Friday, 8 March 2013

More daft 'Green Belt' nonsense...


Planners have got something of a reputation for being sticklers for the finest detail (unless of course it's a large industrial operation that's planned for that Green Belt of course) and this is a fine example of such clipboard love:

A grandmother who spent £10,000 turning a field into a landscape garden has been ordered to rip it up because it breaches greenbelt planning rules.

Planning bosses said the garden, home to fish, frogs, newts, birds, insects and a variety of plant life, 'erodes the character and quality of the area' and is 'inappropriate for the greenbelt'.

Now before we start tearing planners to shreds, let's be clear about the regulations. A garden is 'development' and therefore not permitted (without special circumstances) in the 'Green Belt'. This isn't an anti-garden thing but a protection - because the garden is 'development' this changes the status of the land and raises the possibility of it being developed for some other more permanent and intrusive use.

However, this argument (one that the planners will have waved about in this case I don't doubt) is a weak one. The land remains 'Green Belt' and the strictures on openness and the restriction on development still pertain. But, as usual, the top councillor demonstrates a worrying ignorance of the regulations and simply says:

Council planning leader, Cllr Eddie Boden, said he 'appreciates the position' the family is in but added 'planning requirements have to be obeyed'.

He said: 'No special circumstances exist to justify what has to be considered to be inappropriate development within the greenbelt.'

This statement is, quite simply, wrong. Councils have discretion, the concept of "exceptional circumstances" is not defined and councillors can override the constraints of 'Green Belt' in circumstances like this - I know this to be so because I have argued this case before planning committees and won permissions for local residents in Bingley Rural.

Mrs Bailey should submit a planning application, get her neighbours and the Town Council to turn out in force and perhaps shame this idiot councillor into allowing her to keep her garden.


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