Green belt houses allowed as infill development

An inspector allowed two bungalows in the Cheshire green belt after judging the scheme amounted to limited infilling in the village.

The appeal site comprised an irregular shaped vacant plot between two dwellings, with a wide frontage and narrowing towards the back of the site, beyond which lay open countryside. The council and the appellant agreed it lay within the village but differed on whether the proposed development amounted to policy compliant infill, the council drawing support from an appeal decision rejecting nine houses on the site.

Noting that paragraph 145 of the NPPF does not stipulate a specific size requirement with regards limited infilling in a village, which is a stated exception to inappropriate development in the green belt, the inspector considered the case on its merits. She referred to case law in Wood v SSCLG 2014 which advises that the physical circumstances of a site and its relationship to a settlement are relevant in considering whether a site should be deemed infill.

Given the grain of the village settlement pattern in that location and the nature of the site and scale of the proposed development, the inspector reached the view that the scheme should be considered as limited infilling. It would therefore not be inappropriate development in the context of national policy and there would be no conflict with local policy which permitted development of small gaps between existing buildings. She allowed the appeal.