Planning Application approved for ground and first floor extensions to detached property in the West Midlands Green Belt.
Following an initial consultation with the client En-Plan: Planing & Architecture formulated and submitted a planning application to Wyre Forest District Council for ground and first floor extensions to a detached family home.
Prior to En-Plan becoming involved a previous scheme had been refused and the applicants had reached an impass with the Planning Authority due to the amount of development and the position of the house in the Green Belt. En-Plan were able to amended the scheme and provide the correct volumetric calculations that allowed the scheme to progress to approval. The approved planning application will add an improved kitchen at ground floor with a new bedroom above.
Nationally there are 14 different Green Belts that cover a total area of over 1.6 million hectares of land. The Green Belt in Wyre Forest District is part of the West Midlands Green Belt. The West Midlands Green Belt was created following the introduction of the Town and Country Planning Act of 1947 which allowed local authorities to include Green Belt proposals in their development plans. The aim of Green Belt designation was to prevent urban sprawl and keep land around towns and cities permanently open.
Green Belt Planning Issues in the Wyre Forest District
Within Wyre Forest District, the extent of the Green Belt includes all the land as far west as the River Severn, but excludes the towns of Kidderminster, Stourport-on-Severn and Bewdley and the smaller settlements of Blakedown, Cookley and Fairfield. The precise boundaries of the Green Belt around Kidderminster, Stourport-on-Severn and Bewdley were determined in detail in 1989, upon the adoption of the Wyre Forest Urban Areas Local Plan.
The Government attaches great importance to Green Belts. The fundamental aim of Green Belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open; the essential characteristics of Green Belts are their openness and their permanence.
Green Belt serves five purposes:
a) To check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas;
b) To prevent neighbouring towns from merging into one another;
c) To assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment;
d) To preserve the setting and special character of historic towns; and
e) To assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land.” (NPPF, 2019 – para 133 & 134)
3.3 Green Belt is therefore a policy designation intended to keep land free from development. There is a common public misconception that Green Belt land is ‘sacrosanct’ and that once designated it should never be developed. However, this has never been the case in legislative or policy terms.
In terms of extension design guidance in the Green Belt in Wyre Forest the The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) provides that new buildings in Green Belt are inappropriate developments which should not be granted planning permission, except in very special circumstances, unless one of specified exceptions apply. One such exception is the extension of a building. This is mirrored in Plannig Policy in Wyre Forest which states that extensions should be proportionate to the main unit and not affect the character and openness of the Green Belt. This has let to many arbitary extension figures of forty and fifty percent of the original volume being stated as acceptable. The term "original" is key as this is taken to be the volume of the house prior to 1948. In this specific instahce En-Plan were able to arge that the very special circumstances of the property being located in a run of existing dveelopment allowed for a larger extension as this would not imapct upon the character and openness of the Green Belt.
If you would like to find out more about how our Planning Consultancy and Architectural Design Services can work in perfect sync to achieve a successful outcome in the planning system please CONTACT US and we will be only too happy to talk through any questions or development proposals you may have.
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