The purpose of the Green Belt is to prevent urban sprawl. However, contrary to popular belief, this does not mean a blanket ban on all development since certain types of development such as infilling in villages, affordable housing, redevelopment of brownfield land, and provision of sports facilities are allowed in the Green Belt, subject to meeting specific requirements.
While I have not seen the detailed plans for the proposed McCarthy and Stone scheme, if it were to be deemed appropriate development in the Green Belt, then it would not result in a “hole” in the Green Belt as the Green Belt designation would remain and Green Belt policy would continue to apply.
It must be remembered that planning is not “black and white” and each case should be determined on its own merits by coming to a reasoned judgment.
It is also entirely possible that the benefits of a particular scheme to a community may constitute “very special circumstances” which outweigh the harm to the Green Belt.
Again, that is a matter of judgment, with which not everyone will agree. Whatever the outcome of this particular scheme, it is clear that planning and the Green Belt will always be a very emotive subject.
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