Woking Borough Council

CS6 Green Belt

The Metropolitan Green Belt covers approximately 60% of the area of the Borough. The extent of the Green Belt is shown on the Proposals Map. Government policy sets the following relevant objectives for the Green Belt - to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas, to prevent neighbouring towns from merging into one another and to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment. It is a significant spatial issue in defining the extent of the built-up area and in constraining patterns of harmful development in the Borough. The Green Belt plays a key role in providing recreational opportunity, securing the quality of the Borough's landscape setting, and in contributing to the special identity of the area.

CS6: Green Belt

To ensure the Green Belt continues to serve its key functions, it will be protected from harmful development. Within its boundaries, strict control will continue to apply over inappropriate development, as defined by Government policy currently outlined in PPG2: Green Belts.

Broadoaks, Parvis Road, West Byfleet and the Thames Water Sewage Treatment Works, Carters Lane, Old Woking are designated as Major Developed Sites in the Green Belt. This designation will allow limited infilling and redevelopment of the sites, without compromising the integrity of the Green Belt. The suitability of any scheme will be measured against the requirements of PPG 2 Green Belts and other Core Strategy policies. The policy is not intended to change the existing use of the sites.

Mayford Village is designated as an infill only settlement within the Green Belt on the Proposals Map. Within the village infill development will be permitted where:

  1. it is for a purpose acceptable in PPG2 Green Belts
  2. it is on land which is substantially surrounded by existing development and which forms a gap within a built up frontage
  3. the proposed buildings would be used either for residential purposes or for another use which would not be harmful to residential amenity
  4. for residential development, proposals are in accordance with the policies applied to new and replacement houses in the urban area.

The Green Belt has been identified as a potential future direction of growth to meet housing need, in particular, the need for family homes between 2022 and 2027. A Green Belt boundary review will be carried out in 2016/17 with the specific objective to identify land to meet the development requirements of the Core Strategy. The Council will ensure that any release of Green Belt land for development will not undermine its overall purpose and integrity. It will also ensure that it will not have any significant adverse effects on the SPA, SAC and Ramsar sites. A Habitats Regulations Assessment will be carried out as part of the review to determine whether there is a need for an Appropriate Assessment.

Reasoned justification

New development is inappropriate in the Green Belt unless it is essential for:

  • agriculture
  • cemeteries
  • outdoor recreation
  • extensions to dwellings that would not result in disproportionate additions to the original building.

The relevant criteria for judging the suitability of development are set out in PPG2: Green Belts. It is not intended to repeat the requirements of PPG2 because they are material considerations when determining planning applications.

Major Developed Sites in the Green Belt are existing large developed sites within the Green Belt, where infilling and/or redevelopment may not be inappropriate development in principle. Two sites are designated as Major Developed Sites in the Green Belt at Broadoaks, Parvis Road, West Byfleet and the Thames Water Sewage Treatment Works, Carters Lane, Old Woking. Both fulfil the criteria for a Major Developed Site as set out in PPG2: Green Belts. The geographical boundaries of both sites are defined on the Proposals Map.

Land at Broadoaks, Parvis Road, West Byfleet was designated as a Major Developed Site in the current Local Plan, and it is intended that it will have the same status in the Core Strategy. The retention of this site for quality office premises is important to the employment strategy of the Core Strategy as no other similar sites are available within the Borough.

The Thames Water Sewage Treatment Works, Carters Lane, Old Woking is a new Major Developed Site. It has a substantial footprint of development; containing some buildings and the infrastructure required for a sewage treatment works. Any redevelopment proposal for the site should not be significantly larger than the existing structures footprint. It has been designated for the purposes of a sewage treatment works and not for any other use.

Whilst infilling and/or redevelopment is acceptable in principle at these sites, any such development must be contained within the defined boundaries and their impacts fully assessed in accordance with criteria in PPG2: Green Belts.

Mayford Village is a small and compact community where limited development within the village boundaries would not have an adverse effect on the character of the Green Belt. Within the village, only infill residential development will normally be acceptable. New build business or industrial developments will not be allowed as they are likely to result in an unacceptable effect on the primarily residential character of the village and Green Belt.

The latest Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (November 2010) identifies sufficient sites to meet ten years housing land supply. The Green Belt and Woking Town Centre have been identified as future directions of growth to meet housing land supply between 2022 and 2027. This is necessary to ensure that the Core Strategy is meeting the requirements of national guidance set out in PPS3: Housing which requires the Core Strategy to identify sufficient sites to meet fifteen years housing land supply.

A review of the Green Belt boundary will be carried out in 2016/17, to evaluate where it is appropriate to release any land in the Green Belt for housing purposes and the size and scale of the release. The Council is committed to ensuring that the release of Green Belt land for development will not undermine its purpose. It is expected that the review will include an assessment of the landscape, transport and ecological impacts of development of the identified sites. The Site Allocations DPD will be reviewed to take account of the outcome of the Green Belt Review when it is completed.

Delivery strategy

The policy will be delivered through development management decisions. The Core Strategy policy and national planning policy (PPS2: Green Belts) will provide the framework against which planning applications will be determined.

Monitoring and review

  • Number and type of planning permissions granted consent in the Green Belt.
  • Number of developments in the Green Belt demonstrating very special circumstances.
  • Major Developed Sites the percentage of development which has taken place within the defined boundaries and the percentage outside the defined boundaries.

Key evidence base

Planning Policy Guidance Note 2 Green Belts (updated 2001)

Housing Land Supply Position Statement (2010)

Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (2009 and 2010)