Case law >> green belt developments

25th November 2014


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Anna Tuddenham

Non-green belt factors in green belt developments

In Redhill Aerodrome Ltd v Secretary of state for communities and local government [2014] EWCA 1386 (Civ), the Court of Appeal had to consider the meaning of the words “any other harm” in the very special circumstances test in the National planning policy framework (NPPF). Did they mean “any other harm to the green belt”, or did the meaning also include any other harm relevant for planning purposes.

In this case, the planning inspector dismissed Redhill’s appeal against the refusal to grant planning permission for a new runway, concluding that the overall weight against the proposal was very strong; the positive considerations did not clearly outweigh the potential harm to the green belt; and very special circumstances to justify the development did not exist.

The High Court accepted that the inspector had erred in taking non-green belt harm into account when deciding whether the other considerations clearly outweighed the potential harm to the green belt.

At appeal, the judges said the words “any other harm” in the very special circumstances test in the NPPF continue to have the wider meaning of any other harm – that is, they included any other harm relevant for planning purposes, such as harm to landscape character, detrimental to visual impact, noise disturbance or adverse traffic impact.

Also, the NPPF did not derogate from the statutory duty to have regard to any other material considerations when determining planning applications. The local planning authority had to consider all material considerations – those pointing against and in favour of granting permission.

Jen Hawkins

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