In response to the increasing challenge of Coronavirus and in light of rapidly evolving advice, Tozers has taken steps to ensure that we continue to provide you with our usual client service whilst also maintaining the safety of our clients and colleagues. Please see our full update here.

Complete the form below to ask us a question or make an enquiry. We’ll get back to you via phone or email as soon as possible.


Absence of a 5 year land supply fails to tip balance in favour of development in the green belt

Posted on 14th July 2014 in Planning and Licensing, Local Authorities

Posted by

Amy Cater

Partner and Solicitor
Absence of a 5 year land supply fails to tip balance in favour of development in the green belt

In an appeal decision against a refusal by Waverley Borough Council a planning Inspector has refused permission for the development of land within the Green Belt despite the Council being unable to demonstrate a 5 year housing land supply.

On a preliminary point the Inspector determined that as the site had a lawful mixed use both for retailing imported fruit and vegetables and for agriculture, it constituted “brownfield” land and its redevelopment for housing would be inappropriate development unless the proposals would not have a greater impact on the openness of the green belt.  Whilst the Inspector thought that the development would result in a smaller floor area, he considered that the more solid massing and height of housing development, when contrasted with the glazed nature of the existing greenhouses would result in a reduction in the openness of the site.  He thought that the change from the agricultural style of the existing buildings to the more urban form of the proposed housing development would increase urban sprawl and encroach into the countryside, contrary to green belt policy.  The decision illustrates that it is not just footprint or volume that are relevant when considering openness.

Consequently the proposed development was inappropriate in the green belt and very special circumstances needed to be shown to allow the development.  The appellant tried to argue that a failure to achieve a 5 year housing land supply was very special circumstances.  Following an analysis the Inspector concluded that the Council could not demonstrate a 5 year land supply although the Inspector found that the deficit was not large (about 50 dwellings or 10% of the 5 year land housing requirement).  He also concluded that steps were being taken to address the shortfall.   The Inspector referred to the Planning Practice Guidance which states that unmet housing need is unlikely to outweigh the harm to the Green Belt (reinforced by recent Secretary of State pronouncements) and even though the local plan was out-of-date he considered that the green belt policies still restricted development and should be applied.

At the end of the day it is still a balancing decision on the weight to be attached to green belt policies and the shortfall in meeting the 5 year housing land supply requirement.  The Inspector was likely to be swayed by his view that the shortfall was not  large and steps were being taken to address it.  Cases can still go either way but the decision illustrates how difficult it still can be to secure development in the green belt.


Appeal reference:   APP/R3650/W/16/3163050


Company & Industry

Related Insights


What will happen to my business after I die?

Posted on 20th May 2020 in Later Life Planning

If you run your company by yourself, perhaps as a sole director and shareholder, your hard work in building up your business will have cost you many hours of time and sleepless nights. But have you set up your company in such a way to allow it to keep trading after your death?

Posted by

Rachael Morley

Associate and Solicitor

Why you should think about putting in place a Lasting Power of Attorney for health and care decisions

Posted on 14th May 2020 in Later Life Planning

The experience of caring for and seeing a parent or other loved one suffer for a prolonged period in the final stages of life, even when the grief has passed, causes many individuals to want their journey to be managed differently.

Posted by

Lucy Lamb