Last week I sat through a Walsall Planning Committee meeting. A long discussion was held over the officer’s recommendation for refusal tor the allocation of a site for up to 150 houses on green belt land. The site is not allocated for development, not even in the emerging Black Country Local Plan, currently out to public consultation.
The Black Country Green Belt
The Councillors were struggling to find a reason to approve an outline application. This was especially the case as the site could not be classed as previously developed land. As anti-social activity had been witnessed on the site, the Chair hit upon the idea that crime and fear of crime can be a material planning consideration. Therefore this can be used as the reason for accepting the proposal.
So the proposal was accepted by the Members, seemingly tor this reason only. What the Chair had done was conflate a material planning consideration with “very special circumstances.” Perhaps an easy trap for a non professional to fall into? Or was it because the land was owned by the Council?
Good luck with convincing the Secretary of State, as the application will have to be referred. And if acceptable lets just encourage anti-social behaviour and we can all get green belt land developed for housing?