Archive for April, 2016

Stockton Council have just decided to grant consent for a scheme submitted by Prism Planning which sought consent for 40 one and two bedroom apartments on a site in the centre of Ingleby Barwick. Consent had previously been granted at appeal for a scheme on the same site that was restricted by a planning condition to only be occupied by the over 55’s. Because of the conditions imposed, the scheme was not attractive to the market and lending institutions during these challenging times. Prism Planning presented an alternative scheme to the Council which provided for a mix of one and two bedroomed apartments for sale, based upon a different financial model and argued against the imposition of any restrictive occupancy condition. Accurate information on scheme build cost and viability was also submitted, to demonstrate to the authority that the scheme could not afford to contribute towards all the off-site affordable housing that the Council sought. The scheme was passed by a majority vote on the planning committee, subject to a legal agreement relating to the transfer of land for public open space and a reduced commuted sum towards the provision of affordable housing elsewhere in the borough. It is increasingly the case that viability assessments are becoming a key component of any planning application of significance and this scheme showed the value in presenting a clear business case to the planning authority. Without this, the scheme would have been subject to punitive costs that would have held the scheme back. If you have a scheme where viability is an issue, talk to Prism to see whether we might be able to help.
Planning permission has just been granted by a local planning authority for a new house in the open countryside – without any form of occupancy condition. Normally such permissions would be viewed as being contrary to established national and local planning policies for the protection of the countryside. However in this instance our client already lived on the site in a caravan that had been on site for more than 10 years. Prism had already established the legality of this by obtaining a Certificate of Lawful Development or CLEUD. This certificate became a material consideration in the determination of a recent planning application for a new dwelling on the site. Prism Planning presented a comprehensive planning statement with the submission, supported by appeal precedents relating to how CLEUDs had been taken on board in similar situations around the country. As a result, the LPA were convinced the case was robust and granted planning permission for a permanent dwelling. A very nice outcome for the client and a successful win for Prism!
Prism Planning have just succeeded in getting a Certificate of Lawful Development relating to an occupancy condition attached to what was once a forestry workers house in Richmondshire. The effect of the Certificate allows the occupants to either live in the house without needing to comply with the condition or sell the house without new purchasers having to comply with the condition. It is a little unusual to encounter an occupancy condition which restricts those living in a property to be being ‘foresters’ but that’s just the problem we faced. When the original consent for the house was issued in the 1960’s, it supported an active timber yard where trees were cut into usable timber. The next generation of business owners decided not to cut up timber but instead to import pre-cut timber. This was used to build an array of products from fencing panels through to garden sheds. Somewhere along the way, the business stopped being a forestry enterprise and became a manufacturing business. No one appreciated this subtle but important change. As part of their retirement proposals the owners were looking at the prospect of selling the house but found its value much reduced by the condition. With Prism’s help, they were able to show the Council that as the business had evolved, the condition had been breached for a considerable amount of time and no longer served any purpose. The Council agreed and issued a Certificate of Lawful Development without any debate or concern. The case presented an unusual set of circumstances, not least of which was finding a useable microfiche reader in the area, but we were very pleased to be able to suggest an approach that worked for the client with the minimum outlay of time and expense and a wonderful end result. We wish our clients many happy years of retirement!