Making the case for changing a settlement boundary

view of english towns and fields ref settlement boundary

Developers and landowners are familiar with trying to get their sites allocated for development in Local Plans. However, there are often strict criteria and lots of competition for such allocations.

An alternative approach is to make representations during a Local Plan review, to try and change a settlement boundary. If successful, then the land will be within a settlement boundary making it potentially easier to secure planning permission for future development.

How to change a settlement boundary – case study

Plainview Planning have recently been involved in such a project in Wiltshire. In this case we argued that the emerging Wiltshire Housing Site Allocations Plan was unsound due to an illogical settlement boundary, and that changes were required.

In our representation we criticised the settlement boundary methodology and the inherent conflict with the emerging windfall development policies. We set out our argument backed by research, case law and spatial analysis.

The policy team agreed with the points raised, resulting in a settlement boundary change for our client. This has subsequently opened up the possibility of future infill development.  

Settlement boundaries as an indicator of sustainable development?

It is our view that settlement boundaries are a blunt instrument when considering whether development is sustainable or not. It is important to note that the phrase “settlement boundary” (or derivatives) are not found at all in the NPPF.

If settlement boundaries are to be used for spatial planning then it is essential that the boundary be logical, easily identifiable and follow property boundaries and permanent features. Situations where gardens are outside a settlement, but the property is within the settlement provides a perfect example of an illogical settlement boundary.

About us

The team at Plainview Planning have been providing considered, useful and informed planning guidance for over a decade now. If you would like to understand more about the feasibility of your development aspirations and the potential to alter a settlement boundary then contact our team to see how we can best help and to receive a no obligation quote for our services. You can submit your site details via or via our landmark page.  We value your privacy and any information which you provide will not be shared outside of our company and will only be used in relation to your enquiry.

IMAGE SOURCE: William Hook on Unsplash (2018)