The Green Belt
Moor Park is tightly enveloped by land designated as Green Belt with parts of the estate within the Green Belt itself, including Temple Gardens, Askew Road, Sandy Lodge Lane and the Dell, the land and buildings at Northwood Preparatory School and Merchant Taylors’ School and the Moor Park and Sandy Lodge golf courses.
The application of Green Belt policy by Three Rivers District Council means that the ‘green belt buffer’ and the ‘attractive setting’ in and around Moor Park has been broadly maintained. The Company is supportive of the rigorous application of Green Belt policy to protect and preserve the attractive open and green setting within which the estate sits. Residents with properties in the Green Belt area who are considering property development should note that the Company will expect full observation of the overriding principles and purposes set out in national and local Green Belt policies and will strongly urge the local planning authorities and/or planning inspectors to follow the same policy.
Proposals for extensions and alterations to a building or a replacement building should not be disproportionate additions over and above the size of the original buildings. This is designed to prevent the incremental increase in the size of a building or dwelling every few years which, if left unchecked, would result in material and demonstrable harm to the open appearance of the Green Belt in the vicinity of Moor Park estate. Planning applications therefore need to identify the size of the original plot and buildings when seeking approval.
The Moor Park Estate has the status of a Conservation Area.
This has significant implications for planning applications made by residents, architects, developers and builders proposing property changes including demolitions, extensions, basements, roof and window changes, new gates, and proposals affecting fences and walls, trees and hedges.
Conservation Areas, defined by law, are: ‘areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance’. Moor Park matches this definition, historically built on land formerly owned by owners of Moor Park Mansion, and ‘with a special visual quality created by large houses situated on individual plots with high quality landscaping, open frontages, and low walls and hedges separating gardens from estate road verges, all features of the original design.
The Moor Park Conservation Area Appraisal (MPCAA) can be found here. It is formally approved by Three Rivers District Council in 2006, was accepted by the Secretary of State. Members should study the document carefully, noting the advice given on demolitions, constructions and permitted developments. Planning applications, when reviewed by Moor Park (1958) Limited and by Three Rivers District Council, take heed of the statement in the MPCAA that ‘proposals for development shall be judged for their effect on the character, appearance and special interest of the conservation area.’
Significant relevant sections of the MPCAA that planning proposers should be aware of are:
- Demolitions, roofs, plot coverage, building frontage widths and basements. The plot coverage maximum is 15% and the building frontage maximum width is 80%.
- Roof design and heights, the location and size of dormer windows, the extent of hard-surface areas, together with advice on front boundary walls, fences, gates and the protection of trees.
- The additional level of protection given to houses erected prior to 1958 which are described as making a ‘positive contribution’ to the character of the estate.
- Certain small extensions may be ‘permitted development’, not requiring planning permission. The Company would require a copy of your Certificate of Lawful Permitted Development for any small works not requiring planning permission.
- Permission should, however, be sought for any free-standing building (garden shed, greenhouse, etc.) in the grounds of a dwelling if it exceeds a volume of 10 cubic metres.
Developers should note that Moor Park (1958) Limited takes an active role in reviewing all applications and reports its comments and concerns to the Three Rivers Council planning office.