Critical distinction between hamlet and village

Being aware that para 145 of the NPPF states that “a local planning authority should regard the construction of new buildings as inappropriate in the Green Belt”, exceptions to this include, at para 145 e), “limited infilling in villages”. In a recent appeal (decided on 25 January 2019) against the refusal of planning permission for two houses amongst a group of 18 dwellings in Staffordshire, however, the main parties disputed whether the group was a village or a hamlet.

The Inspector explained that this had consequences in terms of whether the scheme accorded with Framework para 145 e). He noted that “the Oxford Dictionary defines a village as a group of houses and associated buildings, larger than a hamlet and smaller than a town, situated in a rural area. It defines a hamlet as a small settlement, generally one smaller than a village, and strictly (in Britain) one without a Church.”

The Inspector observed that while a church may have once existed in the group of dwellings, there was no church there now as it had been replaced by a dwelling. There were also no other associated buildings that would, in his judgement, mean that the group was anything more than a hamlet. He concluded that the proposals did not accord with the exception in Framework para 145 e).

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