Parish Councils – Greenbelt Policy Examples, and Local Plan Review Challenges

We’ve collated all the examples of Parish and Town Councils around the country setting Greenbelt policies, as well as those mounting challenges against Local Plan Reviews that propose to take land out of the Greenbelt.  These are listed below.

Useful background information on the Planning Process:

CPRE Report – ‘Planning Explained
Local Government Guide – ‘How Planning Works

 

Parish Council Local Plan Review Challenges:

Rawdon Parish Council: Worked with a planning consultant, other parish and town councils, and local community groups to challenge Leeds City Council Local Plan review at every stage, and successfully had the plan thrown out by the inspector.  Worked in consortium to create a ‘Neighbourhood Plan’ working group that led the action.  http://www.rawdonparishcouncil.gov.uk/Rawdon-PC/Default.aspx

The South Warrington Parish Councils Local Plan Working Group: SEVEN parish councils in Warrington are working together to challenge Leeds City Council’s Local Plan Review, insisting it’s such a mess it should be dealt with by the Secretary of State. They formed The South Warrington Parish Councils Local Plan Working Group, and one of the reasons they want the Local Plan Review scrapped is because “The site is located with the adopted Green Belt and development as proposed would be contrary to current development plan policy.” ie) the rules in the NPPF for protection of the greenbelt.
https://www.warrington-worldwide.co.uk/2019/06/01/borough-council-has-vested-interest-in-green-belt-plans-say-parishes/

Guildford & The Surrey Hills: Two parish councils – Ockham and Compton Parish Councils – and a greenbelt campaign group are working together to take legal action to get a Local Plan proposed by Guildford Borough Council chucked out by the inspector.  We’re in a stronger position as our Local Plan is still in review and hasn’t been signed off yet. Guildford are in a tougher position, as they are having to try and get the adoption reversed.  The campaign group are using renowned planning firm, Richard Buxton Solicitors.  “All three claims share common ground – namely the excessive deletion of land from the Green Belt in the borough and the lack of exceptional circumstances to justify the over allocation of housing land available for development,” the firm said.  Their key argument is the Greenbelt Review on which the LPR rests is ‘unlawful’.
https://www.localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/planning/401-planning-news/40836-parish-councils-and-resident-to-challenge-adoption-of-local-plan-over-deletion-of-green-belt-land

 Denby Parish Council: “The Parish Council is of the view that Amber Valley Borough Council has failed to demonstrate exceptional circumstances to justify the deletion of greenbelt land”
https://www.denbyparishcouncil.gov.uk/uploads/denby-parish-councils-representation—green-belt-review.pdf

Calverton Parish Council: hired a planning consultant to fight the Gelding Local Plan (Greater Nottingham Greenbelt) and their commissioned report said: “Calverton Parish Council does not consider that the overall policy suite in the Gedling Local Planning Document provides for the effective protection of the Greater Nottingham Green Belt. The Parish Council are of the view that Policy LPD16 is inappropriate, and that the process of removing land from the Green Belt has not taken into account the necessary protection of the Green Belt in accordance with national policy.”
https://www.gedling.gov.uk/lpdexamination/media/documents/planningbuildingcontrol/examinationlibrary/statements/Matter4_9164033_CalvertonPC.pdf

Parish Council Greenbelt Policies:

Parish Council’s around the country commonly adopt a Greenbelt Policy, either alone, or in consortium with neighbouring parish councils, this means they have a fixed position on their approach to development proposals in the Greenbelt in their parish, and are poised to act when a Local Plan Review proposes release of greenbelt land.  Some examples are:

Oxford Greenbelt Network:  Network of over 60 town and parish councils in the Oxford Greenbelt area.  For over twenty years have had a shared and collective policy “to preserve and protect the whole of the Oxford Greenbelt for the benefit of all who treasure our beautiful city and for all who live in the greenbelt and beyond”.  Their mission statement says, “The Network shall be non-political but shall exercise the right to comment on and where appropriate campaign against both national and local legislation and plans as they affect Green Belts in general and the Oxford Green Belt in particular”.

Oxford Greebelt Network have a ‘safety in numbers’ approach and respond to Local Plan Reviews and consultations with one voice http://www.oxfordgreenbelt.net/parishes.htm

Claygate Parish Council: “Green Belt and open spaces Policy – The Parish Council will object to any reduction in the designated Green Belt and to any proposed development that detracts from its amenity value. It will ensure that existing and potential open spaces and greens within the village are protected”.
http://www.claygateparishcouncil.gov.uk/Planning_Committee.aspx

Stapleford Parish Council: “Accordingly, the Parish Council is tasked with preserving Stapleford’s Green Belt for the pleasure and benefit of its current residents and as a custodian for future residents.”
https://www.scambs.gov.uk/media/3274/fwr_-_sc4_-_stapleford_parish_council.pdf

Kemsing Parish Council: “Any proposal to release greenbelt land in Kemsing parish, much of which is also designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, would be regarded by Kemsing Parish Council, and we believe, most of our electors with alarm.  In Kemsing Parish Council’s view, the new local plan should not include housing development on greenfield sites in Kemsing’s Greenbelt”
https://www.kemsingpc.kentparishes.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Green-Belt-statement-1.pdf

Berkswell Parish Council: Has an extremely detailed Greenbelt policy which includes, amongst many other things pledges to “support the protection of the greenbelt from development in as far as the law allows so that the four purposes of the greenbelt within Berkswell Parish are met”.  And “will take all reasonable steps to ensure that the rules of the NPPF are fully implemented to protect the greenbelt from inappropriate development”.  This includes, that when the boundaries of the greenbelt are to be reviewed as part of the Local Plan process the council will:

  • Recommend and propose development outside of the greenbelt shall be given first priority
  • Recommend and propose the development of highly and/or moderately accessible brownfield land before any greenfield land within the greenbelt is considered.
  • Seek to ensure that the land assessed as being of the highest value in meeting the purposes of the greenbelt is protected over that having a lower contribution to the purposes of the greenbelt. The Council will seek to ensure that any assessment method used for determining the contribution of land to the greenbelt is undertaken in a robust and fair manner”.
    https://www.berkswellparishcouncil.org.uk/sites/berkswellparishcouncil.org.uk/files/downloads/berkswell_parish_council_greenbelt_policy.pdf

Lathom Parish Council: was founded by the local resident’s association / Greenbelt group and remains a subgroup of the greenbelt group “Lathom South Parish Council was founded to use those powers to protect our Green Belt and the identity of Lathom. This will be reflected in all our comments on planning matters. We will seek to protect the Green Belt and, using planning terms, protect the “the openness” of the Green Belt”.

They say, the Resident’s Association “has advantages in that it can take actions a parish council cannot do, like campaigning, and it can respond quickly to planning issues as it does not have to wait for formal meetings.  However, a resident’s association does not have the powers of a parish council, the strength of a Parish Council is that it is recognised as the basic layer of local government. It can raise funds through the parish precept and it has the option to exercise certain powers for the benefit of the whole community … Importantly it must be consulted about planning matters in its area”.
http://www.lathomsouthpc.co.uk/mainframecharities.htm

Broomfield Parish Council:  worked with neighbouring parish councils to create a ‘statement of common ground’ with regard to fighting Chelmsford City Council Local Plan: Preferred Options consultation (i.e. preferred sites consultation).  They say: “Fundamentally, the growth locations in north and west Chelmsford are not proven in the evidence base to be consistent with the principles of sustainable development and therefore do not meet the tests of the NPPF in terms of Plan making.” https://www.broomfieldessex.co.uk/local-plan-preferred-options-the-parish-councils-response/