All posts tagged agricultural

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.
The Government have just issued new guidance on the conversion of redundant agricultural buildings that have made the process of getting consent a whole lot easier. In theory the conversion of barns has been something that the government has been supporting, having introduced new permitted development rights to allow it in April 2014. Although the rules appear to be straightforward, practical experience of their implementation has been mixed with a number of Councils trying to evade implementing the rules as the government has intended. A number of cases have also fallen at appeal with Inspectors taking an extreme interpretation of the rules and refusing to allow conversions for isolated buildings. The problems have been highlighted recently by the Country Landowners Association who drew the government’s attention to the way that the rules have been blatantly misinterpreted by resistant Councils. Today the government have responded issuing a swathe of guidance that should make exercising the new rules an easier and more straightforward task. Cynics may view it as blatant electioneering. This may well be the case but if it makes the task of getting barns converted, then we at Prism will welcome the changes. We have managed to obtain permission to convert a number of barns to dwellings and not all of the buildings have been old historic structures. It is an area of planning law we know quite well so if you have a potential project why not get in touch?
Durham Planning Committee agreed to grant permission for another Anaerobic Digestion plant at the site of a dairy farm outside Sedgefield. The scheme will deliver 500kw of electricity into the national grid, processing the waste manure from the 600+ dairy herd on the site. The scheme was supported by officers who, at our instigation, had visited other AD schemes promoted by Prism already in operation. These visits had proved that the feared noise and odour, cited by residents as reasons to refuse the scheme, was simply not in evidence. Interestingly, during the debate in the Council Chamber, reference was made to the AD scheme at High Hedley, also submitted to the Council by Prism some years before and initially opposed by the Council. The Council’s decision was overturned at appeal and Prism got a full award of costs against the Council. The member who led the opposition to that scheme had recently passed by the site and advised the committee that it was a good scheme and he was wrong to have initially opposed it! This scheme is the 12thAD scheme that Prism have successfully obtained planning permission for, establishing ourselves as the market leaders in promoting this type of specialist renewable energy. We have several applications running with various local authorities across the country and hope to continue our success record of partnering with JFS and Associates to deliver green electricity and gas.
A Lawful Development Certificate has been granted by Hambleton District Council relating to a farmhouse that was built more than 40 years ago and was originally subject to an agricultural occupancy condition. The farmer who occupied the property is sadly no longer with us and his executors were seeking the best manner in which to dispose of the property. The original occupancy condition severely restricted the open market value of the property and it was only by a chance remark that it became apparent that the property was never built in the position in which it was originally approved, having been re sited by the farmer without consent from the LPA, to take advantage of better views down the valley. Relying on up to date case law, Prism Planning were able to persuade the Planning Authority that the original consent had not been lawfully implemented and that as a result, the originally intended occupancy condition no longer had any legal “bite”. As the property had been built more than four years ago, the resultant building was free of the occupancy condition leaving the executors to market the property as an ordinary dwelling and obtain the full market price for it. This is a very unusual case and one that we don’t think is likely to feature commonly. However the case outlines that it is important to lawfully implement a planning permission in order for any conditions to practically take effect on a project. Where a development has not been lawfully implemented it may well be worth a discussion with Prism to see whether any practical advantage can be taken of such a situation.
Prism planning were successful in obtaining planning permission for a second agricultural dwelling on a mixed livestock and arable farm in Hambleton District. It was particularly pleasing to obtain planning permission first time around from the Local Planning Authority rather than having to go to appeal which is often the case on this type of development. It is always a challenge getting planning permission for any type of agricultural dwelling on a holding with Councils scrutinising proposals very carefully and generally unwilling to give any benefit of the doubt to an applicant. All too often cases get bogged down in acrimonious debate at appeal. In this instance, Prism were able to present a comprehensive and well argued case about the farm holdings need for two workers on site to provide back up and support for the holding and were able to demonstrate what can and did sometimes happen when just one worker was relied upon in an emergency situation. As a result, we were able to persuade the Council to grant planning permission for a second dwelling. The decision was even ‘sweeter’ being made just a few days after the government altered the rules on Section 106 contributions, with the farmer avoiding having to pay thousands of pounds in tariff costs which would have been due under the previous regime. Whilst we can’t guarantee that we will always be successful in these matters, we have now obtained planning permission for several agricultural and equine worker’s dwellings with a 100% success record to date and clearly know what we are doing with this type of proposal. Anybody facing particular pressures for care of livestock should talk to us before deciding whether a case can be successfully presented.
Prism have just won permission at appeal for a farmhouse to help a well established farming family continue their business through into the third generation. The case involved a mixed use arable and sheep farm with a growing line in breeding heavy horse hunters at Town Farm, Stillington. With around 500 sheep already on the farm and a developing equine business we were confident that there was a robust case to pursue. However the Council weren’t so sure and employed a national firm of experts to help them assess the case. The Council’s advisors seemingly hadn’t read too much of the National Planning Policy Framework and wrongly advised the Council on a range of key matters. At the ensuing appeal, the Inspector found that both the Council and their experts had wrongly applied national tests in their assessment, being unduly pessimistic as to the labour needs of the holding and critically, had tried to disaggregate the various parts of the farming business. This was a fundamentally wrong approach and Prism’s approach was found to have been correct. The case marks our third appeal win in a row for our specialist agricultural work and has established us as one of the regions leading expert practitioners in this field. Coincidentally it was also our third win in a row for equine related work and shows that it’s not always a good idea to take advice from some of the national firms whose specialist knowledge is not quite so robust when it really matters.