Green Belt designation by deed: a karate chop to development?
Whilst many are already familiar navigating the planning system when it comes to planning for Green Belt land, the designation of land as Green Belt under historic legislation can still prove disruptive to development.
Under the terms of the Green Belt (London and Home Counties) Act 1938, and similar legislation affecting other parts of the country, it is possible for a landowner to declare by deed that land is Green Belt land. If so, consent from the Secretary of State and the Local Planning Authority will be required to build on such area, and other restrictions on use (outside of agricultural use and other limited exceptions) may also apply.
If land designated in this way is owned by the Local Authority, Secretary of State consent is also required for any disposal.
Whilst the preferred mechanism for protecting land nowadays is the use of Local Plans and consent from the Local Planning Authority, there are still examples of land having been designated under this legislation. The ability to apply to the Upper Tribunal for a release of such a restrictive covenant is specifically excluded in this context.
It is important that any issue regarding Green Belt designation is picked up early in title investigations, and options such as insurance or releases are discussed at an early stage.