Hertsmere Local Plan Consultation – Development in the Green Belt

Impact Planning Services (IPS) have been working with a local residents group in Hertsmere, who have concerns about a proposed new doctors and health surgery on a site within the Metropolitan Green Belt.

The residents oppose the loss of the Green Belt in this Location and the site is the subject of a proposed allocation for the  relocation of the current Elstree Schopwick GP Surgery  in the Draft Hertsmere Local Plan. The Local Plan is the subject of a current public consultation (regulation 18) until 6th December 2021.

IPS have previously submitted a report in earlier stages of the consultation process, as the site was previously allocated for residential development (Policy BE1). IPS submitted representations and prepared an effective case for resisting the release of Green Belt land for new housing, on a site in the same location as now proposed for the surgery.

There is great importance attached to the significance of the Green Belts. The fundamental aim of Green Belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open; the essential characteristics of Green Belts are their openness and their permanence. Inappropriate development is, by definition, harmful to the Green Belt and should not be approved except in very special circumstances (NPPF paragraph 143).’… provided they preserve its openness and do not conflict with the purposes of including land within it” (NPPF paragraph 146)

New buildings for health provision are not included in the list of uses regarded as exceptions to inappropriate development in the Green Belt. This means that health facilities are considered to be inappropriate in this Green Belt location. This is set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), where national policy promotes health provision in town centres as illustrated by their inclusion as ‘Main town centre uses’ in the Glossary in Annex 2 of the NPPF.

It is clear that the proposals for a new surgery within the Green Belt are inappropriate and we await Hertsmere Council’s consideration of our representations on behalf of the residents group to the the Local Plan consultation.