All posts in Housing
Our clients had set up Stotfold Crest Rising Centre near Elwick, several years ago, under the expert guidance of Lesley Perry. Following a bad wrist fracture which hasn’t properly healed, Lesley decided she needed to take more of a backseat role and hand over the reins (!) to her daughter, Anne Marie, a top level equestrian in her own right who has competed at international level and is without doubt an Olympic contender for Tokyo.
The proposal submitted to Hartlepool Council involved the construction of new, high quality stables, a horse walker and a new house for Anne Marie and her family, in accordance with currently applicable case law on the subject which was cited at length to the Council.
Despite warm support from the Parish Council, who could see the benefits to the area in having Anne Marie set up her base in the north east, officers from the Council decided to ignore relevant case law and refused permission, arguing it was contrary to the Local Plan.
A hearing was held into the case in August, and the Planning Inspectors decision allowing the scheme was made public last week. In her appeal decision, the independent inspector noted that the humanitarian principles embodied in the High Court cases cited by Prism in support of the application were relevant to the case and should have been taken on board more fully by the Council. She was also critical of the Councils attempts to remove permitted rights from the proposed new dwelling and restored those rights, along with the main permission.
Prism are naturally delighted with the outcome.
Over the 10 years we have been in existence, we have fought several key battles over equestrian development -the most recent case being the promotion of an all weather international show jumping arena in the Green Belt at Gateshead for Philippa Curry, a former UK Show jumping Coach of the Year. Philippa’s proposals were due to be rejected by officers but following a committee speech by Steve Barker of Prism, members of the planning committee voted to approve her application.
Have an equestrian project or issue -we can probably help -and have a track record to prove it.
At Prism Planning we aim to limit our Clients costs. Having investigated the possibility of gaining permission and the potential costs of a full application we recommended a pre-application submission to establish the Councils likely response. The Council’s comments were mostly encouraging though there was some confusion of how much an existing LDC would benefit an application.
Having discussed options and recommendations with the Client an application was made which resulted in a refusal partly on car journeys and partly on design. Whilst a redesign can be the fastest resolution to overcome design issues, we could not convince the Council there would be no further traffic impacts on a site which clearly already had a residential use. However, to reduce reasons for appeal we resubmitted the application (there are no planning fees to pay on re submissions) reducing the scale and changing the siting of the proposals. This was also refused.
At appeal we successfully demonstrated that the weight accorded to an LDC should be greater than the Council had given. The traffic impacts would be no greater than was present for the existing caravan, our redesign was suitable for the location and the site already had a domestic appearance. As a result, replacing the caravan with a dwelling was acceptable and the Inspector allowed our appeal. Whilst each application is judged on its own merits this decision sets a new precedent for replacement dwellings, giving a clear indication that a replacing a caravan with a dwelling is possible where an LDC has allowed the caravan.
If you are in a position where you are seeking a building to replace a caravan or seeking an LDC we may be able to help. Whilst these are complicated in nature we value our high success rate so will tell you simply what your chances of success would be.
The proposals were brought forward in 2014, when Tunstall Homes proposed a detailed masterplan, including a new distributor road, local centre, primary school, amenity open space and structure planting. The scheme was one of the largest in the North East and required an Environmental Impact Assessment under current European legislation.
The original masterplan included provision of 2,000 new homes, but following the two-stage public consultation by Results Communications Ltd, and continual dialogue between the client, Tunstall Homes, and Prism Planning with Hartlepool Borough Council, the planning application was submitted for consideration the same year.
Rod Hepplewhite, one of the directors of Prism Planning, which operates nationwide, said the approved application represents the changes in market conditions, and the benefits of adopting a considered approach through early engagement with stakeholders.
“The application, accompanied by a detailed masterplan, originally sought permission for 2,000 homes on a larger area of land but as the towns housing needs reduced, so did the scheme.
“As might be expected of a development of this size and on a greenfield site on the edge of town, the application raised a number of issues, not least the scale of development proposed and proposed access arrangements. We have been working closely with the client and stakeholders to ensure that what was proposed will be of benefit to Hartlepool, as well as the surrounding area.”
The approved scheme will lead to a variety of much needed improvements to the A19, helping to close off a number of dangerous junctions, as well as leading to the start of Hartlepool’s western by-pass, which will significantly help traffic flows across the town.
Hartlepool Borough Council’s Planning Committee resolved to accept the officer recommendation for approval of the planning application for land south of Elwick Road in High Tunstall.
The scheme represents a new record for Prism Planning, which deals with applications for small, one-off developments as well as large masterplanned, multi-use developments.
The proposal was designed to not only meet the housing demand in Hartlepool but to provide community facilities for residents expected to move into the new homes.
Prism is wrapping up 2017 in style with success in the hotly debated new prior notification procedure just introduced, relating to industrial buildings being converted to residential use.
Our case involved a site where an appeal for conversion of a workshop had been rejected by the Council and Planning Inspectorate earlier in the year, solely on peculiar and bizarre grounds of sustainability. The new right seemed to cut straight across the previous concerns and we just had to try it out for the client!
Having been one of the first practices in the UK to submit this Prior Notification we were aware of the potential challenge ahead and difference in interpretation that the Council might have, particularly having regard to the sites background. However, experience of the Prior Notification procedure and sound interpretation of rules assisted the application. A robust statement was created showing how the site was suitable for conversion.
Prism was initially commissioned to fight an appeal for conversion of the workshop building which was dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate for the unusual reason that the business occupying the building could potentially continue at the site, resulting in a net gain in traffic movements. However, no other buildings were available for this to occur and in any event planning permission would be required for this. The lack of rigour in the dismissal seemed to be challengeable. We were actually in discussions about a possible legal challenge to the appeal decision -but the new right came along in the interim and offered a potentially cheaper and quicker way to get to the same end point.
The final result was a tribute to the clients stamina and our determination. If at first you don’t succeed…..dig in a find another way around the problem!
If you have a building that is in industrial use and may convert to residential use, please ask for a professional view from the experts at Prism.
Happy Christmas to one and all, from us all at Prism.
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.
Prism recently succeeded in gaining planning approval for a 3m high fence with a 1m high trellis. In this case, the property backed onto a footpath and the existing 5m high bushes boundary were dying from loss of light. The Client already had privacy issues to the rear of their garden as it was significantly lower in height than the footpath.
National rules (Permitted Development Order) on development allow a fence of up to 2m without permission. Building a 2m fence would result in views into our Clients property and reduced privacy compared with the existing receding hedge. So, a planning application was required.
Discussions were held with Darlington Council to ensure the best possible outcome for our Client and we were able to agree on a height. This meant the Clients garden could be screened and also that the council would approve the application, avoiding a potentially expensive, risky and time consuming appeal.
Whilst a small project for us at Prism, we will work on projects we believe have a high chance of success regardless of scale. We also understand the need for privacy particularly as we come into the summer with people using their gardens.
If you are in a similar position or are having issues with a council at this scale, please contact Prism Planning for advice.
Prism Planning had worked with the Council prior to the submission of the application to get the principle agreed with officers, smoothing the passage of the eventual application. Although this proposal was contrary to the Local Plan, being outside the defined limits to development, the Council have very pragmatically introduced flexible approaches to the delivery of housing in sustainable areas. In this respect, Hambleton are leading the way and responding positively to the current hosing crisis in this respect at least.
Our client will now look to dispose of the site so any interested parties looking to acquire a small site in the area should contact Prism Planning.
At face value, you may have thought the application would sail through: a development of social housing on a brownfield site within the urban area, a residential area at that, and the brownfield part of the site was Council owned and was to be sold to our clients subject to planning permission being granted. How wrong you would have been.
The application, was recommended for approval at the meeting of 3rd January. However, the application faced stiff opposition from local residents and a Ward Councillor who attended the meeting and spoke against the application. At this point it was looking likely that the application would be refused. Thankfully, our Director, Rod Hepplewhite, also attended the meeting to speak in support of the application and was able to address the issues raised by the objectors. The Committee then decided to defer a decision to allow for the issues raised to be fully explored before the application was reported back to them.
Revisions were subsequently made to the proposals and additional information was provided, which addressed all of the issues that had been raised. When the application was reported back to Committee, again with a recommendation for approval, the objectors spoke again as did our Director, Rod Hepplewhite. He was able to advise that all issues previously raised had now been addressed, as evidenced by the officer report and the recommendation that that the proposed development be approved. In this instance the Planning Committee accepted our argument and by a significant majority voted in favour of granting planning permission. Our clients and the architect for the scheme http://www.bsbaarchitects.com who also attended the meeting were delighted with the outcome.
We have dealt with many applications for residential development of various forms. We have built up a good level of expertise on the subject and recognise that no two developments are the same and have learnt to be prepared for the unexpected. Notably, just because and application is recommended for approval doesn’t necessarily mean that the Planning Committee will grant planning permission. You should be represented at the Planning Committee meeting as we are aware of cases where only objectors speak and in the absence of the applicant being represented Planning Committee refuses planning permission. A subsequent planning appeal may succeed but that adds additional expense to the project as well as a significant time delay, both of which could have been avoided.
The property had been marketed to prove there were no suitable occupiers in the area. We had carried out the minimum period required for marketing and written a strong application thoroughly demonstrating the condition was not required. We worked with a surveyor ensuring that the property was marketed correctly, including setting out a price agreed by the LPA. We also scrutinised offers coming forward from interested parties to ensure they were from lawful applicants who would meet the condition.
After submission we discussed the application with the Case Officer and ensured everything was on track. We used our expertise in agricultural conditions and searching appeal precedents to clarify to the LPA the definition of agriculture. Prism Planning attended Planning Committee and spoke in favour of the application advocating for removal of condition to be approved. Care was taken to point out material facts of the case and demonstrate the collaborative nature with the LPA.
The results were that Hartlepool Planning Committee unanimously agreed with the officer recommendation and the application was approved. We worked closely with the Client ensuring the case put forward was an accurate representation of the local history. If you are looking at a removing a condition and seeking expert guidance please feel free to contact us, Prism Planning prides itself on its successes, consequently we only progress cases we believe have a strong chance of success so we will be open and honest about your chances.
Prism argued that the officer recommendation was flawed and flew directly in the face of the emerging Neighbourhood Plan which sought to protect such spaces. It was pointed out that such plans were in the process of being accorded significantly higher status by the government and this particular plan had already passed its inquiry and simply awaited the referendum.
Prism spoke on behalf of Great Aycliffe Town Council who we had assisted with the preparation of the plan.
After hearing Steve Barker, Managing Director of Prism Planning speak, the committee agreed unanimously that the scheme should not be allowed to go ahead.
It’s not an easy task to persuade a Planning Committee to go against their officers and its very rare for it to be supported by all the members. The Town Council are delighted with the result and see it as a victory for Neighbourhood Planning, something we are all going to become very familiar with the coming years following the Neighbourhood Planning Bill passing into law this spring.
Prism were happy to be of assistance.