Forest of Dean – help with planning applications and appeals

map of the forest of dean showing development potential and constraints

The Forest of Dean is a diverse area with many development opportunities as long as they are handled sensitively. As a local planning consultant we regularly work in the area and think we can give your planning application or appeal the best chance of securing planning permission.

Planning policy position:

The key Forest of Dean District Council policies are contained in the development plan, which in this instance comprise the Core Strategy (adopted February 2012); and the Allocations Plan (adopted June 2018).

There is an emerging policy, the Local Plan 2021 to 2041. It is not due for adoption before 2022, however there is a current consultation on “Preferred Options” for the Local Plan. This runs from 22nd October 2020 until 17th December 2020. The council are proposing some big changes including a major development at Newent and a new settlement. The location of this is unknown, although at the junction of A40 and A48 is likely. All these potential sites need further work, not least to see how they can be well linked to an environmentally friendly transport network and how travel patterns and work patterns may change permanently following the current pandemic.  

It is a good idea for local landowners and developers to engage in the emerging Local Plan. For advice on how to effectively engage and make Local Plan representations please email Catherine Hoyte (

Housing position:

The 2019 Housing Delivery Test (HDT) results show that the Forest of Dean District Council has underdelivered against its housing requirement over the last three year period, resulting in the need for an Action Plan to deliver more homes. There is a shortfall of 101 homes over the last three years. This issue is likely to get even worse with the proposed housing figures suggested by government seeing a 64% increase in homes required, resulting in an annual requirement of 608 homes. Whilst this target is not formally adopted yet it does suggest that the Forest of Dean will be under greater pressure to grant planning permission for more homes.

How we can help:

If you are an architect, developer or landowner looking to embark on a planning application or planning appeal in the Forest of Dean then we can help you build a robust and persuasive case. Please email Catherine Hoyte ( to discuss you requirements in more detail. 

Case study:

We are delighted to have achieved planning approval for another residential development in the Forest of Dean, this time for outline planning for 3 x houses to replace obsolete and unused greenhouses on the site of a former market garden.

The planning challenge:

The key challenges for this project included:
+ the site’s location outside of the settlement boundary; and,
+ that the local planning authority considered the site to be within open countryside.

Preparing a robust evidence base for planning submission:

In regards to the site’s location outside of the settlement boundary, our planning consultants evidenced its close proximity to the Town Centre and furthermore, had already successfully established the sustainability of the area through a previous appeal win on a site nearby.

In response to the open countryside designation, we undertook and submitted a ‘Context and Parameters’ document in support of the planning application. This included:

+ a detailed visual assessment supported by photographs;
+ an assessment of the contribution of the existing greenhouses to the landscape; and,
+ an analysis of the potential impact of the proposed new development within this context.

From this we established that views of the site from public vantage points were minimal. Furthermore, the topography of the site and existing vegetation ensured that the site was largely visually enclosed.

Submitting a non-determination appeal:

However, despite a comprehensive application, the council was minded to refuse permission on the same grounds as the previous application nearby, which we had won at appeal but 18 months before.

We continued to engage proactively with the council but weeks passed with no final decision being issued. We reviewed the situation and felt the only logical next step was to appeal against the council’s non-determination of the application.

During the appeal process, our planning team successfully argued that:

+ the council could not present a 5 year housing land supply, and therefore three additional dwellings would contribute to the local plan and housing delivery for the area;
+ the findings of the previous appeal, just 30 m to the front of the site, were wholly relevant;
+ there were limited public views of the site (evidenced through the context and parameters document);
+ the site is not isolated for the purposes of paragraph 55;
+ the existing horticultural use contributed little to employment, and its continued use on a commercial basis could result in negative consequences for living conditions of nearby occupiers.

The Context and Parameters document prepared by our planning team assisted the inspector in reaching his conclusion that the visual contribution of the site to the character of the overall landscape was limited. It also enabled him to be confident that given its visual enclosure and proximity to the existing cluster of dwellings, an appropriate design at the reserved matters stage could be presented.

We are thrilled that the appeal was allowed, that the Inspector agreed that the site was sustainable and that any adverse impacts of the development would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.

About us:

The team at Plainview Planning are a knowledgeable group of planning consultants who focus on demystifying the planning system for our clients, through our clear, concise and comprehensive approach. If you have a site for development and feel you would benefit from professional planning consultant input, contact the team via to see how we can best assist.