The Inspector for Welwyn & Hatfield Local Plan has issued a note on the Green Belt Review which outlines additional work that the Council should undertake in order to expand on the findings of the Green Belt Review.
The initial concerns raised by the Inspector found the development strategy put forward to be unsound, in part, due to the insufficient justification for the failure to identify sufficient developable sites within the Green Belt.
The Inspector has suggested the following:
- The need to provide a clear ranking of considerations with respect to the different Green Belt purposes and suitability of land for development in National Policy;
- The analysis of larger potential development sites collectively rather than individually;
- Build on the existing Green Belt purposes assessments by extending the sites considered to all those abutting urban areas and potentially sites beyond these If the analysis suggests sites abutting the urban area could be developed;
- In circumstances where the objectively assessed housing need (OAHN )is unlikely to be met, there would need to be further analysis of the areas of open countryside within the Borough;
The Inspector refers to Roland Bolton of SPRU and his reference to the need to set out the exceptional circumstances that justify the release of sites from the Green Belt because the overall circumstances will not be the same for each site.