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At their meeting of 21st February 2017, Sunderland’s Development Control (Sunderland South) Sub-Committee voted by a significant majority in favour of our client’s development of a part brownfield site within the urban area for a residential development comprising affordable housing, low cost housing and supported housing for people with learning difficulties.

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.
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.
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.
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!
There is a new, ambitious project coming to Middleborough! A proposal for a Snow Dome in Middlehaven has been put forward by Cool Runnings North East Ltd to create a large, exciting snow and leisure centre. The Snow Dome will include restaurants, cafes, a trampoline park and indoor sky dive centre, to name just a few amazing facilities for the area. Something new for the North East! This exciting new project will be ready for public consultation on Thursday 6th August and Prism Planning is proud and excited to announce their involvement with the proposed application and are keen to meet those with an interest in the proposal at the consultation. The proposal is an ambitious one with a great number of positive outcomes for all involved and Prism are delighted to be involved in a project which can offer so much in terms of benefits. Prism and their team of highly qualified Planners will be heavily involved as the project moves forward and will keep all those interested in the project informed as it progresses. The project will cost around £30 million and will be a huge boost for the economy of Middleborough, therefore Prism Planning are excited and eager to press on with the project. The project will help with employment prospects in the area and attract new tourism. The Snow Dome will be a great attraction to both Middleborough and the North East as a whole. A Snow Dome and the proposed facilities that will complement the ski slopes are an exciting new area of leisure. Keep watching our website for updates on this exciting new project. Anyone wishing to attend the public consultation event can come along to MIMA, Centre Square, The Mall, Middlesbrough, TS1 2AZ between 12noon and 7pm on Thursday 6th August. Alternatively, comments can be made by visiting www.coolrunningsne.co.uk.
Prism Planning were engaged to co-ordinate the preparation and submission of a planning application to Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council for the conversion of a vacant pub, The Layfield Arms in Yarm, to a Co-op convenience shop. Planning permission is not required for the change of use of a pub to a shop and so the application only referred to minor cosmetic changes to the exterior of the building and to alterations to the access road and the car park. Nonetheless, the application proved to be quite controversial, generating 110 letters of objection together with a petition, an objection from Yarm Town Council and a Parliamentary candidate in the forthcoming general election! Thankfully, the Council’s planning officers recommended that planning permission be granted. However, knowing that officer recommendations can be over-turned, our Director, Rod Hepplewhite, attended the Committee meeting and spoke in support of the application and the officer recommendation. This proved to be the correct approach since an objector spoke against the proposal and made a number of points that were then picked up by Councillors. Whilst some were answered by the planning officer, Rod was asked to answer others more pertinent to our client’s future intentions. With carefully chosen words, he was able to assuage Councillors’ concerns and they went on to vote in favour of the officer recommendation and planning permission was granted. Another success for Prism Planning and suffice to say our clients were delighted with the outcome. Would the application have been approved if we had not spoken at the Committee meeting? We’ll never know but it’s better safe than sorry.
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
Public Consultation starts this week for a proposed Country Club to serve the Yarm Area. For anyone interested it will run from 12.00 noon until 6.45 pm on Thursday 21st August at the Fellowship Hall in Yarm, opposite High Church Wynd. The meeting is open to any members of the public and members of the development team will be on hand throughout the day to help out. The development will involve:- A new 25m swimming pool for Yarm Spa facilities Health and fitness facilities A restaurant All set in a contemporary and highly imaginative building which sits in with the landscape and takes advantage of the spectacular views over the Leven Valley. Despite the recent article that’s appeared in the Evening Gazette, it’s not a night club or concert hall but a place where you can get fit, get pampered and get a really nice meal with produce grown from the market garden that’s going to be established around the Club. When the vines on the south facing hill slope have started to produce their grapes, you might even be able to have a bottle of Yarm’s first home-produced Claret. The facility will be funded privately and won’t involve any subsidy from the public purse. Come along and have a look at the proposals at the exhibition. The plans will also be available on http://www.resultscommunications.co.uk/consultations.aspx but only after the consultation has taken place, to encourage as many people as possible to come along.
Port Clarence Biomass and Prism Planning are celebrating today after Stockton Council granted planning permission for a new 49 MW power station on land close to the northern side of the Transporter Bridge at Port Clarence which will burn waste wood. This is great news for Stockton and Teesside and Prism are pleased to have been able to help with this important project. At a time when the security of gas supplies from Russia is very much in the media spotlight after recent events it is great to see that Stockton is helping to deliver practical alternatives. The work required to get this permission in place has been done in a record time and it’s a tribute to the whole team who have worked so well with Stockton Council’s members and officers to iron out all the issues and get the permission in place. From day one of the project we have also worked alongside the financiers of the project and we believe this scheme will come forward rapidly on the site. The lack of objection to the scheme meant that the final decision was made by officers at Stockton but Councillors and the MP had followed the debate closely and supported the proposals. The applicants have built a number of similar power stations around the UK and have a track record of delivery. They have committed to seek to use local labour and suppliers in the project which is excellent news for the Tees Valley as the capital cost of the scheme is estimated to be around £160 million.