Sites and Policies Plan Consultation Draft

Comment ID 8132225//2
Document Section Sites and Policies Plan Consultation Draft Living within Environmental Limits DM13 View all on this section
Respondent Deleted User View all by this respondent
Response Date 19 Apr 2013

Policy DM13: Development within the Green Belt

I would like to comment and object to the following wording within policy DM13, Development within the Green Belt Where the character of the area is one of a predominantly residential road characterised by large detached houses, on well screened and spacious plots (for example Cadbury Camp Lane north of Tickenham), it is possible that more substantial house extensions or replacement houses may be accommodated than in other parts of the Green Belt.’

I had thought that NSC was very strict on the 50% maximum increase to the original size of a dwelling as existed on 26 July 1985, therefore to see an inclusion relating to a very select number of properties in North Somerset such as those in Cadbury Camp Lane was very surprising.  To me, Green Belt is Green Belt no matter where it is within North Somerset and therefore no one area should be treated any different to another.

Consequently, because NSC believes that some select extensions and replacements need not be rigidly restricted to a 50% increase wouldn’t it be just that all properties within the Green Belt be assessed similarly and instead of using the above statement replace it with one that is more appropriate and includes all properties.

Rational of being consistent across the county of North Somerset. After reading Policy DM 13 and the reference to a specific area I searched a number of planning applications and was surprised to see that on many occasions the 50% rule had been excessively exceeded and to already larger than average size dwellings, while in other parts of our county applications had been refused because they had exceeded the 50% limit.

Example: Planning Application 10/P/0665/F for a replacement dwelling in Cadbury Camp Lane, the original was built in the early 1980’s and later had planning approval for a swimming pool and changing rooms in 1987, a two story extension in 1992 and a further extension and garage in 1996, the combination of which took the overall floor area to approximately 545m² and presumably close to the allowable 50% increase of it’s original size.   It seems that although the North Area Committee Report dated 10.06.10 recommended refusal of application 10/P/0665/F, the final decision notice, dated 15 June 2010 granted approval and this increased the size from 545m² to 2,200m², some 400% above the existing and already extended dwelling along with the following statement, ‘The committee did not consider the replacement dwelling to be materially larger than the existing and as such the proposal is not inappropriate development in the Green Belt and therefore complies with the policy RD/3 of the North Somerset Replacement Plan and advice contained within PPG2: Green Belts’.

NSC in overriding the 50% rule by over eight times must therefore have considered more favourably towards the size of the application site (curtilage) consequently, including a guideline so no more than a percentage of the curtilage could be built upon no matter where it is sited within the county would show consistency for all North Somerset residents and not just for a select few.

Under Permitted Development Rights, proposed new extensions (including previous extensions) and other buildings must not exceed 50% of the curtilage.  Consequently, I would propose a lower limit for the applications within the Green Belt of around 30%.

And although NSC has already allowed for increases of over 400%, I believe this to be excessive and a lower limit of around 200% be applied.

Therefore I would suggest the wording is changed within Policy Intentions to:-

‘Extensions and replacement buildings (a 50% rule will generally apply but providing there is no harm to the openness of the Green Belt it may be possible that a more substantial house extension or replacement dwelling can be accommodated and therefore the 50% limit can be increased up to a maximum of 200% but in these case's it must not result in more than 30% of the curtilage being covered by both existing and proposed buildings).

I would like to further comment on NSC overruling the 50% allowance and in cases by over eight times, in doing so NSC must have considered, judged and come to the conclusion that extensions and rebuilding within the Green Belt do not pose a threat to any of the five stated purposes within the National Planning Policy Framework. Therefore by imposing an upper maximum of 200% above the original size along with a 30% maximum allowable coverage of the curtilage then not only would this show and share consistency across the county but also reduce expensive and time consuming appeals to a minimum as everyone would be working from a concise set of figures and not the ambiguous statement of ‘spacious plots’ which can and would be challenged by numerous appeals.

The National Planning Policy Framework, lists five stated purposes for land within the green belt:

      To check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas

      To prevent neighbouring towns from merging into one another

      To assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment

      To preserve the setting and special character of historic towns

      To assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land.

Within the Green Belt the combined area of all buildings is actually minuscule when compared to the area of opened land within it; consequently, even if all dwellings within the Green Belt were doubled in size, the actual lost of Green Belt land would be so small that it would not result in any of the above happening. 

In reality only major developments could result in encroachment, unrestricted sprawl of large built up areas and neighbouring towns merging, therefore wouldn’t it make more sense for NSC to ensure that if there has to be development other than extension and replacements within the Green Belt then it is covered by a number of smaller sites spread across the county rather than allow for one or two major developments.