Scope of permitted changes of use under paragraph 150(e) NPPF clarified

07 Jun 2022

Planning and Environment

The NPPF has a strong presumption against “inappropriate development” in the Green Belt.

Deciding whether or not a proposal is inappropriate development is therefore an important early question to resolve.

Paragraph 150 NPPF provides that certain forms of development are “not inappropriate”, including:

“material changes in the use of land (such as changes of use for outdoor sport or recreation, or for cemeteries and burial grounds)…”

In a set of four co-joined appeals, an Inspector has decided that houseboats occupying moorings for a permanent residential purpose do not come within paragraph 150(e) NPPF.

The Inspector found that paragraph 150(e) NPPF should be read with paragraph 149 NPPF which sets out where new residential development may be appropriate in the Green Belt. As DL, 12 he found:

“In my judgement, paragraph 150 does not come to the appellant’s rescue. The paragraph opens with “certain other forms of development…”, and as paragraph 149 has already considered where new residential development and uses may be not inappropriate, it stands to reason that paragraph 150 cannot be seeking to reintroduce it and permit new residential development or uses, even for permanent residential moorings, through a policy back door via subparagraph (e).”

Dr Ashley Bowes, who appeared for the successful planning authority in the case, commented “this appeal clarifies that paragraph 150(e) NPPF does not any change of use, rather should be interpreted against the Green Belt section in the NPPF as a whole. It is likely to make it harder to secure consent for houseboat moorings in the Green Belt.”

A copy of the appeal decision can be found here.