All posts in Rural

Prism Planning had a good day at Hambleton Planning Committee yesterday, having gained planning permission for 3 new bungalows on a parcel of land at Tanton, just outside Stokesley. The site was outside the limits to development but officers accepted that the site had good access to the nearby market town of Stokelsey, was on a frequent bus route and was therefore in a sustainable location. The scheme proposed 3 new bungalows, in keeping with the surrounding development and members welcomed this type of housing which is much needed in the district.

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.
The last two months have been interesting ones for Prism and their equestrian clients with two interesting cases coming to a head in very different cases but both being horse related.

In the first case, clients had received an enforcement notice requiring them to remove their two horses and stables from their garden. The LPA had decided that ‘Elvis’ and ‘Sparkplug’, two lovely moorland cobs, represented unauthorised development by changing the use of the original garden. In fact the horses occupied less than half the garden and only then over the winter period. During the summer they grazed fields away from the home. The Council argued they caused smells, flies, attracted vermin and caused a loss of privacy to the neighbours, some of whom objected to the horses looking over the boundary fence. Comparisons were made by the LPA to the famous shark emerging from the roof of the house in Oxford, as well as the man who erected a model of a Spitfire in his back garden. We contended that neither of these bizarre examples were remotely comparable with our situation.

Thankfully the inspector agreed and granted permission for the horse to stay, as well as their stable block, leaving two very happy horses owners. The case highlights how matters can escalate when LPA’s get complaints about unauthorised development and show why it is important that good, knowledgeable advice is obtained at the earliest possible opportunity.

The second case, also horse related was equally bizarre but for very different reasons. Our client and his wife are running a successful and well established livery yard, despite being in their 80’s and with one of them being registered disabled! They have decided that at their time of life they want to ease up a little and employ a manager to do the heavy and antisocial work, including chasing after escaped horses at 3am! A planning application was lodged for replacement managers accommodation, something we have done on several occasions for clients. The case was supported by specialist Equine Vets and the BHS.

Many weeks after the statutory determination date and with several promised deadlines from the Council missed, in frustration we appealed against non-determination and asked for a hearing. At the same time we also re-submitted the same planning application back to the LPA to allow them to try to reach a decision on it with more time. This resulted in a speedy approval – something which the LPA cold and should have done first time around. However the LPA imposed a whole series of conditions on their decision, preventing all possible future expansion or improvement to the property. Accordingly the appeal is still progressing albeit now just relating to what conditions should, or should not be imposed in these type of situations.

This second case has also given rise to a claim for costs – clearly the LPA could and should have approved the initial application in a timely manner, as they proved by supporting the second application when the appeal focused their minds!

Sadly, as cuts to services in local government planning departments continue to ‘bite’, we are all probably going to have to get used to poorer levels of service and situations like this might become all too common. It remains to be seen whether LPA’s will find new ways to work in such climates or continue to cling to established and out of date practices.

Anyone with an equine related problem will appreciate from the above examples that we know a thing or two about horses and the planning system – and an initial chat about how we might be able to help is free, wherever you are in the country.
Approval was recently granted at planning committee in Hartlepool for a former workers dwelling to have its agricultural occupancy condition removed. This was the last stage of a careful application process which Prism Planning has great experience of.

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.
Obtaining planning permission for an equestrian worker’s dwelling on a site outside of development limits and in the open countryside is often fraught with difficulties and the consideration of the application by the local planning authority can be a lengthy process.

It therefore gave our Director, Rod Hepplewhite, great delight in advising his clients that their application for their dwelling on land next to their stables on a site just to the west of Easingwold in Hambleton District had been approved with little difficulty and, more importantly form their point of view, within the 8 week target period.

Due to a marital break-up our client had had to relocate his business, based on the schooling and training of horses together with breeding of ponies, to a temporary site elsewhere in the district while he found a permanent site. We first obtained permission for the stables on the 9¼ acres (3.75 hectares) site as this was the most pressing need before tackling the more challenging application for the dwelling for our client and his new partner (both employed in the equestrian business).

Under normal circumstances, when an equestrian business is first established on a site, local planning authorities will only allow residential accommodation in the form of a static caravan or mobile home and for a limited period of three years. They normally also require a lot of supporting information regarding the operation of the equestrian business.

In this instance the local planning authority accepted our argument that they were looking at the relocation of an existing business rather than the establishment of an entirely new business and granted permission for our clients’ dwelling without the need for the usual supporting information. The dwelling was proposed in the form of a ‘Country Home’ bungalow, a type of mobile home, which may have assisted in us obtaining planning permission for our clients but it was still the end result our clients were hoping for and we were delighted with the swift positive outcome for them.

We have now dealt with numerous applications for equestrian and agricultural worker’s dwellings together with associated applications for stables and farm buildings and have built up a good level of expertise on the subjects. We are always happy to help clients with such proposals.

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.

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!
Horse owning clients of Prism will be celebrating today after a local planning authority granted permission for a private ménage area on farmland adjacent to their house in North Yorkshire. The Council imposed conditions preventing any commercial use and unusually required an archaeological evaluation of the site before works commenced. This is not a normal requirement of most developments and was imposed because of the possibility of finding remains on the site from a historic settlement long since abandoned. It’s very pleasing to have got the development through without any delay or prolonged debate about the need for the development and confirms Prism’s specialism in successfully undertaking equestrian related projects. Previous projects have involved riding stables, commercial ménage as well as private ménage, domestic stabling and specialist worker’s accommodation.
A special meeting of Ryedale Planning Committee last night approved a planning application Prism Planning submitted to improve the efficiency of the Anaerobic Digestion plant under construction at Sand Hutton to enable it to inject additional biogas into the local network. There was strong local interest in the application, following the recent successful appeal submitted by Prism and this resulted in a special meeting being convened, solely to consider this proposal. Following the initial appeal, technical work carried out with the network operator established a greater capacity in the local gas network than previously established. The approved plant would be able to bridge the gap with only a modest increase in the feedstock going in. By a majority vote, the committee accepted the officer’s recommendation to support the scheme, despite concerns being expressed by some local residents. The application we presented clearly put forward the argument that our client was entitled to grow the extra crop on the farm and that there would be no increase in smell or noises as a result of the proposal. The crop would not need to go onto the local highway network so there were no traffic implications. It’s slightly bizarre that some local residents remained implacably opposed to the idea of generating renewable energy on their doorstep and some very misleading allegations about the possible impacts of the development were put forward in an effort to try to mislead the planning committee. Fortunately, the submission we had put forward clearly highlighted the proper planning considerations and the planning committee, after due deliberation, gave consent for the amendment.
A farmer is celebrating success by working with Prism following a successful application for converting a barn which had a strange twist at the end. Earlier this year the government introduced new rights to convert barns to dwellings without needing planning permission, subject to certain constraints and limitations. One of these concerned the need to formally undertake a consultation process with the LPA. In theory this allowed the Authority to say no in very exceptional circumstances, but only if they did so within a prescribed time limit. These rights have not been welcomed by many planning authorities, causing the Government to have to issue new guidance encouraging authorities to stop blocking acceptable proposals so frequently. In our client’s case, the LPA tried to block the proposals simply because they considered the proposed garden area too large but failed to issue their notice within the prescribed period. Following further representations by Prism the LPA concerned now accept their ‘refusal’ was ill founded and more importantly was issued out of time in any event, meaning the farmer is able to proceed with his scheme as he wished. The name of the unfortunate Planning Authority will not be published to save embarrassed faces! Anyone considering the conversion of an agricultural building should consider the benefit of specialist advice from companies such as Prism who have a clear track record of success in this specialist area.
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.