News & Blog

An exciting leisure-based regeneration project that will benefit Middlesbrough and the wider Tees Valley has taken its first step through the submission of a planning application to Middlesbrough Council. Prism Planning has submitted a planning application on behalf of Cool Runnings (NE) Ltd for the development of 2.87 hectares of land at Middlehaven Dock to provide a snow and leisure centre. Although the application is submitted is outline, seeking only the Council’s agreement to the development in principle at this stage, the application submission includes indicative and illustrative plans and drawings showing what the development is expected to look like. The key elements of the proposed development will comprise two ski slopes, a nursery slope for beginners and tuition and a main slope for more accomplished skiers. A range of complimentary leisure uses are also proposed including an ice-climbing wall, a ‘skydive’ arena, climbing wall, soft play area and trampolines together with café and restaurant facilities and related of retail facilities. The size and shape of the building is such that it can only sit along the northern edge of the dock. The presence of the listed clock tower to the north-west corner led to the decision that the low point of the building should be at the west end of the site. The high point of the building (corresponding to the top of the ski slope) is at the east end of the site, such that the building will appear to rise to meet the scale of the adjacent Temenos art installation. The sloping form generates a dynamic space which will allow the creation of a variety of dynamic single and double height interior spaces with natural light into and views out of the building. Prism Planning acted as planning consultant and project manager in the preparation and submission of the planning application, working hand-in-hand with our clients to ensure that all other consultants who assisted in the preparation of the planning application met client requirements and timescales. We liaised with officers of Middlesbrough Council during the preparation of the planning application and their constructive advice was much appreciated. It is hoped that the application will be approved within the 3-month target time frame, i.e. by mid-October.
Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council recently published their new Draft Local Plan, which sets out the proposed long-term strategy for the Borough. Public consultation began on 27th June and the Council is inviting comments on the document until Monday 8th August, when the consultation period ends. The Draft Local Plan sets out a vision for how Redcar and Cleveland will be developed up to the year 2032. It explores proposals around housing, employment, retail and town centres, natural and built environment, and transport. The Council hopes that the new Local Plan will provide a blueprint for successful and thoroughly planned growth that will boost the economy in Redcar and Cleveland, create new training opportunities, skills and jobs, and deliver the new homes and employment land needed to support economic growth. Following the conclusion of the public consultation exercise, the Council will review comments received and make modifications to the document that it considers are warranted and necessary before publishing the ‘Publication Draft’ of the Local Plan (anticipated date November 2016) for further consultation and comment before submitting the Local Plan to the Secretary of State for examination by a government appointed independent Planning Inspector. Presently, the final adoption of the examination Local Plan is programmed for sometime March-August 2017 with adoption following later in the year, presuming that the Inspector’s report concludes favourably. Prism Planning would be happy to assist you in making representations on your behalf to Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council. As always, we are only a phone call or an e-mail away.
Some readers may recall that we reported back in March of this year our success at appeal in having the decision by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council to refuse outline planning permission for a development of 4 houses within the grounds of a care home in Redmarshall over-turned and permission granted. We have now secured outline planning permission for the redevelopment of the care home itself to provide up to 6 houses. Although the application was submitted in outline with all matters reserved, the indicative layout showed the development being integrated with the previous permission for 4 houses. The Council had previously resisted any further residential development within Redmarshall on the basis that they believed Redmarshall to be an unsustainable village. We had successfully argued at appeal, the Inspector accepting our arguments entirely, that their reasoning was flawed and that for a host of reasons the village should be regarded as a sustainable settlement where new housing development could be accommodated. We were delighted that Stockton’s planners dealt with the second application much more favourably, granting permission under delegated powers in a timely fashion. Our client will now advertise the entire site as a development opportunity for up to 10 houses. If you have a housing development in mind and would like some professional planning consultancy assistance, whether or not sustainability might be an issue, we are only a phone call or an e-mail away.
Durham Planning Committee voted unanimously today to support the demolition of St Anne’s School, next to the cricket ground in Bishop Auckland. The scheme involves 18 new houses on the site. Prism Planning led the team that were behind the scheme which was described as a bitter-sweet moment by a member of the committee. Bitter because the town was losing an old building which had been part of the town heritage for many years but sweet because it was going to be replaced by a new set of quality buildings made from materials salvaged from the old structure. The owner had bought the buildings after they were severely damaged by an arson attack. He wanted to convert the existing structure but this proved to be financially un-viable. The scheme approved had been carefully worked up by Prism and the design team over many months of close partnership working with the Council. It was supported by the local councillors, the Town Council and the local Cricket Club who abut the site. It’s not very often that a planning committee commend you for a scheme that involves losing an old building in a Conservation Area but the fact that they did is testament to all of the hard work we put into the proving it was the only way forward, as well as having an excellent scheme to go back on the site. Work can now start on relocating bats from the site, subject to the separate go-ahead from Natural England.
The first consultation on the new Darlington Local Plan has begun with the publication of a ‘Strategic Issues and Scoping Paper’. Between 15th June and 15 August 2016, the Council is inviting comments on what the scope of the new Local Plan should be, and the planning issues it should address. The ‘Strategic Issues and Scoping Paper’sets out the Council’s starting point for developing new planning policies and developing the framework from which decisions will be made on the draft allocations for the Local Plan. This consultation also includes a ‘call for sites’, to identify sites within the Borough that may have potential for development to meet identified needs over the next 20 years, including land for housing, retail, commercial and community development and infrastructure. Comments and suggestions of site for development must be made no later 15th August 2016. An event for land owners, developers and agents proposing sites for housing is to be held on 20th July 2016, although to be invited to the meeting submissions must be made no later than 12th July 2016. Prism Planning would be happy to assist you in making representations on your behalf to Darlington Borough Council. As always, we are only a phone call or an e-mail away from you.
Hot food takeaway applications can be contentious and applications to extend open hours more so. Applications become more difficult when the planning history of the premises is one of the original application being refused by the Council but allowed on appeal and then subsequent applications to allow opening on Sundays and Bank Holidays (prohibited by the condition imposed by the planning appeal decision) being refused and the refusal upheld at appeal. That was the scenario we faced but with a carefully presented case we were able to convince the planning officer to recommend that the permitted opening hours be extended to allow opening on Sundays and Bank Holidays. First hurdle successfully negotiated but due to the number of objections received the application was reported to Stockton’s Planning Committee yesterday afternoon (15th June). Rod Hepplewhite of Prism Planning attended the meeting and spoke in support of the application, advising the Committee that national planning policy, as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework of 2012, had shifted significantly with the government advising that greater emphasis should be placed on economic considerations. He further advised that since the previous decisions pre-dated the NPPF, they could and should be set aside and there was good reason to approve the application. Members of the Planning Committee clearly listened carefully to the case put forward by Prism Planning and the Council’s planning officer as to why extended opening hours should be allowed in this instance and approved the application unanimously apart from one abstention. Another success achieved for a client by Prism Planning through a carefully prepared and present case. Indeed, we at Prism Planning see ourselves as the North East’s planning problem solvers. A successful outcome is not always possible but when presented with a proposal we will give an honest summation of the prospects of success we foresee. If you think we could assist you with a planning issue, we’re only a phone call or an e-mail away.
Members of Stockton Planning Committee voted almost unanimously to approve proposals for a new leisure country club with swimming pool to be built on the outskirts of Yarm. The scheme was promoted by Prism Planning and had been with the Council as an outline application for nearly a year. Protracted debates and negotiations had taken place over how the site would be accessed. Stamina and perseverance have been key skills honed during the prolonged consideration of this scheme. Clearly it all paid off as members supported the scheme, subject to a S106 agreement addressing the means of access. The key challenges for the team involved integrating access arrangements with other nearby commercial proposals that might, or might not, get developed and which laid outside of the control of the applicant. The planning system does not address such uncertainties very effectively as the year long debate testifies but the positive result for the client was well worth it in the end. The new club will provide a full size 25m swimming pool, a fitness suite and spar, as well as a series of exercise rooms for dance classes. The facility will also incorporate a café and a restaurant, to be operated by the same winning team that have delivered the Hudson Quay Brasserie in Middlehaven Docks at Middlesbrough. Outside a new vineyard and market garden will supply the restaurant with much of its fruit, vegetables and importantly, its wine! The vineyard will be the most northerly vineyard in the Country, to the best of our knowledge. The next stage of the proposals will see a reserved matter application worked up, based upon the concepts set out in the outline submission. Prism would like to particularly thank Fore Consulting (www.foreconsulting.co.uk) for all their in depth highway support during the consideration of the proposals, as well as the eye catching designs from Summerhouse Architects (www.summerhouse.uk.net) which helped sell the scheme most convincingly at planning committee. And that wasn’t the only success for Prism Planning at Stockton’s Planning Committee yesterday – see the next blog for further updates on our prowess with hot food takeaways!
Northumberland Local Plan – Public Consultations (15th June to 27th July 2016): 1. Core Strategy Pre-Submission Draft – Proposed Major Modifications 2. Renewable Energy SPD – Scoping Document Major modifications to a number of the policies and the supporting text in the emerging Core Strategy have been proposed by the County Council before it is submitted for examination by an independent Planning Inspector. The proposed modifications seek to address a range of issues raised during the consultation on the Pre-Submission Draft that was held in October and November 2015. The proposed major modifications include: a relaxation of the Hexham Green Belt; a change to safeguarded and proposed new employment sites in the Morpeth area; changes to proposed employment allocations near to Newcastle Airport, in Cramlington, in Ashington, in Alnwick and changes to the allocation at the former Alcan plant and the Blyth Estuary Strategic Employment Area allocation; a review of the future development potential of Ponteland; and a revision to the policy for onshore wind energy to ensure it is consistent with the tests set out in the Written Ministerial Statement of June 2015 and the National Planning Policy Framework. These major modifications are subject to consultation from 15th June 2016 to 27th July 2016. Comments must to be received by the County Council’s Planning Policy Team by 4pm on 27th July 2016. Over the same period the County Council are seeking comments on the Renewable Energy SPD Scoping Document. This document has been prepared in advance of the Renewable Energy Supplementary Planning Document that the County Council is going to prepare to provide further detail on the planning policies for renewable energy in the emerging Northumberland Local Plan Core Strategy. The Scoping Document sets out the Council’s initial views on the scope and content of the proposed SPD and is seeking feedback prior to preparing a draft SPD for consultation. Prism Planning would be happy to assist you in making representations against either of the documents referred to above. As always, we are only a phone call or an e-mail away from you.

Since the new General Permitted Development Order was published in April 2015 there has been a number of areas that have been open to interpretation by councils, leading to appeals and new guidance published by the Planning Guidance Suite as clarification. Such occurrences increase costs and timeframes for clients.

One such issue is the matter of repairs and internal alterations made to a barn and if they would be considered to be new structural elements of the building. The barn in question had a recent new internal wall (part of room used for lambing) which would become external once existing parts of the barn were demolished. We expertly navigated this complex issue gaining permission for our Client for the conversion of a barn to a dwelling.

We argued that this wall should not fall outside of permitted development as the works had already been carried out under the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act as part of maintenance, improvement or other alteration. Our argument was successful resulting in an early approval ahead of the usual 56 day window.

Prism Planning has considerable experience with Prior Notifications with a strong success rate under the Class Q conversions. If you are planning a barn conversion and think that you might have an issue or need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact use for an initial informal discussion on the subject.

Not content with having just seen the Housing & Planning Bill being passed into law (Royal Assent gained on 12th May), the Government announced more changes to world of town and country planning. The Queen’s speech this morning has announced legislation “to ensure Britain has the infrastructure that businesses need to grow”, a key element of which will be a Neighbourhood Planning & Infrastructure Bill. The Government hopes that the Bill will curtail councils’ ability to attach planning conditions which delay development. The Government has previously expressed concerns that some councils misuse conditions in an attempt to halt or delay developments from proceeding. The Bill will prevent councils from attaching pre-commencement conditions to planning permissions other than when absolutely necessary. The same Bill will aim to provide a fillip to the neighbourhood planning system, making the neighbourhood plans more easy to review and update and requiring planning authorities to support neighbourhood forums. It is also intended to reform the compulsory purchase regime. Planning, a world of constant change at present!