HGH Consulting


The (Re)generation Game: Green- and Brown-Belt Local Development Success

As the debate continues around the subject of development on Green- and Brown-Belt land, smaller projects can throw up challenges and sensitivities to bring this issue into sharp relief, says hgh Director, Richard Henley.

In two recent cases, hgh has secured planning permission, with distinctly different characteristics and policy requirements, to deliver residential homes at local level.

From the Ashes

In the Green Belt and Conservation Area of the London Borough of Barnet, hgh secured detailed planning permission for the demolition of a fire-damaged house and the building of a replacement, bespoke dwelling, designed by award winning architect John Pardey Architects.  Located in one of the most desirable areas of the Borough,Totteridge Common, the project raised issues such as openness, scale and harm and applicability of extant lawful development certificates, as relevant and realistic ‘fall-back’ position – contrary to Barnet Council’s initial pre application advice.

Working alongside the architects and in association with ACRE development managers, a robust planning and legal principles case was presented by hgh which, alongside the high quality design, resulted in the Council reversing its initial position and accepted that the scheme would make a positive contribution to the Conservation Area in addition to creating an outstanding home.

From Derelict to Desirable

The second recent project could not have been more different – and faced the challenges of time, communication and local regeneration.

Redeveloping a row of 22 derelict garages in Rayners Lane, Harrow, into 7 units (5 x houses and 2 x flats) was a Brownfield site that brought with it a complex set of local issues: anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping and drug misuse. The proposal aimed to breathe new life into the area through the provision of family homes. After a two-year pre application and planning application process, including a local resident online consultation during COVID-19, despite officers’ initial objections to the scheme, hgh secured unanimous support and planning permission at Harrow Council Planning Committee.

Key Learnings

Achieving success at local council level calls for an awareness of the prevailing policy framework, legal precedents, the wider political agenda and the more close-up community issues.

Green Belt or Brown Belt, planning requires a judo-like agility to think ahead.


Image courtesy of John Pardey Architects


Richard Henley, Executive Director, hgh Consulting
[email protected]

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