Green Belt and AONB


Promoting development in the Green Belt is one of the hardest challenges in planning, and the new NPPF has if anything made it more difficult.  Often development falls in the category of "inappropriate development” as defined by policy, and protecting the Green Belt from such development has become a serious political issue.

The line between appropriate and inappropriate development can be far from clear, but getting the right legal advice to show that the proposed development is appropriate means that it becomes much easier to gain consent. Members of the Planning Group have vast experience of Green Belt issues. We regularly advise in relation to all aspects of Green Belt including appropriate development and very special circumstances.

Members of the Group have been instructed in some of the leading cases in Green Belt litigation including:

  • Redhill Aerodrome Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2014] EWCA Civ 1386; [2015] JPL 416
  • Turner v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2016]


National planning policy dictates that great weight should be given to conserving and enhancing the landscape and scenic beauty of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Exceptional circumstances are required before permission can be granted for major development in the AONB. However, there is scope for legal and policy creativity over whether a project constitutes major development and, even if it does, whether there are exceptional circumstances that justify the grant of permission. Arguments often revolve around whether there is a need for the development; what impact there would be on the local economy if granted or refused; whether there is scope to place the proposal outside of the AONB and at what cost; to what extent the proposal would have a detrimental effect on the AONB, and whether this harm can be moderated through mitigation.

Members of the No5 Planning Group are well placed to assist with proposed development within the AONB.


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