review? Weighing Strategic Green Belt Assessments in the Balance

This post ios not about the principle of loss of Green Belt.  Rather it is about where an LPA has a shortfall which sites its chooses in the GB.

In quite a few sites I have seen one site has potential good PT access and could form the nucleus of a transit orientated community.   Another site less so, perhaps not on a rail line, a rounding off far suburban site – but being less exposed,  is judged to meet Green Belt purposes better in a strategic review.

The sites for expansion may even be in another local planning authority – witness Slough and South Bucks this week

I dont think you should apply the findings of the strategic  review mechanically.  Sometimes the best site when judged against all criteria may not be the very best site when judged solely against GB purposes issues.  Sites along existing or potential transit corridors may be definition be exposed through running along flat easy accessible land.  Oxford is a good example of this.

So whilst weighing in the balence complex landscape issues they cant trump good planning.  Sometimes good planning has to be seen, even in the Green Belt, and if it is the choice between a transit orientated extension and sprawl at a site that marginally does less well in Green Belt purposes terms good sustainable planning should always trump mechanistic application of a single rule.  In those cases bit the bullet and produce a new harder better Green Belt edge.

Lets face it too every single Green Belt review is manipulated by the commissioning authority to tilt the balance against the sites the politicians think most contentious.  They should be treated with a healthy pinch of salt by inspectors.  If you doubt this look at the warring assessments produced for South of Grenoble Road between Oxford CC and South Oxfordshire.

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