Paragraph 145(d) of the National Planning Policy Framework allows the replacement of a building in the green belt provided the new building has the same use and is not materially larger than the one it replaces.

PINS recently refused an appeal to allow a chalet to be replaced with a new residential building arguing that because the chalet had been “abandoned” the proposed use was not the same as the previous use. 

The applicant submitted that the property had not been abandoned because “the walls and roof covering” were present and the property was still in use as a dwelling.

While it was accepted that the chalet had only ever been used as a dwelling, the inspector found, contrary to the applicant’s submission, that the chalet had not been in use for at least 20-30 years. 

This was evidenced by the fact the chalet had no kitchen or bathroom facilities and was not watertight with several holes in the timber. In addition, no council tax was being paid and there was no evidence that the applicant had provided any kind of maintenance to the property. That the walls and roof covering were present was not considered sufficient to show it was still “in use”. 

Safe to say that if you want to rely on the replacement building rule for green belt development, you’re going to need to start with more than a tumbledown shack with a sink in the corner!


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