The NPPF provides a national framework for Councils to produce their own Local Plans, which reflect the needs and priorities of their communities, with a strong emphasis on the delivery of sustainable development.
The Government is committed to building a record number of new homes which is also recognised in the recent Housing White Paper, Fixing our Broken Housing Market, which was published on 7th February 2017. The Housing White Paper seeks to encourage small to medium size sites such as this to encourage a diversity of house builders and recognises these sites offer added flexibility to housing supply, due to inevitable delays to large scale urban extensions.
Wycombe District Council are in the process of developing a new Local Plan, which is due to undergo independent examination by the Government appointed Planning Inspector. A Local Plan sets out local planning policies and identifies how land is used and determining what will be built where.
The NPPF states that Green Belt boundaries can only be amended in exceptional circumstances, through the preparation or review of a Local Plan. In Wycombe, 71% of the district is within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and nearly half (48%) of the District is designated Green Belt. Wycombe District Council have identified a combination of factors that constitute the exceptional circumstances that require the Council to amend its Green Belt boundaries.
These are set out in the emerging New Local Plan and include the high level of housing need, including affordable homes, exacerbated by a significant backlog of unmet need, and the lack of suitable alternative locations outside the Green Belt.
Hollands Farm is visually contained by a mixture of built development, mature trees, woodland and hedgerows and overlooked from neighbouring developments. Hollands Farm is currently located within the designated Green Belt but is outside the AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).
The Buckinghamshire Green Belt Assessment (BGBA) was undertaken in March 2016 and identified Hollands Farm as suitable for removal from the Green Belt by the Council. The overall findings of the BGBA states:
“Site is weak in Green Belt terms and capable of delivering housing. Site should be removed from the Green Belt.”