All posts in Appeals

Prism have just been successful in getting planning permission, at appeal, for a new livery worker’s dwelling at an established livery yard in Maltby, Stockton on Tees.

The appeal followed what was initially a case of non-determination, in which the Council had ‘dithered’ for many weeks over the application deadline.  In exasperation, Prism eventually appealed after the Council had taken more than twice as long to formulate its view.  After the appeal was lodged, the Council then made up its mind and decided it should have supported the case.

However, although the Council approved the revised application submitted by Prism, they imposed so many conditions that were unnecessary that Prism advised the clients that the Council’s conduct was unreasonable. The appeal therefore continued.  The Planning Inspector stated that not only should the council have approved the original application, they should have given a simple approval with minimal conditions when they did eventually do the right thing. That they didn’t was patently unreasonable. The Inspector then went on to take the unusual step of awarding our clients all of their costs back from pursuing the original appeal.

Without lodging the appeal, it is doubtful whether the Council would ever have reached the right decision and the ruling confirmed that Prism’s original assessment of the situation was absolutely correct. It was the 4th such similar decision in this particular Council area and one of many similar wins that Prism has had for this type of case across the north of England.
 
When you need advice on equine planning matters, Prism have the demonstrable experience and proven track record to give sound advice with positive results.
A County Durham couple are celebrating success with Prism Planning having just won permission at appeal for an extension to their house.

The couple had bought an established terraced property in one of Durham’s many conservation areas. They wanted to extend and improve the property with a single story rear extension that allowed the house to be completely remodelled and brought up to 21c standards, with a new kitchen and dining area.

The scheme was refused by the Council because of concerns over the impact on the neighbours. As the extension was on the north side of the building, its impacts were much more limited, in Prism’s view, than the Council’s concerns warranted. We took the unusual step of commissioning a full assessment of the impacts of the scheme, using a BRE special assessment tool which allowed for the impacts to be objectively measured.

Having visited the site and looked at the assessment, the Inspector agreed with Prism’s approach and granted permission for the extension.

BRE daylight assessments are not routinely used in all cases but this appeal shows that they can give rise to significant positive results when properly used by specialists.
A long running saga relating to housebuilding in Ingleby Barwick has been brought to an end today with a government appointed planning Inspector allowing the development of 200 homes on farm land at Ingleby Barwick, close to the controversial new Free School.

Darlington based Prism Planning represented the landowner and farmer of the land, Ian Snowdon at a public inquiry in March of this year and it has taken the Planning Inspector nearly 9 months to decide that the scheme was acceptable. The inspector found for the appellant on all counts, noting “The social and economic benefits of the new housing would be very significant indeed and would make an important contribution to the Borough’s housing supply. The scheme would include a useful and much needed contribution to the stock of affordable housing in Stockton-on-Tees.”

He went on to note that “The site forms part of a wide area south of Ingleby Barwick as far as Low Lane that is being comprehensively redeveloped to provide much needed housing and other facilities. The appeal result comes at a time when there is a significant national focus on the need for new houses to be built with significant concerns that not enough housing is being built. A new Housing white paper is promised by the government just next month.

Responding to the decision, Steve Barker of Prism Planning, who gave evidence at the inquiry said; “Stockton have recognised that they haven’t been able to demonstrate a 5 year housing supply for some time now and the debates over development in this corner of Ingleby have used up a lot of time and resources for landowners and the Council alike. I hope that now this final decision has been made all parties can start to move forward positively and work in partnership to make things happen on the ground. A lot of time has been spent arguing when we could have been focusing on improving the area and meeting our housing and leisure needs.” It is likely that a detailed application for reserved matters will now be submitted to the Council in 2017.
Prism Planning are celebrating two important new wins at appeal, following an Inspector’s ruling that converting two separate outbuildings, one a garage and one a barn to provide two new dwellings is sustainable development. The buildings in question were a former barn and a new garage associated with a large farmhouse in Cowpen Bewley. The scheme required full planning permission rather than prior notification, in part because the main house on the site is listed. Despite being refused, both sites were within the limits to development. Although the Council were in housing shortfall, they had previously refused consent for the two conversions because they decided the village was not a sustainable location for new housing. At an informal hearing in June, Prism, assisted by David Hardy of Squire Patton Boggs, had argued before an Inspector that the Council’s approach to sustainability was too narrow and failed to look at the range of services and employment opportunities around the village, both in Billingham and the nearby Industrial Estate. The Inspector agreed, finding both schemes to be of good design, sympathetic to the character of the area and in sustainable locations. The Inspector accepted that people in such locations were likely to have a degree of reliance upon private cars but clearly felt that sustainability was a wider concept than just about how people get their weekly shopping back from the supermarket! It’s a very good win for the applicant and Prism Planning and a vindication of our approach and hard work. Our satisfaction at the positive outcome is however tinged with a note of regret that we had to have the matter considered at appeal in the first place when the case for approval was so overwhelmingly positive, as the Inspector recognised.
We recently succeeded in winning an appeal against the non-determination of an application that had been submitted to Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council for a small residential development within the grounds of a care home at Redmarshall. We had been advised by the case officer that it was likely that the application would be refused on the grounds that the proposed site is in an unsustainable location for additional residential development, in view of the settlement having limited services and provisions, thereby requiring occupants to travel for employment, education, retail and recreational uses. To save time for our client we submitted the appeal ahead of waiting for the Council to refuse planning permission. Prism Planning had been engaged to project manage the planning application and sought to work constructively with officers of the Council for what was acknowledged to be a proposal that the Council would be unlikely to welcome with open arms. Having worked with planning officers for a considerable period of time, revising plans to accord with officer advice/requests, it was galling to see the application heading towards being refused for an ‘in principle’ reason. Furthermore, we had submitted a comprehensive argument why the proposal should be accepted as constituting sustainable development. We also argued that due to their proximity, Redmarshall and the nearby village of Carlton, should be considered as one settlement when determining planning applications (Stockton regard Carlton as a sustainable settlement). It became clear that the planning officer had a closed mind to our arguments and therefore submitting the appeal was the only sensible option. It was pleasing to read in the decision from The Planning Inspectorate that the Inspector accepted the strength of our case, to the extent that he agreed with us on every relevant planning issue. In particular, he agreed with us that Redmarshall and Carlton should be considered as a single entity for planning purposes. He also agreed that the Council’s Villages Study (Planning the Future or Rural Villages in Stockton, 2014) should only be afforded very limited weight in his decision as it is not an adopted planning document, having been prepared as part of the evidence base for the Council’s Regeneration & Environment Local Plan, itself not yet adopted. Another factor in the decision was that the Council cannot demonstrate a 5-year housing land supply, as required by central government, and the proposed development would make an important, albeit limited, contribution towards meeting the deficit. We might not win every planning appeal, and wouldn’t expect to, but we have a good feel on the prospects of success when clients seek our assistance to contest a refusal of planning permission and can advise accordingly. If you have been refused planning permission recently and would like to discuss how best to proceed, we are only a phone call or an e-mail away.
Prism and their client are celebrating after winning an appeal against an enforcement notice issued by Stockton Borough Council, which tried to reverse works our client had carried out to stabilise his garden next to the River Tees. Our client had laid out a series of terraces in his garden area that sloped down to the River Tees. A number of other residents had carried out similar works in their garden area over the years but for some strange reason, our client’s activities attracted the attention of the Council who served an enforcement notice on him, requiring removal and reversal of the stabilisation works. On our client’s behalf, we had argued that the works were in keeping with the character of the area and didn’t contravene the Council’s policies. We argued the need for consistency in decision making and that our client should not be treated differently to other local residents whose works had gone unchallenged. In allowing the appeal, the Inspector advised: “My conclusion on this issue is that the development does not materially harm either the character or the appearance of the surrounding area, and does not conflict with relevant Council policies or The Framework.” The decision highlights several points. Firstly, as homeowners, the planning system does not give an unfettered right to carry out large scale landscaping schemes. Anyone considering using a digger in their garden should consider carefully whether the works proposed will require the benefit of planning permission. The legal position can be quite confusing and it is usually better to seek expert advice from specialists such as Prism, rather than run the risk of action from the Council. As a result of this decision, Councils do however have to think very carefully before rushing ahead with enforcement actions that try to dictate how an individual can layout and use their private garden area. Clearly opposition from nearby residents, on its own, is not going to be a sound barometer against whether to take action or not. Prism are delighted to have won the case and would be pleased to advise anyone else considering a similar situation. A separate application for an award of costs is still being considered by the Planning Inspectorate and a decision on this is expected shortly.
After a long drawn out process, which took over 18 months and involved the submission of two applications, planning permission being refused against officer recommendation and the submission of a planning appeal contesting the refusal of planning permission by Durham County Council, we were delighted to secure planning permission for a small-scale, Architect-designed housing development at Cotherstone in Teesdale for clients. Prism Planning had been engaged to project manage the planning applications and sought to work constructively with officers of the Council for what was acknowledged to be a slightly controversial proposal on a sensitive site within Cotherstone Conservation Area. Having worked with planning officers for a considerable period of time, withdrawing one application and then revising plans for the second application to accord with officer advice/requests, it was galling to see the application refused by majority vote at Planning Committee for reasons that flew in the face of the advice and recommendation set out in the officer report. However, it was pleasing to read in the decision from The Planning Inspectorate that “every cloud has a silver lining”, as the saying goes. We were we able to convince the Inspector of the strength of our case, to the extent that he agreed with us on every relevant planning issue, which is always pleasing. Not only that, however, he also agreed with us that owing to changes to national planning policy earlier this year, whereby there is no requirement for residential developments of 10 units or less to provide affordable housing, the granting of planning permission would not require the payment of a financial contribution towards off-site affordable housing, as had been offered in good faith by our clients through a S106 planning obligation that was included within the appeal submission. Such a financial contribution would have been paid to Durham County Council had they approved the application in September 2014, as different rules applied at that time. In short, by refusing to grant planning permission the County Council has lost out to the tune of just under £49,000 and our clients have saved themselves a tidy sum of money. We might not win every planning appeal, and wouldn’t expect to, but we have a good feel on the prospects of success when clients seek our assistance to contest a refusal of planning permission and can advise accordingly. If you have been refused planning permission recently and would like to discuss how best to proceed, we are only a phone call or an e-mail away.
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.
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.
A Government Planning Inspector has agreed with Prism for the second time regarding a scheme for providing log cabins on a site at Easby, near to Richmond. The Inspector overturned the decision of Richmondshire District Council to allow development on the site for a limited period of time and instead gave a full planning permission for three years to enable the development to progress. This was the second time that Prism had been forced to go to the Planning Inspectorate to overturn the decision of the Local Planning Authority on this site. Initially permission was refused by the Council for the development and granted at appeal in 2010. Due to the complexities of the site and the uncertain economic situation in the intervening period, we sought to use new provisions to extend the life of the planning permission for a further three year period. Most applications of this nature are routinely renewed unless there has been a change in circumstances. The Council decided to only grant planning permission for a twelve month period and gave confusing and unclear reasons why this would be appropriate. At appeal, the Planning Inspector noted that the Council’s reasoning was flawed and fully agreed with all of the points raised by Prism on behalf of our client. In particular, the Inspector noted that the Government intend to give clear support for developments which help to improve the rural economy and that the scheme was and always had been of a particularly high design and well thought out. Because of these points, he had no hesitation in granting permission for a full three year period which will enable the scheme to progress. This is an important decision to have as it underlines the Government’s expectations that permissions will be renewed for a full three year period whenever there has been no change in circumstances and reaffirms the Government’s continued support for the rural economy. This is the second application that we have had approved this week relating to the rural economy – see next blog for a holiday cottage approval in Aislaby close to Yarm.