Archive for February, 2015

Permission has been granted by Darlington Borough Council for the creation of a new children’s nursery and crèche in the town – one which is close to the Memorial Hospital and can, if necessary, provide childcare for 24 hours with its unique facilities on-site. The proposal, submitted by Prism Planning, sought to convert an old Edwardian villa in the town known as Upperthorpe. The site of Upperthorpe was once the town’s secretarial college and was more latterly used by the NHS and Social Services, before being bought by Mike Odysseas. The proposals provide for a range of day care options and unusually incorporate overnight sleepover facilities and also barrier nursing facilities for those occasional circumstances when a child may need to be kept in isolation for common childhood illnesses. Most childcare facilities can’t cope with a child with common D&V type illnesses but these proposals can. The conversion of the existing building is now nearing completion and work will start shortly on extensions to the facility to improve the range of accommodation. A new application has also been submitted to the Council for a wonderful log play cabin to be sited in the front of the property to provide children with a unique opportunity for imaginary play. We hope that this application will be supported by the Council and further enhance the facilities at this most unusual site. Anyone wanting to register for places should contact www.upperthorpenursery.co.uk
A Lawful Development Certificate has been granted by Hambleton District Council relating to a farmhouse that was built more than 40 years ago and was originally subject to an agricultural occupancy condition. The farmer who occupied the property is sadly no longer with us and his executors were seeking the best manner in which to dispose of the property. The original occupancy condition severely restricted the open market value of the property and it was only by a chance remark that it became apparent that the property was never built in the position in which it was originally approved, having been re sited by the farmer without consent from the LPA, to take advantage of better views down the valley. Relying on up to date case law, Prism Planning were able to persuade the Planning Authority that the original consent had not been lawfully implemented and that as a result, the originally intended occupancy condition no longer had any legal “bite”. As the property had been built more than four years ago, the resultant building was free of the occupancy condition leaving the executors to market the property as an ordinary dwelling and obtain the full market price for it. This is a very unusual case and one that we don’t think is likely to feature commonly. However the case outlines that it is important to lawfully implement a planning permission in order for any conditions to practically take effect on a project. Where a development has not been lawfully implemented it may well be worth a discussion with Prism to see whether any practical advantage can be taken of such a situation.
Prism planning were successful in obtaining planning permission for a second agricultural dwelling on a mixed livestock and arable farm in Hambleton District. It was particularly pleasing to obtain planning permission first time around from the Local Planning Authority rather than having to go to appeal which is often the case on this type of development. It is always a challenge getting planning permission for any type of agricultural dwelling on a holding with Councils scrutinising proposals very carefully and generally unwilling to give any benefit of the doubt to an applicant. All too often cases get bogged down in acrimonious debate at appeal. In this instance, Prism were able to present a comprehensive and well argued case about the farm holdings need for two workers on site to provide back up and support for the holding and were able to demonstrate what can and did sometimes happen when just one worker was relied upon in an emergency situation. As a result, we were able to persuade the Council to grant planning permission for a second dwelling. The decision was even ‘sweeter’ being made just a few days after the government altered the rules on Section 106 contributions, with the farmer avoiding having to pay thousands of pounds in tariff costs which would have been due under the previous regime. Whilst we can’t guarantee that we will always be successful in these matters, we have now obtained planning permission for several agricultural and equine worker’s dwellings with a 100% success record to date and clearly know what we are doing with this type of proposal. Anybody facing particular pressures for care of livestock should talk to us before deciding whether a case can be successfully presented.
We were faced with an uphill struggle when our client’s application for the redevelopment of Upsall Grange, a brownfield site on the outskirts of Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough, to provide a small scale housing scheme of 8no. executive houses was recommended for refusal at Redcar & Cleveland’s Regulatory Committee on 19th February 2015. However, we were not prepared to give up without a fight. Our Director, Rod Hepplewhite, attended the Committee meeting and spoke in favour of the application. With carefully chosen words, he was able to convince councillors that there were sound material planning considerations why the officer recommendation for refusal should be over-turned and planning permission granted, the key points being: • Although the site lies outside of development limits it is a brownfield site. • The site presently gives rise to problems of anti-social behaviour to residents living nearby, problems which the development would resolve. • The officers had failed to consider the ‘fall-back’ position whereby, if the application was refused, the fire-damaged and vandalised former residential care home could be repaired and brought back into operation, a use that would generate more traffic than the proposed houses. After asking some searching questions and debating the benefits of the proposed housing, notwithstanding the location outside of development limits (a key concern of the Committee), the application went to the vote and by a healthy majority Councillors voted to approve the application. Suffice to say our clients, who attended the meeting, were delighted with the outcome. If you have a development in mind, no matter how difficult you think it might be, do not hesitate to contact Prism Planning. We like to think of ourselves as planning problem solvers. We’re here to help and will where we can. After all, as the saying goes: “it’s not over until the Fat Lady sings!”