Surrey Heath Draft Local Plan Issues Options/Preferred Options, 2018

7 Green Belt and Countryside

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Introduction

7.1 This section of the Issues and Options/Preferred Options document sets out the approach to the countryside and Green Belt within Surrey Heath. Incorporating extensive tracts of open heathland, gently undulating woodland and pleasant pastoral farmland, the diverse countryside of Surrey Heath plays a key role in defining the borough's character. The countryside within the Borough performs a number of other roles: as Green Belt in the east of the Borough, as an area of importance for biodiversity in the central heathland areas, as a leisure resource for the Borough and as a location for military activities.

National Policy Context

7.2 In preparing this section, regard has been had to Section 9 (Paragraphs 79 - 92) of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), 2012 which sets out the Government's approach to the Green Belt. Regard has also been given to Paragraphs 28 and 55 of the NPPF, 2012, which set out the Government's approach to development within the wider countryside.

View the national policies relating to the Green Belt and Countryside in more detail, which are contained within the online version of the Government's National Planning Policy Framework.

 

Local Strategies and Evidence

7.3 The preferred policy approach would support the objectives of 'prosperity' and 'place' as set out within Surrey Heath's Five Year Strategy by supporting and promoting the Boroughs rural economy and by helping to promote Surrey Heath as a great place to live and work by ensuring that development is situated in the most sustainable locations and providing the Borough with a high quality natural environment.

View the Council's Five Year Strategy, which is located on the Council's website.

 

7.4 The following Policies will be replaced by the new Local Plan (2016 - 2032):

Adopted Core Strategy and Development Management Policies DPD 2012.

  • DM1 - The Rural Economy;
  • DM2 - Development within Chobham;
  • DM3 - Equestrian Related Development;
  • DM4 - Replacement, Extension or Alteration of Existing Residential Dwelling in the Countryside Beyond the Green Belt

Saved Surrey Heath Local Plan 2000 Policies

  • RE17 - Major Developed Sites within the Green Belt

 

Draft Objectives for Green Belt and Countryside Policies

7.5 The following table sets out draft objective for Green Belt and Countryside in the Issues and Options/Preferred Options consultation draft Local Plan.

Objective I

To protect and enhance the character of the Green Belt and countryside beyond the Green Belt.

 

Policy Approaches to Green Belt and Countryside

7.6 The preferred Policy approach, as well as alternative approaches to Green Belt and countryside beyond the Green Belt are set out below.

Policies relating to the Green Belt

Preferred policy approach to extensions within the Green Belt

The aim of the preferred approach is to ensure the extensions and alterations do not have a detrimental impact upon the openness of the Green Belt by having a Policy that gives support to proposals for extensions and alterations to properties within the Green Belt provided they do not have a materially greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt, with regard had to:

  • The lawfulness and permanence of the host building;
  • The bulk and mass of the resultant building;
  • The volume and floor space (including, but not limited to mezzanine levels, space under roofs and covered balconies) of the proposed extensions, which, in combination with any other additions, should not exceed 30% (gross external area) over and above the size of the original building (being that as originally built or as existed at 1948, whichever is later);
  • The design of any proposed basement, taking into account whether it is wholly subterranean, exceeds the footprint of the existing building (including as extended and the impact of any associated features such as light wells, ventilation systems or means of escape.
  • Any alterations to footprint, which should not materially increase the prominence of the building;
  • The height of the proposal, which should not materially increase the overall height of the building.

Proposals to extend or erect new ancillary buildings sited more than 5 metres from the main building, which would not replace existing buildings, will be assessed against the relevant policies relating to new free-standing buildings within the Green Belt. Proposals to erect, extend or replace an ancillary building within 5 metres of the main building will be treated as an extension to the main building.

Alternative approaches to extensions and replacement buildings within the Green Belt

  • No Policy. Rely on guidance set out within the National Planning Policy Framework. This would provide significantly less detail than set out in the above Policy;
  • Develop a policy which sets out the Council's approach to extensions and alterations to properties in the Green Belt without specified size limitations.

 

Preferred policy approach to replacement buildings within the Green Belt

The aim of the preferred approach is to ensure that replacement buildings within the Green Belt do not have a detrimental impact upon the openness of the Green Belt by having a Policy that gives support to proposals for replacement buildings provided they do not have a materially greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt, with regard had to:

  • Whether the existing building to be replaced is lawful and permanent;
  • Whether the building proposed is for the same use as that which it is replacing;
  • The bulk, mass and floor space (including basements, mezzanine levels, space under roofs and covered balconies) of the proposed building, which should not exceed 10% over and above the size of the building to be replaced;
  • The siting of the proposed building, which should be sited on or close to the position of the existing building unless an alternative location within the curtilage would materially reduce impact on the openness of the Green Belt.

Proposal to replace an ancillary building within 5 metres of a main building will be treated as an extension to the main building. The replacement of an ancillary building sited more than 5 metres from the main building will be considered under relevant parts of the NPPF.

Alternative approaches to replacement buildings within the Green Belt

  • No Policy. Rely on guidance set out within the National Planning Policy Framework. This would provide less detail than set out in the above Policy;
  • Develop a policy which sets out the Council's approach to replacement buildings in the Green Belt without specified size limitations.

 

Preferred policy approach to the limited infilling or partial or complete redevelopment of previously developed sites within the Green Belt

The aim of the preferred approach is to ensure that the infilling or partial or complete redevelopment of previously developed sites within the Green Belt does not have a detrimental impact upon the openness of the Green Belt by having a Policy that gives support to proposals for the infilling or partial or complete redevelopment of previously developed sites provided they do not have a materially greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt, with regard had to:

  • The lawful status of existing buildings and any hardstanding;
  • The bulk, mass and floor space (including basements, mezzanine levels, space under roofs and covered balconies), of the proposed development compared to the bulk, mass and floor space of existing buildings and structures;
  • The degree of dispersal throughout the site of existing and proposed development, taking into account the need to site proposed development on or close to the position of the existing building unless an alternative location would materially reduce impact on the openness of the Green Belt.
  • Ancillary aspects of development proposals such as garages and other outbuildings, walls and gates, areas of hardstanding and their use and external storage will be considered additionally in respect of the built envelope, function and linkages to main buildings;
  • The phasing of proposed development including any demolition proposed.

Alternative approach to limited infilling or partial or complete redevelopment of previously developed sites within the Green Belt

  • No Policy. Rely on guidance set out within the National Planning Policy Framework. This would provide less detail than set out in the above Policy.

 

 Policies relating to the Green Belt and Countryside beyond the Green Belt

Preferred policy approach to development proposals for the re-use of buildings within the Green Belt and Countryside beyond the Green Belt

The aim of the preferred approach is to ensure that the re-use of buildings within the Countryside beyond the Green Belt and the Green Belt do not have a detrimental impact upon the openness of the Green Belt or character of the countryside by having a Policy that gives support to proposals for equestrian related developments, subject to the following considerations:

  • The lawfulness, permanence and condition of the building, which must be capable of conversion without major or complete reconstruction;
  • Whether the loss of an existing use would give rise to a need for another building to fulfil the function of the building being re-used;
  • The extent of ancillary works or features such as external storage, hardstanding, car parking, boundary walling or fencing and the impact that this would have upon the openness and character of the Green Belt or Countryside beyond the Green Belt;
  • Whether the proposed use, along with any associated use of land surrounding the building, would maintain the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside and where relevant would not be materially more harmful to the openness of the Green Belt.
  • Where permission is granted the Council will remove permitted development rights.

Alternative Approach to extensions and replacement buildings within the Green Belt

  • No Policy. Rely on guidance set out within the National Planning Policy Framework. This would provide less detail than set out in the above Policy.

Preferred Policy Approach to equestrian related developments

The aim of the preferred approach is to ensure that equestrian related developments within the countryside beyond the Green Belt and the Green Belt do not have a detrimental impact upon the openness of the Green Belt or character of the countryside by having a Policy that gives support to proposals for equestrian related developments, subject to the following considerations:

  • The prioritisation of the conversion or re-use of existing buildings and structures in favour of new buildings where possible;
  • Whether any new stables or associated structures are sensitively designed, proportionate to the activity proposed and are not capable of adaption for alternative use in the future, including residential. Proposals must demonstrate the amount of development proposed is reasonably related to its intended equestrian use and should not have a detrimental impact on the rural characteristics of the area;
  • The provision of maneges and outdoor lighting, if appropriate, should not have a detrimental impact on residential properties or on the character of the countryside
  • Whether the development has convenient and safe access to, and would not adversely impact upon, the existing bridleway network or other publicly accessible routes and spaces.

Alternative Approaches to equestrian related developments within the Green Belt and Countryside beyond the Green Belt

  • No Policy. Rely on guidance set out within the National Planning Policy Framework. This would provide less detail than set out in the above Policy;
  • Retain Policy DM3 of the Surrey Heath Core Strategy and Development Management Policies DPD. This would provide less detail than set out in the above Policy.

 

Policies relating to the Countryside beyond the Green Belt

Preferred Policy Approach to development proposals within the Countryside beyond the Green Belt

The aim of the preferred approach is to ensure that development proposals within the Countryside beyond the Green Belt do not have a detrimental impact upon the character of the countryside. This will be achieved by having a Policy that gives support to development of proposals that are sustainable and do not give rise to harm to the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside.

For the construction of new buildings, this will mean that:

  • The proposal meets the proven essential need of a rural worker to live permanently at or near their place of work; or
  • The proposal provides high quality business floor space to support rural enterprises; or
  • The proposal provides reasonable levels of operational development at institutional and other facilities; or
  • The proposal provides community facilities close to an existing settlement which is accessible by sustainable transport modes; or,
  • The proposal consists of the limited infilling or re-development of previously developed land, with regard had to the lawful status of existing buildings and any hardstanding, the bulk, mass and floor space (including basements, mezzanine levels, space under roofs and covered balconies), of the proposed development compared to the bulk, mass and floor space of existing buildings and structures, the degree of dispersal throughout the site of existing and proposed development, taking into account the need to site proposed development on or close to the position of the existing building unless an alternative location would materially reduce impact on the countryside, ancillary aspects of development proposals such as garages and other outbuildings, walls and gates, areas of hardstanding and their use and external storage will be considered additionally in respect of the built envelope, function and linkages to main buildings and the phasing of proposed development including any demolition proposed.

The extension, alteration and replacement of buildings within the countryside is not considered to be inappropriate, provided that the development does not harm its open and rural character. Regard will be had to:

  • The lawfulness and permanence of the host building;
  • The bulk, mass, floor space (including basements, mezzanine levels, space under roofs and covered balconies)and height of the proposed extensions;
  • Any alterations to footprint or siting of the building.

Alternative Approach to extensions and replacement buildings within the Green Belt

  • No Policy. Rely on guidance set out within the National Planning Policy Framework. This would provide less detail than set out in the above Policy.