Building in the Green Belt

Whenever building in the Green Belt is mentioned, visions of vast housing estates comes to mind, where there once was fields. However, careful consideration during the planning phase and working within the framework of current planning legislation, can result in an appropriate and sustainable development that benefits the local community.

Inspire Planning Solutions Ltd has recently secured planning permission in a designated Green Belt area for the erection of a new dwelling in Chorley, Lancashire.

This particular scheme involves the demolition of the existing single storey stables and storage buildings and the redevelopment of the site for a detached dwelling. As the site had already been identified as ‘brownfield’, due to the stabling of horses rather than agriculture, redevelopment was a viable option.

We were approached by the Architect, Blue Chip Architecture who had been asked to look at the re-design of a previous approval on the site for a new house. The client was looking for a distinctive property with a contemporary design, which included features such as a glazed front gable and with a reconfigured internal layout to provide a more modern open plan form of living, to take full advantage of the site’s rural aspect adjacent to open countryside.

In presenting a carefully crafted argument and referring to the disparate nature of the existing structures, we were able to demonstrate that the proposal, despite the increase in size, would result in a more compact form of development, and would not “have a greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt” as required by the National Planning Policy Framework (Paragraph 89).

The application received support from the Planning Officer and our client is now looking forward to building their dream home!

If you are looking to maximise the potential of a site, it’s important to present an effective planning case – Green Belt designation does not necessarily mean your planning application will be refused.

For development advice and support please contact us by calling 0161 428 0445 or by email

A New Plan, a New Challenge?


Source: Derived from Greater Manchester Spatial Framework Draft Report (2016)


Many people will be glad to see the return of larger than local thinking on matters as important as housing supply.

Following the demise of the Regional Spatial Strategy’s in 2010, a vacuum has existed in the planning system and it was widely felt that difficult and controversial, yet nevertheless essential facilities and infrastructure were being put on the back burner.

Fast forward 6 years and the 10 Greater Manchester Councils have got together for the first time to produce a statutory planning document that will aid economic recovery and deliver new house building. We are currently in the midst of a consultation on the draft strategy of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework  which is expected to be adopted and come into force in 2018.

The plan seeks to deliver 227,200 new homes and 26.3m sq ft of office space for new jobs for all 10 local authorities up to 2035, as well as identify strategic sites for development. Whilst that may sound a lot, many commenters have argued that it does not go far enough to deliver the transformational changes required in the region.

Should we be building houses or apartments?

Well according to this planning document, overall, slightly more houses (55-60%) than apartments (40-45%) but the distribution across Greater Manchester varies considerably with Manchester and Salford leading the way with up to 85% of all new homes to be apartments:



Source: Derived from Greater Manchester Spatial Framework Draft Report (2016)


The really controversial part of the plan however has been the earmarking of Green Belt to provide for 63,616 homes on land previously protected from development. The plan’s approach to Green Belt release is to focus on a relatively small number of large sites, the scale of some are set to deliver 4000 homes on individual sites.

This is an area that we have been involved in responding to the plan and no doubt the masterplanning that will be required in delivering some of the new neighbourhoods, will see many Architects and Planners working on over the next 20 years.

What is currently happening?

Now is the time to shape the plan and with the deadline for comments on 23 December 2016. We are currently working on behalf of a number of landowners in responding to the draft planning document. If you have a site that would benefit from inclusion or want assistance in responding to other aspects of the plan, get in touch with us.