Secure dog exercise area approved by Darlington Borough Council
Variety is the spice of life, or so the saying goes. While housing and housing related projects may be the bread and butter of a planning consultant’s working life, it’s always nice to deal with other subjects. Yes, we handle quite a few anaerobic digestion, equestrian and agricultural projects but when something entirely different comes along it makes for a pleasant change. And so it came to pass ….
Earlier this year our Director, Rod Hepplewhite, was approached by a new client who was interested in establishing a secure dog exercise area on a field just outside one of Darlington’s villages. Through her work with the Dog’s Trust she had become aware of a latent demand and need for a secure place where dog owners whose pets had special needs (such as being anxious when near other dogs or people or running off when let off the leash and not returning) could be exercised in a safe and secure environment. The nearest such exercise area to Darlington is in Thirsk, which has proved to very popular such that booking a time-slot isn’t always easy.
It was clear that the demand/need for the facility was there but the question was how would the local planning authority view such an unusual proposal. Rod advised the client that given the proposed location and the unusual nature of the proposal the submission of a pre-application inquiry to the Council would be a good idea. This proved to be the case as we were able to engage in positive discussions with the case officer, including a very useful site visit, at an early stage. We addressed issues raised, including providing a new entrance to the field from the country road, and answered all questions and were given a good steer on the preparation of the planning application. The same planning officer dealt with the planning application such that it proceeded to approval in a smooth manner, helped along by us providing an in-depth explanation of the background to the proposed dog exercise area, what it would entail and how it would be operated.
A combination of tactics and being open and honest helped win the day. The planning application submission included information above and beyond planning requirements but going that extra mile secured the planning permission for our client that she sought. That is what Prism Planning is all about, going that extra mile for our clients.
A family with three generations have been granted a Certificate of Lawfulness for Proposed Development to allow them to stay together on the same site and support each other, thanks to the work of Prism Planning.
The project has been a long running one, taking over a year to resolve, from start to finish but the wait was more than justified by the result, according to the family.
The case involved a complicated series of interwoven projects with the starting point being to establish the extent of the family garden by means of a Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing Development, legally defining the historic garden limits. This can be an important point for people living in rural locations where the differences between paddocks and gardens can be crucial.
Having carefully established the garden extent, Prism Planning then sought to convince the LPA of the legal ability to put up a log cabin in the garden which could provide accommodation for the 1st generation of the family whilst the 2nd and third generations lived in the main house. In this way, all the family are together on the same site, providing help and support for each other but with the necessary degree of independence and privacy. It’s a care model that looks increasingly attractive to many, recognising the difficulties of getting onto the housing ladder, the rising cost of residential care as well as the benefits of being able to care for your loved ones in a practical manner.
The project wasn’t straightforward, with the LPA doubting the legality of the approach. Prism had to work hard, citing relevant precedents and legal positions to convince the LPA that the position was one they could eventually support.
We expect this approach to be increasingly popular with families in the coming years but it isn’t to be entered into lightly. It requires a sensitive and careful approach. A badly made application might well be unrecoverable – so talk to us before embarking upon a project of this nature if you want to maximise your chances of success.
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.
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.
Hot food takeaway applications can be contentious and applications to extend open hours often more so but, as the saying goes, if you don’t ask you don’t get.
Our Director, Rod Hepplewhite, has just succeeded in obtaining a planning permission that varies the opening hours of a hot food takeaway in Jarrow to allow the business to open on Sundays. The shop had previously been allowed to open Mondays to Saturdays only.
Also, it became apparent during South Tyneside Council Council’s consideration of the application that some conditions attached to the original permission had not been properly discharged. Our client had bought the hot food takeaway premises recently and since planning permission runs with the land or property it fell upon him to resolve the breach in the planning conditions that the previous owner had overlooked. When this was brought to our attention we sought to resolve the breaches without delay.
Our prompt attention to issue over the undischarged planning conditions undoubtedly assisted in us gaining the permission to open on Sundays that our client sought. Wherever possible and in the best interests of our clients we seek to work with local planning authorities rather than against them. Sadly, it isn’t always possible but in this instance it was, much to the delight of our client.
Following the grant of his planning permission our client e-mailed to say “it is worth paying a bit more for a proper company to do this kind of work, I will keep your details for future business”.
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.
Some readers may recall that we reported back in March of this year our success at appeal in having the decision by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council to refuse outline planning permission for a development of 4 houses within the grounds of a care home in Redmarshall over-turned and permission granted.
We have now secured outline planning permission for the redevelopment of the care home itself to provide up to 6 houses. Although the application was submitted in outline with all matters reserved, the indicative layout showed the development being integrated with the previous permission for 4 houses.
The Council had previously resisted any further residential development within Redmarshall on the basis that they believed Redmarshall to be an unsustainable village. We had successfully argued at appeal, the Inspector accepting our arguments entirely, that their reasoning was flawed and that for a host of reasons the village should be regarded as a sustainable settlement where new housing development could be accommodated.
We were delighted that Stockton’s planners dealt with the second application much more favourably, granting permission under delegated powers in a timely fashion.
Our client will now advertise the entire site as a development opportunity for up to 10 houses.
If you have a housing development in mind and would like some professional planning consultancy assistance, whether or not sustainability might be an issue, we are only a phone call or an e-mail away.
Durham Planning Committee voted unanimously today to support the demolition of St Anne’s School, next to the cricket ground in Bishop Auckland. The scheme involves 18 new houses on the site. Prism Planning led the team that were behind the scheme which was described as a bitter-sweet moment by a member of the committee. Bitter because the town was losing an old building which had been part of the town heritage for many years but sweet because it was going to be replaced by a new set of quality buildings made from materials salvaged from the old structure.
The owner had bought the buildings after they were severely damaged by an arson attack. He wanted to convert the existing structure but this proved to be financially un-viable. The scheme approved had been carefully worked up by Prism and the design team over many months of close partnership working with the Council. It was supported by the local councillors, the Town Council and the local Cricket Club who abut the site.
It’s not very often that a planning committee commend you for a scheme that involves losing an old building in a Conservation Area but the fact that they did is testament to all of the hard work we put into the proving it was the only way forward, as well as having an excellent scheme to go back on the site.
Work can now start on relocating bats from the site, subject to the separate go-ahead from Natural England.
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.
Stockton Council have just decided to grant consent for a scheme submitted by Prism Planning which sought consent for 40 one and two bedroom apartments on a site in the centre of Ingleby Barwick.
Consent had previously been granted at appeal for a scheme on the same site that was restricted by a planning condition to only be occupied by the over 55’s. Because of the conditions imposed, the scheme was not attractive to the market and lending institutions during these challenging times.
Prism Planning presented an alternative scheme to the Council which provided for a mix of one and two bedroomed apartments for sale, based upon a different financial model and argued against the imposition of any restrictive occupancy condition. Accurate information on scheme build cost and viability was also submitted, to demonstrate to the authority that the scheme could not afford to contribute towards all the off-site affordable housing that the Council sought.
The scheme was passed by a majority vote on the planning committee, subject to a legal agreement relating to the transfer of land for public open space and a reduced commuted sum towards the provision of affordable housing elsewhere in the borough.
It is increasingly the case that viability assessments are becoming a key component of any planning application of significance and this scheme showed the value in presenting a clear business case to the planning authority. Without this, the scheme would have been subject to punitive costs that would have held the scheme back.
If you have a scheme where viability is an issue, talk to Prism to see whether we might be able to help.