All posts tagged policy
Even in these difficult times when town and district centres are seeing their trade contracting and an increased number of shop premises stand empty securing planning permission to bring an empty property back into commercial use is not always straight forward.
This was the challenge facing a client who had taken a lease on a vacant ground floor premises on Yarm High Street and converted it to an ice cream parlour, under the ‘Archers’ franchise, producing and selling delicious artisan ice cream. Our client had been unaware that planning permission would be required to use a former gents’ tailors shop as an ice cream parlour and had opened for business having spent a considerable sum of money in fitting out the ground floor premises and installing ice cream manufacturing equipment. He was shocked and concerned when informed by a planning officer that planning permission was required but was unlikely to be granted due to local planning policies seeking to retain shop premises and discouraging conversion to other uses, including an ice cream parlour.
Prism Planning were engaged to try and rescue the situation. It was noted that the premises had been vacant for a considerable period of times; that the ice cream parlour was operating as an ancillary use to the main retail business of Yarm High Street; that within a matter of months of opening the ice cream parlour had built up a loyal customer following; and that there was no other ice cream parlour with the High Street. Prism Planning suggested to the client that he should start a petition, asking customers for their support in calling on the Council to grant planning permission. The planning application was subsequently accompanied by a 910 name petition supporting the application. Support was also sought from Yarm Chamber of Trade, who subsequently wrote to the Council advising of their backing for the ice cream parlour.
Following submission of the planning application and following further discussions with the planners, Prism Planning were able to convince the Council that there were good grounds for granting planning permission notwithstanding the prevailing local planning policies that frowned upon the change of use of the former shop to an ice cream parlour. Our client is understandably delighted that planning permission has now been granted and that he can continue developing his business, which is showing every sign of going from strength to strength.
Here in the Tees Valley, Stockton and Redcar and Cleveland Councils are both seeking to increase their minimum standard of construction from Code 3 (present) to Code 4. Middlesbrough and Hartlepool have no such commitments at this time.
Although the cost of achieving higher levels of sustainability have been coming down, there is no getting away from the fact that building to higher levels of sustainability costs more money and the jump from Code 3 to Code 4 is not an easy one to make without careful consideration of renewable energy generation. Simply adding in more insulation into the structure at this level of the Code won’t achieve the transition from Code 3 to Code 4 –more draconian steps are called for.
For anyone thinking about carrying out new development in Stockton or Redcar areas in the coming months, if you want to minimise your build costs, you need to consider the above situation. We can help and advise and have an extensive network of contacts who can tell you the costs of incorporating different parts of the Code in your project. Your choices cover enhancing the ecological value of your project through rainwater harvesting and up to on site generation of renewable technologies. For anyone wanting to try to build to Code 3 rather than Code 4 in the areas affected, you don’t have very much time to secure permission and get started on site. Don’t delay, get in touch with us straightaway .
Since the beginning of the ‘Localism Agenda’ and the ‘Big Society’, Prism Planning has been advising clients large and small on the likely effect of the document. This concluding seminar will discuss what has changed since the draft was released in 2011, and what the transitional arrangements mean for development viability and approval of permissions.
Clients will be automatically invited to the event on the 10th of May, but if you want to come along, please drop us a line via the contact us form, and we will get in touch with further information.
Today has been a quiet day in the office, a time for reflection on the meaning of life and the National Planning Policy Framework that has just appeared yesterday. Yesterday we faced a barrage of phone calls from anxious clients wanting to know how they were affected by the new proposals and whether it really was the developers charter as some wilder parts of the media had suggested.
Mr A, who owns a field in the middle of nowhere in particular was most disappointed that he didn’t have his golden ticket for his new house but for other clients the position seems less clear.
On the one hand we are told that the guidance takes immediate effect and that decision makers should apply its principles straightaway. Yet buried in the back of the document, hidden in the annex is the statement that for 12months from the date of publication, decision makers may continue to give full weight to their old LDF policies, even when they conflict with the new NPPF, provided the ‘old’ policies stem from no later than 2004.
A number of us who have struggled with the absurdities of ‘One App’ validation requirements will perhaps take heart from the idea that validation lists should be frequently reviewed and that LPA’s should only request information that is relevant, necessary and material to the application. I wonder if that means I don’t have to procure the Air Quality Report sought for a proposed leisure development built just above the high tide mark up the coast from here?
I was pleased to see the continued reference to LPA’s looking for ‘solutions rather than problems’ and the continued emphasis on approval of sustainable developments wherever possible. However from past experience I shudder to think how we are going to get to grips with measuring and assessing sustainability.
There is interesting and positive clarity on the greater emphasis given to assessing viability and it is interesting to note the reference to mitigation taking into account the need for competitive returns to a willing landowner and willing developer. Now all we need to do is to work out how to use the HCA’s assessment tool and we have got it cracked!
I was also struck by the new definition of Veteran Tree defined because of its great age, size or condition. This got me thinking to the prospect of a Veteran Planner defined because of its age and circumference…..I certainly think I qualify on both fronts!
I’m sure that as I continue to plough through the guidance there will be more interesting nuggets of new information to delight and frustrate us in equal measure so I’ll keep you all posted with my thoughts.
Hartlepool Borough Council has published the last draft of its Core Strategy which will shape the future of planning in the Borough.
The Core Strategy sets out the main planning framework for the Borough for the next 15 years and has been drawn up following extensive public consultation over the past two years.
Consultation on the draft will run for the last time, from Monday 13th February to Monday 26th March. If you have any comments to make, or want to know more about the impact of the documents on you, get in touch with us today.
The headlines of the documents include:
- Allowing up to 5,400 new homes to be built over the next 15 years.
- Achieving this growth within the existing urban area as well as through a major new residential development to the south-west of the town and a smaller, limited area of new housing at Upper Warren.
- Earmarking Wynyard for further executive housing and prestigious business development and Elwick and Hart for small scale housing schemes.
- The creation of green spaces across the borough, including in Golden Flatts and in the new residential development in the south-west and the retention of the green areas which give a strategic gap between the town and Hart and Greatham.
- Promoting tourism and leisure developments, particularly at the marina, Seaton Carew and on the Headland.
- Policies to protect and enhance the town centre area and to support the creation of an innovation and skills quarter.
- Promoting the port, Oakesway Industrial Estate and the Southern Business Zone for business, recognising the town’s three new Enterprise Zones and safeguarding land for a new nuclear power station.
Following the conclusion of consultations, the draft Core Strategy will be examined at a public hearing by a Government Planning Inspector, ensuring that the document is realistic in its aims, the Inspector will also consider any comments made during the final consultation.