The Inspector who considered the draft Core Strategy at Examination in 2008 recommended in his report that the list of Green Belt Settlements (GBS) be deleted from the Core Strategy and that Local Plan policies RE3, ‘Housing in the Green Belt Settlements’, RE4 ‘Commercial and Community Facilities in the Green Belt Settlements’ and RE5 ‘Dormans Park and Domewood’ should be superseded by the Core Strategy. He went on to say that this would mean that the Local Plan Proposals Map would no longer show the GBS boundaries as the policies behind them would no longer exist.
In accepting the Inspector’s binding report and adopting the Core Strategy on 15th October 2008 the three Local Plan policies referred to above were superseded and the Council stopped applying the GBS policy approach. Any planning application determined after the adoption of the Core Strategy, within those “former” GBS was considered against “general” Green Belt policy.
A recent legal opinion sought by a developer on another matter concerning affordable housing in the Green Belt was questioned by the Council who then sought its own legal opinion. The legal advice to the Council has brought to light another and fundamental matter, i.e. that the Green Belt Settlements still exist as a matter of fact and law, notwithstanding the Inspector’s binding recommendation to delete them, pending a Site Allocations DPD which will be accompanied by a new proposals map. Counsel’s opinion is based on the fact that comments in the Inspector’s Report are ambiguous and are lacking in clarity. The revised wording added to the Core Strategy, as amended by the Inspector is not considered to be clear either.
As a result of the legal opinion the Council is reverting to considering proposals within these areas as being within the Green Belt Settlements.
More information on this decision can be seen at http://www.tandridge.gov.uk/Planning/PlanningPolicy/green_belt.htm
Head of Planning Policy
Tandridge District Council
Tel: 01883 732860