Archive for October, 2014

A Planning Inspector has issued a key appeal decision supporting our arguments that a Council policy, restricting development outside village limits was both out of date and had been mis-applied. Allowing an appeal submitted by Prism for a single bungalow, a Planning Inspector recognised that even single dwellings made an important contribution to overall housing numbers and the Council were wrong to dismiss the development as being of no consequence to their housing shortfall. The Inspector also agreed with Prism’s arguments that the Council were wrong to describe the site as being in the open countryside, just because it was technically outside the limits to development drafted by the Council many years ago. He also accepted Prism’s arguments that the character of the site meant that a bungalow would not appear intrusive as a form of development. The appeal was an important win for Prism and has established some key principles that will hopefully adjust the way in which new development is thought of. At a time when the Government are still placing a great deal of emphasis upon building more homes, it is reassuring to see well supported and argued cases getting through the system, even if they do have to go to appeal.
Prism Planning and a Darlington based farmer are celebrating after obtaining consent for the conversion of a range of his buildings to provide three new dwellings. The case was notable because it involved the use of the Government’s new Permitted Development rights that allow for up to three dwellings to be created through conversion without the need for full planning permission. Prism submitted one of the first new ‘Prior Notifications’ to the Council, using the new rights established by the government earlier this year. The application was very different to the normal form of a planning permission and still requires important information to be put in front of the Council. However if the application is properly submitted, the Council are obliged to accept the principle of the development, regardless of the age or appearance of the original donor building. The new rights are considered very generous by some and have been opposed by a number of pressure groups determined to prevent new development from taking place in the countryside. However at a time when many farmers are despairing over the poor prices of grain, the new rights might provide a much needed lifeline.
Residents of the village of Hunwick are celebrating after a planning Inspector dismissed an appeal for a proposed specialist care home in the centre of the village. Prism Planning had advised the local residents. It is the second time villagers have had cause to celebrate as Prism also helped the same residents overturn the original officer recommendation to approve the development. Steve Barker of Prism Planning originally addressed Durham’s Planning Committee on behalf of the residents and persuaded all of the Planning Committee that the scheme should be refused because of the impact of the scheme on the quality of village life. The Committee’s decision was subsequently taken to appeal. The residents now hope that this is an effective end to the matter and normal village life can be resumed. The case was notable for its focus on the fear of crime and antisocial behaviour in a tight knit community. With Prism’s assistance, the village was able to persuade the Inspector that care homes had given rise to identified increases in crime and antisocial behaviour in other areas and that as a consequence the villager’s fears were founded upon a credible position. The impact of this on community cohesion was found to be unacceptable. The decision sends out a very clear message about taking realistic community fears into account when considering the long term impacts of such developments.