All posts tagged sustainable
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.
For those who aren’t quite sure what this involves, farmyard manure along with grass silage and other organic matters is placed in a sealed vessel and allowed to ferment away under controlled conditions. This produces methane which can be used to fuel a generator producing electricity and hot water. After supplying the farms energy needs any spare electricity can be exported back to the Grid and earn the farmer an income. The heat from the generator can usually be used to good advantage –in this case helping to reduce costs in the on-site milk bottling plant. Other uses include warming stock buildings or heating glasshouses to produce cash crops. Once fermented the resultant product, known as ‘digestate’ can be spread upon the land. Its more useful for plant growth and a lot safer than ordinary slurry and has hardly any smell! AD isn’t a new concept and has been used on the continent for many years and the technology is proven. What is different about this project is that it is based upon the farm and uses manure and other crops produced on the farm. This means that there are no transport costs or off site implications for the local road network. From many peoples perspectives it is a lot more attractive than more wind turbines going up in the countryside.
We are delighted to have provided the planning support to such a great idea proposal. The new NPPF places a great deal of emphasis upon such sustainable forms of renewable energy generation.
Because the country isn’t yet very familiar with AD as a general concept, there is a steep learning curve with the detailed issues involved. Our clients, newly established , JFS based at Stokesley have however provided all of the answers and look set to make their mark upon the future of farming. Already there are two other similar projects at the pipeline that JFS have worked upon and farm based AD looks to have major potential for farmers who have livestock units. If it brings and end to the distinctive smells of slurry spreading, it will also get widespread support from the general public as well! If you’re interested in the potential of AD or want to know more about the issues, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
The team here at Prism have successfully secured planning permission for a new development of sustainable retirement care at Middleton Hall, County Durham.
This decision came yesterday and paves the way for an innovative 26 bedroom Dementia care unit and 35, two bedroom independent living bungalows to be built on the existing site. Not only are the new facilities believed to be the first of their kind, the 35 independent living bungalows will be built to Code Level 6 of The Code for Sustainable Homes. This means they’ve reached the ultimate goal of being carbon neutral!
The Dementia Care Facility will comprise of offices, a therapy room, activity kitchen, shop, library, bakery and central café. This will be linked to the residential wings via a sheltered Winter garden with a glass roof, so that the residents can enjoy the outdoors in all seasons. The caretakers lodge will be replaced and modernised and the main Hall will gain a new entrance with the entire development being aesthetically in keeping with the original Georgian manor house.
We were delighted to get this decision and very happy to work with Middleton Hall, who have an excellent record for retirement care in the North East. The new sustainable Dementia care unit is a vital addition to the existing facilities considering the Department of Health’s warning back in 2006, that Dementia figures are set to increase by a quarter of a million between 2008 and 2025.
With sustainability a key focus in all future development, our planning team worked closely with the Architects to reach the Holy Grail that is the carbon neutral target. All aspects of the new care facility will utilise solar power and recycled ‘grey’ water for appliances such as washing machines. Residents will be encouraged to monitor energy usage and recycle at all opportunities and triple glazing will ensure energy is not wasted through loss of heat. During the construction process local materials will be sourced and the construction teams will reduce their use of landfill sites and waste.
To get this decision means a great boost for sustainable developments and proves that you can achieve the ultimate standard in energy efficiency and create carbon neutral homes. It also means 60 new jobs will be brought to the care industry in the North East, 30 Full Time and 30 Part Time, giving the economy a boost.
All round a pretty good day in the Prism office!
In allowing two planning appeals a Planning Inspector has placed significant importance upon the Ministerial Statement of March 2011, ‘Planning for Growth’, which says that the planning system has a key role in ensuring that the sustainable development needed to support economic growth is able to proceed as easily as possible and that the promotion of sustainable economic growth and jobs has to be a top priority. Councils have been urged to have full regard of this statement in their consideration of planning applications.
We recently (20th June 2011) won appeals against two decisions by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council to refuse planning permission for the change of use of a vacant former shop premises within Redcar town centre to either a betting shop or a café restaurant. The Council was concerned that the loss of a shop premises within the “prime shopping area” of the town centre to a non-retail use would harm the vitality and viability of the town centre.
We successfully argued against the Council’s concerns, the Planning Inspector fully endorsing our arguments that neither of the proposed uses of the premises would materially erode the vitality or the retail character of the prime shopping area or the town centre as a whole.
More significantly, however, the Planning Inspector took full note of the Ministerial statement, ‘Planning for Growth’, and the Government’s clear expectation that the answer to development and growth should wherever possible be ‘yes’, except where this would compromise the key sustainable development principles set out in national planning policy. The Inspector accepted our argument that the Ministerial Statement provided significant “in principle” support to the appeals and that they will meet the aim of promoting sustainable economic growth and jobs.