It is often said that one of the problems with the Green Belt is that it is not always green but includes unsightly brownfield areas that planning restrictions prevent being cleared up. Development release can be crucial in helping transform some of these spaces. Chaul End Vehicle Storage Centre on the outskirts of Luton is a leading example, currently under redevelopment after permission was won.
The site was a fenced area of hardstanding, a former depot described as ‘visually bleak’ and ‘degraded’. It was in the Green Belt and alongside the Chilterns AONB. A study by Barton Willmore showed that housing development within a comprehensive landscape framework could greatly enhance the site and its contribution to the area.
The introduction of positive woodland management would enable the woodland to achieve county importance as a potential new County Wildlife Site as a result of the proposed development. Green corridors and links through the site would significantly improve habitat connectivity and access, connecting the site to the wider public rights of way network. This is in line with paragraph 81 of the NPPF which indicates that:
“local planning authorities should plan positively to enhance the beneficial use of the Green Belt, such as looking for opportunities to provide access; to provide opportunities for outdoor sport and recreation; to retain and enhance landscapes, visual amenity and biodiversity; or to improve damaged and derelict land”.
This argument won the day and consent was given.
Landscape Planning & Design : Barton Willmore
Client: General Motors