Very Special Circumstances demonstrated for self build in the Green Belt

April 25, 2023 5:20 pm Published by

Another Self Build appeal successes for TKP where Very Special Circumstances were demonstrated for Self Build Custom Housing (SBCH) in the Green Belt in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM).

The hearing considered a combined appeal for two refused planning applications for four SBCH plots. The second scheme included one discount market sale SBCH plot.

The site lies outside of the defined settlement boundary of Holyport. The case was made that due to the enclosed nature of the site, it could represent limited infilling and therefore be considered an exception permitted by NPPF paragraph 149 (e). The Inspector did not accept the argument that the site was in the village and determined that the proposals were inappropriate development.

In terms of SBCH statutory duty, RBWM accepted that they had not met their requirement and there was a shortfall in supply. However, RBWM argued that the shortfall can be met in the future through strategic sites as planning policy HO2 requires sites over 100 dwellings to provide 5% of market housing as SBCH plots.

The Inspector recognised that the large site policy would fall significantly short of meeting the outstanding demand for SBCH plots let alone demand from future base periods. He considered that it was highly likely that demand for SBCH will have to be met in large part through smaller allocated and windfall sites. Given that the Borough comprises 83% Green Belt, the Inspector considered it was inevitable that some demand for SBCH will have to be met on sites in the Green Belt.

In the context of a very substantial and acknowledged shortfall in the delivery of SBCH, the Inspector considered that the four SBCH must merit very significant favourable weight in the planning balance and accordingly determined that Very Special Circumstances existed to justify the proposals for two scheme proposals.

Rosie Dinnen, Director, presented the appeal to the Inspector and has the following observations about the appeal success:

This appeal decision is ground breaking by establishing that Very Special Circumstances can exist for CBSH in the Green Belt. TKP has previously achieved success at appeal on Green Belt sites  that have included SBCH but that was on larger schemes with a package of benefits such as affordable housing. This appeal indicates that where a local authority has not met its statutory duty, and has a significant shortfall, that Very Special Circumstances can exist to weigh in favour of the development in a Green Belt scenario.”