Exceptional circumstances?

I’m prepping for the Local Plan Examination, which begins on Tuesday.

National planning policy says that Green Belt boundaries can only be changed in exceptional circumstances. Policy explicitly states that housing need is not an exceptional circumstance.

Vale Tories plan to remove land from the Green Belt and use some of it for housing development.

In preparing for the Examination in Public of the Vale Local Plan, the inspector asked the Vale to explain the exceptional circumstances that support changing the Green Belt boundaries.

Here is what Vale said:

5.1.5.  The Council considers that the exceptional circumstances to justify the
alteration to the Green Belt boundary are:

  • the need to meet the objectively assessed housing need in full within
    the District,
  • the ability to release land presently designated as Green Belt with no
    harm to the purposes of the Green Belt, and
  • the need to deliver sustainable development, through sustainable
    patterns of growth supported by the necessary infrastructure.