South Gloucestershire Local Plan: Policies, Sites and Places Plan - Regulation 18 Consultation (2015)

South Gloucestershire Local Plan: Policies, Sites and Places Plan - Regulation 18 Consultation (2015)

14. Implication for the Green Belt

14.1 The Government attaches great importance to Green Belts. The fundamental aim of Green Belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open (NPPF para 79). However, once established Green Belt boundaries can be reviewed and altered in exceptional circumstances through the preparation of a Local Plan (NPPF para 83), such as the Core Strategy or the PSP Plan.

14.2 In seeking to make further allocations the site selection process, set out in the steps below, needs to conform with the presumption in favour of sustainable development (NPPF 14) and take into account all the policies in the Framework including Green Belt policy. The proposed methodology (in line with the sequential approach to allocations) is first to consider potential locations within the urban areas, then in non-Green Belt locations adjoining the market towns and then non Green Belt locations adjoining sustainable rural villages and settlements.

14.3 However, it may not be possible to meet the housing land shortfall only from sites in non-Green Belt locations that are sustainable and which do not cause demonstrable harm which outweighs the benefits of development (NPPF Para 14).

14.4 The lack of 5 year land supply and demonstrable harm to non-green belt locations could therefore potentially provide the exceptional circumstances to justify further Green Belt review. Green Belt locations for non-strategic housing sites on the edge of the Bristol urban area, adjoining market towns and sustainable rural settlements within the Green Belt might then in turn need to be assessed.

14.5 Therefore, notwithstanding the wider strategic Green Belt review which is being undertaken as part of the forthcoming JSP, the council cannot entirely rule out potential allocation of non-strategic sites (no larger than 150 units) within the Green Belt to address the 5 year housing supply shortfall through the PSP Plan.

14.6 As the council is currently unable to demonstrate a 5 year supply of housing land, limited infilling in villages located in the Green Belt, with or without a settlement boundary, is listed as one of the 'appropriate' forms of development in paragraph 89 of the National Planning Policy Framework. However, once the shortfall in supply has been addressed full weight can be given to Core Strategy policy CS5, small scale limited infill development will only be acceptable within villages with settlement boundaries in line with Core Strategy.