Solutions orientated approach avoids enforcement action and secures new building in the green belt 

This was an interesting project and one which highlights the importance of collaboration in planning.  It also acts as a useful reminder that the enforcement procedure is intended to be remedial rather than punitive.  

This particular application sought retrospective permission for the erection of an outbuilding and the change of use of land from sui generis to residential in the Metropolitan Green Belt.  It also sought the demolition of a car-port, part of a stable block and removal of hardstanding. 

Collaboration and strategy – finding a way forward with planning enforcement

We were initially approached to assist well over a year ago.  Our client presented us with a complex and prolonged planning history on site.  In essence an annexe was near to completion in the rear garden of the host property and a new access and car-port had been built.  But, in error, part of the annexe had been built on an extended piece of land that did not have residential use and that was the focus of the planning issue. Interim applications had been made by the architect to regularise the built form on site, but these had been refused.

With enforcement looming, we initially sought pre-application advice from the LPA to determine a way forward, however the pre-app was not positive, this was mainly to do with the property’s location within the Green Belt and the extent of the proposed change of use of the land that was outside the residential curtilage.

We sought a further site visit with the Enforcement Officer, architect and builder to explore other options to reduce the built form across the site and offer up potential solutions to seek to retain the main annexe.

Further revisions were made to plans and a fresh application was submitted which addressed the key issues of: the green belt designation; design, character and appearance; landscaping and drainage. 

Planning permission for a new building in the green belt

Government guidance dictates that new development in the green belt is inappropriate unless it falls within a list of exceptions. One such exception is the partial or complete redevelopment of previously developed land, provided it does not have a greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt.  

Through this application we successfully evidenced: 

  • Why the land should be considered previously developed and that in its previous use, there were a greater number of buildings on the land than was currently the case;
  • We reduced the quantum of land to be changed to residential use, returning the rest of the plot to meadowland;
  • Through our negotiations with client and enforcement team and to ensure the retention of the ancillary annexe, we  proposed the demolition of lesser outbuildings, therefore in effect reducing the built form on the Green Belt;
  • We also presented Class E PD rights as a material consideration;
  • We interrogated issues surrounding the ownership boundary; 
  • To reinforce the ancillary nature of the building, we proposed to remove a secondary means of access to the annexe; 
  • We highlighted the sloping topographical positioning of the site which therefore protected the site from long distance views; 
  • Furthermore we evidenced that annexes of this scale and style were a common feature in the area and as such the built form presented no visual harm to the Green Belt, surrounding countryside and neighbouring dwellings.

We also presented a number of relevant appeal decisions to highlight the importance of consistency in decision making, which further supported our application. 

We maintained a good rapport with the main officers involved in the application and were encouraged by the positive consultee responses.  The decision was issued in a timely manner by the LPA and the client was overjoyed with the positive outcome.

About us

We are Plainview Planning – a solutions orientated, experienced and knowledgeable team of planning consultants.  If you need professional and informed planning support with your development project, then contact our team via, to see how we can best assist you, providing the site address and a brief overview of your project. 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.