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blueST

Original Poster:

2,360 posts

99 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
There's a reasonable chance we will be buying a house with a parcel of green belt land. I've got a tonne of questions about it. Are there any PHers with experience or knowledge of owning/using green belt?

blueg33

13,044 posts

107 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
Over the years I have owned or controlled several hundred acres of greenbelt on the edge of settlements. I have also developed in greenbelt.

What are your questions?

blueST

Original Poster:

2,360 posts

99 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
blueg33 said:
Over the years I have owned or controlled several hundred acres of greenbelt on the edge of settlements. I have also developed in greenbelt.

What are your questions?
Well, to give you some context... The current owners purchased a field in front of the house, which is designated greenbelt. The purpose of buying it was to secure their view into the future. It's about 1 acre on a gradient that slopes away from the house.

In order to keep it in a reasonable state, they divided it into two chunks with a fence. Top third for use as a vegetable and fruit growing area which is now neglected and overgrown. Bottom two thirds they have allowed someone to graze a horse for free, just to keep the grass down.

I am trying to work out what to do with this land if/when we move in. I don't think we want to retain the horse grazing, as it wouldn't feel like our land if someone else was using. But the obvious advantage of the horse is it's effectively a free lawn mower.

So, would I be allowed to mow the grass like a giant lawn, instead of grazing animals?

Would I be allowed to put a small picnic bench on there somewhere so we could eat out on sunny days?

Can I have any kind of shed/garage/carport? What about parking a vehicle, even if it's just on the grass? Could I level a small area to accomodate this? Could I put a bit of gravel down on a small parking space?

The obvious answer to the above is, speak to the local planners, but it's Sunday, so here I am!


mx5cl

76 posts

22 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
You shouldn't face any problem mowing it or using it for a picnic bench as long as it is fairly discrete.

Erecting buildings, levelling, drives (and possibly incorporating it as 'domestic' garden) etc is more complex, would be useful to see an aerial photo marked up.

The main planning consideration with green belt is nearly always the impact on its openness (as the main objective of greenbelt is to keep the area permanently open), so visual impact issues are key and typically relate to the height and footprint of anything you may want to build.

Depending on how the land has been separated and its relationship with the house is also important. Do you know any of the planning history relating to the property?

Edited by mx5cl on Sunday 7th October 17:09


Edited by mx5cl on Sunday 7th October 17:11

blueg33

13,044 posts

107 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
mx5cl said:
You shouldn't face any problem mowing it or using it for a picnic bench as long as it is fairly discrete.

Erecting buildings, levelling, drives (and possibly incorporating it as 'domestic' garden) etc is more complex, would be useful to see an aerial photo marked up.

The main planning consideration with green belt is nearly always the impact on its openness (as the main objective of greenbelt is to keep the area permanently open), so visual impact issues are key and typically relate to the height and footprint of anything you may want to build.

Depending on how the land has been separated and its relationship with the house is also important. Do you know any of the planning history relating to the property?]
Pretty much this. You cannot make it look like a garden, you can mow it, or even better get a local farmer to see if he wants to cut it for hay (it may not be big enough).

You could just seed it with a wild flower seed mix and cut at the relevant times in the year (after seeds have set). Sounds like the potential to have a rather nice meadow


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blueST

Original Poster:

2,360 posts

99 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
Thanks for the quick response folks. A nice meadow it what we would love to end up with, but the gradient and the uneven nature of the ground might make maintenance a bit arduous. I don't know anything about mowing eneven terrain.

Heres the aerial view. A = the house, B = the overgrown vege/fruit zone, C = the grazed bit with some trees and bushes.

|http://thumbsnap.com/zHZ4wyCZ[/url]

If were to have a tractor/mower thing, would I be more likely allowed a small shed to store it in, in that it is directly connected to the maintenance of the land?

There is a large gate at the top, could anyone object to me parking my car inside the gate, on the basis I didn't build a drive or anything else?[url]

blueST

Original Poster:

2,360 posts

99 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
I should add that I don't think you could get a garden tractor safely on and off the land without doing a bit of earth work, as there is a steep drop off, not far in.

GuinnessMK

1,237 posts

105 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
I'd be tempted to do something like this:-



With the excuse that the kids could bomb down the winding path in their go karts...

blueST

Original Poster:

2,360 posts

99 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
GuinnessMK said:
I'd be tempted to do something like this:-



With the excuse that the kids could bomb down the winding path in their go karts...
I'd agrre with that, but would something that formal and decorative be allowed?

netherfield

1,295 posts

67 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
Who owns the fields around your plot, it's possible the local farmer would take the grass off C if he's taking the fields around.

Possibly you could put some reinforced grass down on the top section to park your car on,but could still get muddy in wet weather.

blueST

Original Poster:

2,360 posts

99 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
netherfield said:
Who owns the fields around your plot, it's possible the local farmer would take the grass off C if he's taking the fields around.

Possibly you could put some reinforced grass down on the top section to park your car on,but could still get muddy in wet weather.
Not sure, the land was carved up when the farm was developed into a house. It must be owned by another farmer now, but who I don't know who or where. Something to look into if I don't want to mow it myself.

The reinforced grass is a good idea. They current owners did something similar with that anti-weed matting but they didn't maintainit and it's since grown over.

The Moose

11,334 posts

92 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
That's not too much to cut, even without a ride on really

blueST

Original Poster:

2,360 posts

99 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
The Moose said:
That's not too much to cut, even without a ride on really
I've never even owned a garden before, so I've no idea about these things! The "problem" will be the gradient and unevenness I think. Whatever I do with it, I don't want maintenance to be too laborious. I don't mind spending a few days a month on it, but I don't want it to become a full time job.

So, I basically have two things to address. How to legitimately make use of the top bit, park a car, maybe some storage for garden equipment. And what to do with the rest, so it's an attractive recreational space that wont be too much of a hassle to maintain.

The Moose

11,334 posts

92 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
blueST said:
The Moose said:
That's not too much to cut, even without a ride on really
I've never even owned a garden before, so I've no idea about these things! The "problem" will be the gradient and unevenness I think. Whatever I do with it, I don't want maintenance to be too laborious. I don't mind spending a few days a month on it, but I don't want it to become a full time job.

So, I basically have two things to address. How to legitimately make use of the top bit, park a car, maybe some storage for garden equipment. And what to do with the rest, so it's an attractive recreational space that wont be too much of a hassle to maintain.
To be honest, with did have a ride on mower of one sort or another for an area about as long, but wider. Mum didn't think the finish was as nice so we started doing it with a push mower (with driven wheels) and it really didn't take that ,one once into it. Once a week in summer whilst growing up.

They now have a man who does it for then. The rest of the garden takes longer to sort than the grass however. If its just mowing, it's wouldn't be overly dear to get someone in once a week or two.

AdeTuono

4,511 posts

110 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
I've had this dilemna for the last 18 months; short answer is, speak to your planning department. Even then, you may get conflicting answers. I come under East Dorset, and have had some issues recently. One planning officer couldn't be more helpful; another has been an absolute ahole.

I'm gradually turning around 10 acres from rough grazing land to a more 'lawned' appearance, and you should be fine with this. The issue will come with buildings and suchlike. I'm lucky enough to have a small lake at the far end of my property. I bought a bow-topped gypsy caravan to site next to the lake, where I can laze away sunny days and watch the fish. One of my neighbours, who has an axe to grind, (long story, and not for here...) complained, and I had a visit from the planners. I was told that I'm not allowed to have it there, as it isn't strictly necessary for the 'enjoyment' of the land. However, recognising that this is petty in the extreme, I was told that, should I keep some fish food inside the caravan, it then becomes a food store, and complies with the rules. As for buildings, you may get away with a field shelter, but it would need to be mobile, or at least built on a skid and hence towable.

It would probably help if you knew the curtilage of the property, as you're allowed to do much more on this.

  • I'm not an expert in any of this, and it may all be bks, but this is where I am.

blueST

Original Poster:

2,360 posts

99 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
AdeTuono said:
I've had this dilemna for the last 18 months; short answer is, speak to your planning department. Even then, you may get conflicting answers. I come under East Dorset, and have had some issues recently. One planning officer couldn't be more helpful; another has been an absolute ahole.

I'm gradually turning around 10 acres from rough grazing land to a more 'lawned' appearance, and you should be fine with this. The issue will come with buildings and suchlike. I'm lucky enough to have a small lake at the far end of my property. I bought a bow-topped gypsy caravan to site next to the lake, where I can laze away sunny days and watch the fish. One of my neighbours, who has an axe to grind, (long story, and not for here...) complained, and I had a visit from the planners. I was told that I'm not allowed to have it there, as it isn't strictly necessary for the 'enjoyment' of the land. However, recognising that this is petty in the extreme, I was told that, should I keep some fish food inside the caravan, it then becomes a food store, and complies with the rules. As for buildings, you may get away with a field shelter, but it would need to be mobile, or at least built on a skid and hence towable.

It would probably help if you knew the curtilage of the property, as you're allowed to do much more on this.

  • I'm not an expert in any of this, and it may all be bks, but this is where I am.
Thanks. Are planning people happy to discuss ideas with you, or do they want firm applications in writing?

When you say curtilage, do you mean the boundary of the house as opposed to the extra land? AIUI, the curtilage of the house ends at the border of the western edge of the field in the photo above. I.e. the green belt land is outside the curtilage of the house. I think...

kooky guy

478 posts

49 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
I'd just keep the horse. Or even get more in and charge. It's very unusual to offer free grazing!

blueST

Original Poster:

2,360 posts

99 months

[news] 
Monday 8th October 2012 quote quote all
kooky guy said:
I'd just keep the horse. Or even get more in and charge. It's very unusual to offer free grazing!
What's the going rate for grazing? Don't think the land is big enough for more than a couple of ponies.

Grazing animals means the land is effectively off limits to me, and I like the idea of using it for something. Just not sure what that something is.

LooneyTunes

3,418 posts

41 months

[news] 
Monday 8th October 2012 quote quote all
blueST said:
What's the going rate for grazing? Don't think the land is big enough for more than a couple of ponies.
Depends where you are, but in Cheshire I know people paying £25 - 50 per horse. The actual rate depending largely on what else there is in terms of facilities (tack storage, water, arena).

If you're leaving horses turned out all the time, then you need to keep quite a low density of animals otherwise the place will get churned up more than you'd probably want (and even then, areas by gates can still end up a bit swampy if you're not careful).

In terms of mowing, I know one chap who essentially treats about 20 acres as a lawn without an issue. He seems to like nothing more than trundling up and down with his tractor.

Regarding buildings, check out permitted development (especially with respect to field shelters and barns) and temporary structures. Can surprising what you put on agricultural land. If you think that all the barns you see in the countryside are full of hay, then think again... get on well with your neighbours and you can get away with a fair bit in the country. wink Conversely, don't piss people off too much (especially farmers) as there's a good chance they'll be your neighbours for a good few years and typically have long memories.

mx5cl

76 posts

22 months

[news] 
Monday 8th October 2012 quote quote all
blueST said:
AdeTuono said:
I've had this dilemna for the last 18 months; short answer is, speak to your planning department. Even then, you may get conflicting answers. I come under East Dorset, and have had some issues recently. One planning officer couldn't be more helpful; another has been an absolute ahole.

I'm gradually turning around 10 acres from rough grazing land to a more 'lawned' appearance, and you should be fine with this. The issue will come with buildings and suchlike. I'm lucky enough to have a small lake at the far end of my property. I bought a bow-topped gypsy caravan to site next to the lake, where I can laze away sunny days and watch the fish. One of my neighbours, who has an axe to grind, (long story, and not for here...) complained, and I had a visit from the planners. I was told that I'm not allowed to have it there, as it isn't strictly necessary for the 'enjoyment' of the land. However, recognising that this is petty in the extreme, I was told that, should I keep some fish food inside the caravan, it then becomes a food store, and complies with the rules. As for buildings, you may get away with a field shelter, but it would need to be mobile, or at least built on a skid and hence towable.

It would probably help if you knew the curtilage of the property, as you're allowed to do much more on this.

  • I'm not an expert in any of this, and it may all be bks, but this is where I am.
Thanks. Are planning people happy to discuss ideas with you, or do they want firm applications in writing?

When you say curtilage, do you mean the boundary of the house as opposed to the extra land? AIUI, the curtilage of the house ends at the border of the western edge of the field in the photo above. I.e. the green belt land is outside the curtilage of the house. I think...
It all depends on the authority, some are quite happy to discuss matters informally and quite openly (although they will be careful to state that it is their own professional opinion, thus no guarantee) and offer advice whilst others will direct you down a more formal route of submitting requests for advice in writing and some may try to charge for the service. To get an "in principle" view of what you can and can't do, a policy planner at the Council is often your best bet as they will (in generic terms) be able to outline the particular local plan policies covering development in this particular area including green belt and any other land designations that may apply.

In terms of residential curtliage issues, in your typical suburban house it would be easily defined as the garden area. However with large, rural properties it can be more difficult to define. In your case I would have thought area A could be considered residential curtilage whilst as you suspect B and C, which have a degree of separation would not. Residential curtilage obviously enjoys certain permitted development rights, as does agricultural land, however this depends on the size of the agricultural unit and I suspect that owing to its size, this land may not enjoy any real agricultural permitted development rights.

In terms of erecting buildings, hard surfacing, levelling etc it is therefore likely that you will require planning consent, where you are likely to find problems with planning applications is where anything can be considered disproportionately large or overly "domestic" in its scale, appearance or use. Retaining the agricultural character is key and as per above, the "openness" issue is really important. If you want further generic information on green belt and the considerations relating to it, google "National Planning Policy Framework" and look at paras 79-81 & 87-90.

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