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Purchasing Property in Green Belt

We are often approached by Clients who are looking to purchase property in Green Belt as they feel there is great potential for development. Let’s face it, often houses located in Green Belt have large plots with a great deal of space around them and appear ripe for development.

Whilst there are some opportunities to develop properties in Green Belt, you have to remember that there are significant restrictions on any development and these are in place simply to protect the openness of the Green Belt and prevent urban sprawl, so you need to be fully aware of these restrictions before you buy such a property.

In 2012 the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) came into force, which is a document that sets governments planning policy for England and is used to formulate the Local Plans for each of the Local Authorities. It is the document that is used to determine all planning arguments and justify Local Plan policies.

The NPPF has a strong bias against development in Green Belt, especially new buildings, except for in very special circumstances. These very special circumstances are incredibly limited. At Local Authority level, most local plans allow for a certain level of extensions and alterations to existing houses, but these will be very restricted. As a rule of thumb, it can be possible to obtain consent for up to 40-50% of the original house as built. That is to say, the size of the house as was given consent originally, or as it stood in 1948 if built before then.

So, when looking at purchasing a property in Green Belt with an idea to developing it, you need to find out if it has already been extended, as this might have a significant impact on your plans. If you understand the restrictions and difficulties you might face when wanting to extend your dream home in the countryside, it can save a lot of disappointment later on.

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