To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, with reference to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), what the definition is of a broad location for growth; whether local authorities under the NPPF criteria are permitted to change land previously listed as an allocated site for development to a broad location during the course of an examination in public; and what is his policy on grade II-listed park and gardens within the green belt being protected from broad location for growth.
National planning policy does not define broad locations for growth. This is a matter for local decision and definition through the preparation of plans.
When considering changes during the examination of development plan documents, it would be for the appointed planning inspector, working with the local authority, to determine whether a change is appropriate. Given my quasi-judicial role in the planning process, I cannot comment on specific cases.
The National Planning Policy Framework sets out strong protections for the Green Belt. The Framework makes it clear that a local authority may alter the shape of its Green Belt only in exceptional circumstances, using the Local Plan process. The Framework does not define these ‘exceptional circumstances’. In the Housing White Paper, Fixing our broken housing market, we proposed that a local authority should be able to alter a Green Belt boundary in exceptional circumstances if it can demonstrate that it has examined all other reasonable options for meeting its identified development needs.
We hope to respond to the consultation in the Housing White Paper in the new year.