Contemporary Extension in the Green Belt and AONB

We put together a compelling case using facts and figures to deliver approved planning permission for a basement extension at a contemporary home on Greenbelt land.

Contemporary Home Planning Permission on Greenbelt Land

The Brief

We were approached by an architect to provide planning advice for an extension in the Green Belt and AONB. The site was positioned within Mole Valley, the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and an Area of Great Landscape Value and related to a two-storey dwelling on a significant parcel of land.

The property had a long history of attempted planning applications. In 2016, an application was submitted for the erection of a single storey front and rear extension and first floor extension. Whilst no concerns were raised regarding the impact of the extension on the AONB or its design approach, the Planning Officer considered the bulk and form of the proposals to be disproportionate to the original building. The LPA considered that the proposal would be an inappropriate form of development within the Green Belt.

Following the refusal of the application, an appeal was lodged, and this was also dismissed. In assessing the appeal, the Inspector identified that an assessment of the form and scale and massing of the proposal needs to be considered, in addition to arithmetical calculations. In this regard, the Inspector considered that the proposed building was significantly larger than original building and would be an inappropriate form of development within the Green Belt.

Subsequently, the scale of the extension was reduced, but again the Local Planning Authority provided negative pre-application advice. We were therefore instructed to help the clients fulfil their dream of a contemporary high-quality new home. To ensure that an appropriate, well designed extension was proposed, we provided expert planning and design advice, as well as considering the client’s aspirations in terms of the amount and kind of accommodation they wanted to achieve.

Our Solution

We examined appeal precedents and Court of Appeal Judgements regarding Green Belt policy, along with planning applications in Mole Valley to help support our case. These were outlined within our comprehensive Planning Statement. We demonstrated that, in addition to the development’s accordance with the floor space restrictions, the proposed extensions would not add substantive bulk or mass to the building. The Statement demonstrated that there would be no harm to the Green Belt’s openness.

Project Success

Whilst the Local Planning Authority held concerns regarding the contemporary nature of the proposal, we demonstrated that the scale and design was appropriate and would not be disproportionate to the host building. Due to continued concerns during the application process, Atlas Planning Group pushed for the proposal to go to the Council’s Design Review Panel. At this panel, architects reviewed the scheme and provided advice to the Council as to the acceptability of the development. The Design Review Panel supported the scheme, complementing the architecture and the application was finally approved. After a six-year wait, the clients have finally got plans approved for their dream home!



Client: Private
LPA: Mole Valley District Council


Rebecca Smith
Principle Planner & Planning Manager

t: +44 (0)1722 638 008
Email Rebecca


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For more information on any of our services please call us on 01722 638 008 or email

For more information on any of our services please call us on 01722 638 008 or email