Green Belt planning report issued by Local Government Ombudsman

The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) is reminding authorities of the importance of correctly and consistently applying relevant policies when considering planning applications in the Green Belt

When comparing and considering the existing size with the size proposed, councils must take account of all dimensions, including how those dimensions are distributed. They cannot, without reason, select some dimensions and disregard others.

In a decision which criticises St Helens Metropolitan Borough Council for allowing a five bedroom house to replace a dormer bungalow in Green Belt, the LGO has also said councils must apply their policies consistently. The fair treatment of all planning applicants is fundamental to good administration.

Dr Jane Martin, Local Government Ombudsman, said:

“To protect the Green Belt, when considering planning applications for replacement homes, councils should take into account a whole range of measurements to ensure any building is not materially larger than the one it replaces

“Planners cannot simply pick and choose the measurements they use but should take into account individual circumstances of the case to determine which are the most relevant. Planners should also be clear and consistent in their decision-making to ensure public confidence in the planning process.

“While it is not my role to say whether the application should have been allowed, I would expect the council to give careful consideration of the proper application of national and local Green Belt policy should another application for the site be received.”

The LGO has recommended the council apologises to the two sets of neighbours who complained and pay each £250 to recognise the time, trouble and frustration and loss of confidence in the authority.

Article date: 14 July 2016

Privacy settings

LGO logogram

Review your privacy settings

Required cookies

These cookies enable the website to function properly. You can only disable these by changing your browser preferences, but this will affect how the website performs.

View required cookies

Analytical cookies

Google Analytics cookies help us improve the performance of the website by understanding how visitors use the site.
We recommend you set these 'ON'.

View analytical cookies

In using Google Analytics, we do not collect or store personal information that could identify you (for example your name or address). We do not allow Google to use or share our analytics data. Google has developed a tool to help you opt out of Google Analytics cookies.