To complement the Arup review of the Green Belt a further review was undertaken by the Council to consider whether villages lying in the Green Belt should continue to be 'washed over' (included) by the Green Belt or excluded and returned to the settlement.
Paragraph 86 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out how villages within the Green Belt should be treated. It sets out that if it is necessary to prevent development in a village primarily because of the contribution that the open character of a village makes to the openness of the Green Belt then the village should be included in the Green Belt. If however, the character of a village needs to be protected for other reasons, then the village should be excluded.
A Stage 1 review of Green Belt Villages considered which developed areas of Runnymede lying within the Green Belt could be considered as a 'village' and if so, whether they should remain in the Green Belt or be excluded and returned to settlement, based on the tests of open character and openness, as set out in paragraph 86 of the NPPF. The Stage 1 work found Thorpe was the only developed area within the Runnymede Green Belt that can be defined as a 'village' and after further assessment has been recommended for exclusion from the Green Belt. The Stage 1 report has been updated since its first publication in May 2016 to take account of recent case law, although this has not affected the recommendations/conclusions of the review. The updated version is available to view below.
Stage 2 of the process considered where a new detailed village/Green Belt boundary should be placed around the village of Thorpe in accordance with Green Belt policy as set out in the NPPF. The Stage 2 review has recommended the boundary largely follows the existing extent of saved Policy GB2 of the Local Plan 2001 (which can be viewed on the Maps, but has recommended options for where this boundary could be altered). The recommended options were included within the Local Plan Issues, Options and Preferred Approaches document that was the subject of public consultation for 7 weeks from July-August 2016. The Stage 2 report has also been updated to take account of recent case law and again this has not affected the recommendations/conclusions of the review. The updated report and its appendix can be viewed below as well as a map of the proposed settlement boundary.
Any questions about the Green Belt Villages Review Work should be directed to officers in the Council's Policy and Strategy team at email@example.com.