The operation of an Anaerobic Digestion plant has been varied by an Inspector at appeal, after he recognised that AD plants could be acceptable forms of countryside development in their own right that did not need to be tied operationally to a particular farm. Specifically, the Inspector stated in relation to policies in the Council’s new Local Plan that:
“these do not specifically preclude what is now being proposed, that is, a renewable energy scheme and an employment generating development that does not have a specific tie to a particular farming enterprise.”
These comments were made in relation to an appeal which sought to lift the conditions that tied an AD scheme to a particular group of farms that had supported the original scheme. Planning conditions were put in place at the time the plant was first built that prevented the plant from taking feedstock from other farms in the area of the plant.
On behalf of the appellants, Prism had challenged the current need for such restrictions, arguing that it was more important to ensure the plant could operate as flexibly as possible and that there was no longer any need to restrict the source of the feedstocks.
The Inspector agreed that the AD industry had moved on since the plant was first put forward and there was clear support for an efficient renewable energy sector in the National Planning Framework. The Inspector noted Prisms arguments about the nature of the feedstocks not changing as a result of the plants operators being free to source feedstock from wherever it might be available, noting that the costs of transport would naturally prevent it moving large distances by road.
He agreed that the Council’s concerns were overly cautious and restrictive and granted permission for the plant to operate independently, but using the same broad types of feedstock, sourced from wherever the operators wished to obtain it.
This decision is one of the first decisions to come through relating to what may now be regarded as a mature renewable energy sector and it will be of interest to a number of owners and operators of first-generation plants that were tied to a particular farm when they were built. Anyone in this position may well be able to benefit from this decision and here at Prism we would be pleased to talk to you.
An independent Planning Inspector has allowed an appeal relating to the creation of a garage for up to 4 cars on land to the rear of a three bedroomed property that already contained a large workshop in its curtilage.
Planning Law allows the erection of outbuildings for purposes that are ‘incidental to the enjoyment of the dwellinghouse’. In this case the Council had argued that the development wasn’t necessary as the workshop could be used for the applicant’s cars.
The Inspector noted that this wasn’t the correct legal approach and that the arguments advanced by Prism were the correct application of planning law. Accordingly he found that the Councils consent was not well founded and went on the grant the Certificate of Lawfulness of Proposed Development that had previously been applied for. A great Christmas present for the appellant!
Prism Planning were pleased to be able to support Technimark in their plans to expand their base in Middleton in Teesdale. Speaking at Durham’s Planning Committee, Rod Hepplewhite from Prism told members that the company, who make medical grade plastic injection moulded components for the medical, pharmaceutical and healthcare industry, was one of the area’s success stories. The company’s plans to expand their manufacturing and warehouse base in the village had attracted criticism from some residents who worried about noise from the factory interfering with their home life.
Rod explained to members how the factory would operate and the steps that had been taken to minimise noise and disturbance.
After a detailed question and answer session, members announced they were convinced by the answers received and voted to support the proposals, deciding that that the planning balance weighed in favour of the scheme put forward by Prism.
Detailed noise modelling had also formed part of the case and we were pleased to work alongside Apex Acoustics on this matter. We wish Steve and the Technimark team every success with their investment plans for the site.
Durham County Councillors, in a victory for common sense have just approved a planning application for the excavation of a basement and ponds as part of a barn conversion - against the advice of their planning officers.
Our client was in the process of converting a barn under the more commonly known ‘Class Q allowance’. Unfortunately for him, he had stepped over the line and carried out unauthorised development by seeking to excavate some wildlife ponds and, more importantly, had started to create a basement under the barn before realising this fell beyond the scope of his planning permission.
Despite demonstrable gains in biodiversity, the planning officer wanted his proposals refused. Members of the Council however took a contrary view after hearing an impassioned speech from Steve Barker of Prism Planning which challenged members to think about what harm would be caused by works that took place underground.
Whilst the policy may have suggested only refusal could flow from the unauthorised works, no harm was actually caused - and there was quite a benefit to wildlife from the ponds.
The application shows how dangerous life can become when you depart from approved plans - with refusal of everything a distinct possibility, followed by demolition of the barn as a consequence. However, our skilful advocacy and the common sense of the Councillors turned a potential nightmare into a day of jubilation - with a promise that he won’t depart from the plans again, having learnt his lesson!
Prism managed to secure planning permission for a new house for Olympic equestrian Nicola Wilson, at her Northallerton training base. The new house is a replacement for the existing dwelling on site and was substantially larger than the one it replaced.
Speaking at the Hambleton Planning Committee, Steve Barker pointed out to the committee that the new house had been specially designed around Nicola’s mobility requirements, following her riding accident at Badminton earlier this year. The new house was fully accessible in terms of all mobility standards and hugely energy efficient compared to the existing dwelling on site.
Officers had been concerned that the size of the proposed replacement dwelling was contrary to their new policy in the Local Plan, adopted earlier this year. However, the Councillors unanimously approved the application, recognising that the case put forward by Prism was clear and convincing.
Prism Planning are delighted to have successfully defended at client at appeal against an enforcement notice served by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, with the notice being quashed and planning permission being granted.
Our client had been operating a childcare business from a house in Ingleby Barwick, using both ground floor rooms of the house, the rear garden and a building in the rear garden erected under Class E(a) of Part 1 to Schedule 2 of the GPDO 2015 (a used for purposes incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling). The Council had not objected to the childcare business operating from the house or the rear garden but said that planning permission was required to use the building but would not be granted.
We appealed the enforcement notice under ground (c) that planning permission was not required and ground (a) that planning permission should be granted if the Inspector concluded that the use of the building for commercial childcare purposes was required.
The Inspector rejected the appellant’s claim that the building was permitted development under Class E(a) of Part 1 to Schedule 2 of the GPDO 2015. However, when considering the merits of the case, the Inspector concluded that planning permission should be granted, agreeing with us on every material planning issue argued. In this regard, the Inspector decided that the building did not harm the character of the area, that the use would not undermine the amenity of local residents and that the comings and goings of parents dropping off and picking up their children was unlikely to take very long, give rise to significant activity or cause unacceptable impact on highway safety.
Nonetheless and as had been agreed during the appeal process, the Inspector attached conditions limiting the business to care for a maximum of six children with no more than one member of staff in attendance at any one time and requiring the widening of the driveway at the front of the house so as to accommodate two cars in addition to the garage space.
We had submitted a planning application for the redevelopment of the site of a domestic garage and adjacent land at Carlton Miniott to provide a single two bedroomed bungalow. The application was making very slow progress and despite the case officer advising he wasn’t happy with the scheme the application remained undetermined. We were left with little choice other than to recommend to our client that he appeal against non-determination of the application.
We were very pleased, as was our client, when the appeal decision arrived and we read those all-important four words – “The appeal is allowed”.
Not only that, but the Planning Inspector agreed with us on every material planning issue. It doesn’t get much better than this. We saved our client time by submitting the appeal promptly instead of waiting for an eventual refusal of planning permission and then submitting the appeal.
It just goes to show, sometimes with the right professional advice it pays to be impatient.
Just before Easter 2022, as we were all grappling with the complexities of Biodiversity Net Gain and thinking matters couldn’t get more complicated, Natural England dropped something of a bomb shell on the development world in the Tees Valley by issuing a Direction that effectively prevents all new planning applications involving residential development of any scale from being approved.
The Directive is linked to the accumulation of nitrate in the Tees Estuary where we have populations of international importance for wading birds. Under the Directive, all Tees Valley Planning Authorities, parts of Durham, Richmondshire and Hambleton, all have to make sure they carry out an Appropriate Assessment under the Habitat Regulations which considers the nitrate produced by new development contributing towards the nitrate level in the Tees Estuary.
So far, Natural England have delivered a toolkit to help assess the amount of nitrate arising but there is complete silence on the practical measures they expect to see introduced on just how nitrate might be offset or mitigated.
We have already seen Planning Committees cancelled or reduced in scale as the Planning Authorities, who were not consulted on this issue, grapple with the problems of how they are going to ensure that new permissions are granted in a timely manner to meet the housing needs of those who live and work in the Tees Valley.
Few people would argue with the need to do everything reasonably possible to safeguard birdlife in the Estuary, but many would question whether the Directive could not have been introduced in a more gentle manner with a degree of lead up and discussions about just how mitigation might come forward. The present clumsy “stick” hasn’t been supported by an attractive “carrot” and many of the developers have already decided to boycott the Tees Valley for the time being, until this issue is more fully debated with mitigation delivered. No doubt the Tees Valley Mayor will be taking a lead role in helping to solve this apparent crisis facing us with immediate effect.
The Directive applies even to single dwellings, so many proposals will be impacted with immediate effect.
Prism will update its clients as and when the position of Natural England on mitigation is made more transparent.
The Environment Act, passed last year will introduce a requirement for all planning applications to have within them improvements to the biodiversity value of a site that will achieve a minimum 10% uplift. The new measures set out in the Act will come into effect at some point in 2023 – likely to be the Autumn according to the government.
Whilst the concept of Biodiversity Net Gain is one that all can support, delivering it in practice is far from straightforward and our ecological partners are already working hard on trying to establish just how this new all-encompassing measure to be delivered. We have, at the present time, a probable 12 month “grace period” in which schemes simply need to show a positive uplift in the site’s present condition, not the whole 10% that will be required from next year onwards. This has been confirmed by Planning Inspectors at appeal, but some Local Planning Authorities are already trying to apply the 10% uplift with immediate effect. This can be quite challenging in many instances and careful negotiation and explanations are required in order to strike the right approach for present conditions.
It does mean that in addition to Preliminary Ecological Appraisals, many of our clients are going to need Biodiversity Net Gain Baseline Assessments. It might also mean that any environmental improvements that you would be carrying out as a matter of course, might be better put on hold and used to offset any mitigation that might be required as part of a future planning application. You can’t count improvement measures you have already carried out, only ones that form part of the planning application package.
This is one of the most far-reaching changes to the planning system that we have had for some time and it is going to be quite difficult over the next 12 months seeing how it beds down in practice. The guidance and support from Natural England on this subject will need to be significant and there are some in the industry who doubt whether they will be able to support the measure in the positive way that will be required for it to not frustrate new development as a matter of course. Time will tell how the support is delivered.
If you want further guidance on Biodiversity Net Gain, watch this space or consult Prism for expert advice.
Prism Planning are pleased to announce that they have been successful in getting approval for what is believed to be the first commercial water cremation or Resomation Facility in the country, for the disposal of human remains. The new facility will be located in Darlington whose members recently signed the climate emergency declaration.
The process is innovative in the UK, but well established overseas in North America and Europe, where it has played an increasing part in making the funeral sector more environmentally sustainable.
During the week that COP26 is underway, and the world's attention is focused on reducing greenhouse gas generation, it is gratifying that Darlington Council supported the application and approved the new facility.
Resomation uses considerably less carbon to reduce a body to its natural elements compared with conventional cremation, with a significantly reduced environmental footprint. It is seen by many as the future system for funerals without costing the planet, being a dignified, safe and environmentally friendly of disposing of human remains.
The new facility in Darlington will not only represent the first commercial scale operation of its kind but will enable a training facility to be established which will support other Resomation facilities as they start to get rolled out around the country.
Prism were invited to help James and Christine Taylor fight a planning appeal relating to their proposals for living on site with their gypsy horses in County Durham.
Despite submitting copious amounts of information, the Planning Authority had decided that the couple didn’t need to live on site in order for them to run their equestrian business relating to the rearing of very high-quality gypsy cob horses, which they had managed to export successfully all over the world.
Spotting an opportunity to avoid the need for the appeal, Steve Barker, MD of Prism Planning, submitted a revised application to Durham County Council, presenting information to them in a slightly different manner to their original proposals. The new approach found merit with the Planning Authority and was successful in turning an enforcement appeal scenario around to a positive planning approval. The couple have now got consent to live on their site and operate their business without threat of being evicted and with the full support of the Council.
Prism are certainly happy to fight appeals and to deal with enforcement matters – but sometimes looking at things from a different perspective can be very much in the applicant’s interest and can save time and money as well.
We wish them well with their business.
An early Christmas present for Prism Planning and our client. While it is always good to win a planning appeal, being successful in seeking an award of costs against the local planning authority in favour of the appellant as well is a rare occurrence. When this happens in the run-up to Christmas it’s time for double celebration, even in these strange times.
On behalf of our client, we appealed against the refusal by Middlesbrough Council’s to refuse planning permission for a single house outside of development limits. The background was that outline planning permission had ben granted for a small self-building development of five houses.
Reserved matters approval had been granted for three houses and these were substantially complete. The outline permission had expired by 3 months when our client and a colleague submitted applications, through their Architect, for full planning permission for their houses on the two remaining plots. Our client’s application was refused, against officer recommendation at the July Planning Committee and we received instructions to submit an appeal as soon as possible. The appeal was submitted in August and then we discovered that planning permission had been granted, in line with the officer recommendation, for the other house at the Council’s September Planning Committee meeting.
In making our final comments of the appeal, we advised The Planning Inspectorate that the other house had been approved and commented that the LPA had failed to properly consider the background to our client’s application, particularly the fact that the outline permission had only just expired when our client’s planning application was submitted whereas this was given weight in approving the other house. We also argued that the Council had failed to substantiate the reason for refusal of our client’s application. It was on this basis that we made an application for a full award of costs against in favour of the appellant.
We were pleased to read that the Planning Inspector agreed with us on every material point and his conclusion on the costs application that the Council had acted unreasonably in refusing our client’s application and that requiring the Council to pay him the full costs of the planning appeal was therefore justified.
Hopefully Councillors sitting on Middlesbrough’s Planning Committee will take note that ignoring the professional advice of their planning officers can have unfortunate repercussions for the Council. Granted officer recommendations cannot always be agreed, but when refusing applications against officer advice Councillors need to be sure that they have valid planning grounds for refusing such applications.
‘God loves a tryer’ so they say, or should that include the add-on ‘particularly when you employ the services of Prism Planning’?
Prism Planning are delighted to have obtained planning permission for our client, Ingleby Barwick Land & Property Developments, that will allow the one remaining unit at their ‘Saxon Local Centre’ Easington Road, Hartlepool to be occupied by a non-retail use. At their ‘virtual’ Planning Committee meeting of 19th August 2020, councillors voted unanimously to grant planning permission for the change of use of the premises from a Class A1 retail shop to a ‘drinking establishment with expanded food provision’ (Class AA).
On two previous occasions, planning permission had been refused for the change of use of a vacant unit to a hot food takeaway. Following discussions with our client and recognising that there is no public house or restaurant near to the local centre, a change of tack was proposed. This found favour with planning officers, who were happy to recommend that the application be approved despite there being objections from local residents as all material planning considerations had been satisfied through the planning application submission.
As Chumbawamba famously sang, ‘I get knocked down but I get up again’. If you get a planning application knocked back, come and have word with Prism Planning and we’ll give you honest, no-nonsense advice of what best to do next.
After nearly two years of work, an Anaerobic Digestion Plant has been allowed at the side of North East Grains plant on the outskirts of Longhirst. The scheme will be operated by the farming consortium that own and run the adjacent grain plant and will use waste cereal grains as one of the feedstocks for the plant. In turn the AD plant will enable the Grain Store to significantly lower its carbon footprint in harvest time with heat, gas and electricity all going into the Grain Plant with surplus going into the National Grid.
What was unusual in planning terms was that the site was within the Newcastle Green Belt, within which renewable energy plants should normally not be allowed. However, Prism were able to make a convincing argument for exceptional circumstances being met with the two plants supporting and assisting each other. This case is not an easy one to make and took patient analysis and proper presentation of the relevant facts.
We wish the NE Grains farming co-operative every success with their ambitious new venture.
The redevelopment of an old joinery complex on land to the rear of Newgate, Barnard Castle was recently given the green light by Durham planners. The heritage led, innovative scheme will provide 4 live-work units, created from the conversion of existing buildings and workshops on the site. Prism Planning managed the scheme, drafting the successful Heritage Appraisal that underpinned the submission.
The scheme involves the restoration of a listed building and preserves important features of the site such as the arched opening in the boundary wall through which carriages once passed. The scheme was carefully negotiated with heritage advisors from Durham County Council although slightly bizarrely was at one point subject to an objection from Historic England, seemingly because the scheme didn’t incorporate a thatched roof! Such roofs haven’t been found in this part of Barnard Castle for several hundred years! Fortunately, further discussions resulted in the objection being withdrawn. Prism were grateful for the support of Durham County Council’s Heritage and Planning officers who took a very positive and proactive stance to assist.
The site is now on the market with Carver Commercial
Prism Planning are delighted to have eventually obtained planning permission for Ward Leisure in respect the holiday park development proposed on land at Dalton Gates, near to the Croft Motor Racing Circuit, North Yorkshire.
The development, comprising 38 static caravans in a landscaped setting, had been under consideration by Richmondshire District Council for some time during which issues of the scale of development proposed, access arrangements, foul and surface water drainage and potential noise impact were raised and subsequently addressed.
The application had been reported to the Council’s March Planning Committee with a recommendation that the application be approved. Our Director, Rod Hepplewhite, spoke in support of the application and a number of local residents spoke against to it. After some discussion on the merits of the proposal and issues raised by local residents, Members of the Planning Committee voted to defer the application for a site visit. Due to the subsequent imposition of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, however, the Committee site visit was delayed until 23rd July. The application was reported back to the Planning Committee meeting of 28th July, which was held online via Zoom. After much debate, the Committee voted to granted planning permission by 8 votes to 1.
Ward Leisure foresee an increase in the demand for all forms of ‘staycation’ holiday accommodation including static caravan parks. A lot of time and effort had gone into the preparation of the application, assisted by Wardman Brown Architectural Services and Curtins Consulting, and into subsequent discussions with the planning officers to address issues raised in order to arrive at the recommendation for approval. With this in mind and the unfortunate delay due to lockdown restrictions, the positive outcome was a great relief of both our client and ourselves.
During the last banking crisis in 2007/8, local farmer and businessman Martin Herring, set his workers on the repair and refurbishment of old farm buildings on his farm at Aislaby West. The building project avoided the need to lay off some of his work force, and left him with a set of restored traditional buildings which had no real farming use for. In 2019 Prism Planning applied on his behalf to have the restored buildings converted into dwellings. Stockton Council refused, citing the repairs as being unauthorised and the location as being unsustainable, despite the passage of a lot of time. Their decision seemingly ignoring the fact that the central government were now encouraging the residential conversion of such buildings.
This week a government Planning Inspector has overruled the Councils decision, allowing the buildings to be converted to provide 8 new dwellings. The Inspectors decision followed an informal hearing in February where Mr Herring was again represented by Darlington based Prism Planning.
Speaking on behalf of Mr Herring, Steve Barker, Managing Director of Prism Planning accepted that the case was an unusual one- “Its not very often that a farmer seeks to restore and repair old buildings that he doesn’t have a particular use for -but in this case Mr Herring presented us with what we thought was the perfect opportunity to carry out a sensitive conversion scheme that met all government directives and requirements. The fact that he did the initial work during the last recession, and that we get the new decision in what is now undoubtedly a new recession has added poignancy and shows us that with everything going on, sometimes good news stories do emerge. It was a shame that we couldn’t convince the officers in the Council earlier in the process, but the conversion of outbuildings often challenges planning officers and this isn’t the first appeal of this nature that we have had to fight for our clients.
Middlesbrough Council have approved the planning application for a snow & leisure centre development on land at Middlehaven, Middlesbrough, next to Middlesbrough Dock and near to Middlesbrough Football Stadium, that Prism Planning submitted on behalf of our client Subzero (Middlehaven) Ltd in December 2019.
Our Director, Rod Hepplewhite, co-ordinated the preparation and submission of the planning application and led on subsequent positive discussions with officers of the Council. He is delighted that this exciting leisure development has been given the go-ahead as it represents another step forward in the regeneration of the Middlehaven area of Middlesbrough. It should prove to be a major asset not only for Middlesbrough and the Tees Valley but also for the wider North East and North Yorkshire.
The development will provide a commercially successful, high quality, regional leisure attraction providing indoor skiing facilities (two indoor ski slopes, a nursery slope for beginners and tuition and a main slope for more accomplished skiers and snowboarders) supported by sports retail, food and beverage outlets (cafes, bars, restaurants & hot food takeaways) and other complimentary leisure uses (such as ten pin bowling, indoor karting, soft play area, family entertainment centre, high ropes, crazy golf etc). The development will provide new sport, recreation and leisure opportunities for local people and attract visitors and business to Middlehaven/Middlesbrough from across the region.
Projects of this scale and complexity take time to develop, during which time the site increased in size and the form and orientation of the building on site altered as the detailed design of the building evolved to accommodate the range and layout of the facilities proposed. We at Prism Planning are delighted to have assisted in this development successfully progressing through the planning stages.
An article on the application is in the Northern echo click for more.
Prism has won an appeal to replace a caravan with a bungalow. After the application was made, we quickly met resistance. Firstly, the Council considered that the dwelling would result in domestication of the location and have a negative visual impact. Despite the location being isolated from footpaths and the site already being domestic in part. Secondly, it determined the application as if it were a new dwelling despite the land being in use for domestic purposes and as a location for the existing caravan which would be removed.
Sometimes when met with such strong resistance it is more time and cost efficient to seek an independent view and an appeal should be made. As no forward process could be made with the Council Prism Planning prepared the case. We also worked with third parties on legal documentation aimed at controlling the use of the site, proposing to remove existing wooden structures at the location to work with the Council. Ultimately, we were successful, winning against the Council and the reasons of refusal.
This is the second appeal we have won relating to this specific type of application and we even have had interest from other Planning Consultancies on our approach.
An established Teesside based Chemical Site is all set to undergo a multi-million pound expansion, creating around 80 jobs, following the successful grant of planning permission following an application submitted by Prism Planning.
Fine Organics have been established in Teesside since the 1970’s, moving to the present site in Seal Sands in 1984. The plant became part of the Chinese based Lianhetech Group in 2017 and the present site has been manufacturing specialist chemical for the pharmaceutical, agricultural and performance chemicals sectors.
Bucking the national trend, Lianhetech have a very positive view of the chemicals sector and have sought to extend the present site, adding new productions lines and new storage facilities at its Seal Sands base.
Prism Planning co-ordinated and submitted the planning application, and today Stockton Borough Council granted planning permission for its expansion, paving the way for work to start on site immediately.
Naturally the large scale expansion of a chemical site brings with it s host of challenges, from chemical storage, ecology, foul drainage, through to issues of flood management, and the application involved complex negotiations to get todays result.
Prism were proud to have been selected to support Lianhetech and to have played a small, but important art in the continued growth of the Tees Valley Economy. Todays result, coming hot on the heels of Teesside Mayors acquisition of SSI land, paints a promising view for our industrial and chemical sectors.
Our client had already carried out a development of 5 dormer bungalows on the edge of Dalton, and wanted to site 4 more on land immediately adjacent to his recent development. The road had already been laid out to accommodate this.
The site was on the edge of the village and had previously been the subject of an unsuccessful appeal by others, which unfortunately made the job twice as hard.
Other challenges included nearby flooding and potential noise from the re-use of disused farm buildings.
The Council ultimately failed to determine the application and it was a challenge to engage officers in a debate about how the site could positively be brought forward. The Councils Interim Housing Policy was core to the dispute between the two sides.
Prism submitted an appeal against non-determination of the application and set out its case in a comprehensive written statement. The Inspector accepted each of the points made by the Prism team and went on to grant consent, finding that although the site lay outside current settlement limits, it was in accordance with the Councils interim housing policy, was not obtrusive in visual terms and provided useful bungalow accommodation recognised as being in short supply across the District. Naturally our client was delighted!
Prism Planning have today (28th November 2019) submitted to Middlesbrough Council, on behalf of our client Subzero (Middlehaven) Ltd, a planning application for a 20,588m² snow & leisure centre development on land south of Priestman Road, Middlehaven, Middlesbrough, near to Middlesbrough Football Stadium.
Our client’s aim for the Subzero project is to provide a commercially successful, high quality, regional leisure attraction providing indoor skiing facilities (two indoor ski slopes, a nursery slope for beginners and tuition and a main slope for more accomplished skiers and snowboarders) supported by sports retail, food and beverage outlets (cafes, bars, restaurants & hot food takeaways, some probably in-combination) and other complimentary leisure uses (a climbing/ice-climbing wall, soft play area, trampolines and ten pin bowling are envisaged). The development will provide new sport, recreation and leisure opportunities for local people and attract visitors and business to Middlehaven/Middlesbrough from across the region.
Our Director, Rod Hepplewhite, led on project managing the preparation and submission of the planning application and has been involved with the project from day one, including the preparation and submission of the previous outline planning application that was approved by Middlesbrough Council in April 2017. Projects of this scale and complexity take time to develop, during which time the site increased in size and the form and orientation of the building on site altered as the detailed design of the building evolved to accommodate the range and layout of the facilities proposed.
Officers of Middlesbrough Council were kept advised of progress in preparation of the planning application and we are hopeful that planning application will be granted early in the New Year.
Prism Planning are delighted to have been selected by Addison Project and Lianhetech to submit their planning application for the refurbishment and extension of the Lianhetech plant at Seal Sands.
Formerly known as Fine Organics, the company have been one of the leading manufacturers of specialist chemicals in Teesside and currently employ around 260 staff on their site which was set up in the 1970s.
The current planning application that has just been submitted to Stockton Borough Council will see a multi-million pound investment in the existing plant, including the establishment of new car parks, new production lines and various ancillary outbuildings. The application represents a substantial investment in the firm following its acquisition by Lianhetech.
The application is expected to be considered by Stockton Borough Council in the future weeks.
If approved, the application will not only consolidate the existing jobs and presence of the company but will lead to a further 80 staff being employed on the site.
It is recognised that this good news will be most welcome, following the recent announcement over the uncertainty of Ineos plant at Seal Sands.
Planning permission was sought for the demolition and replacement of a single detached house in a North Yorkshire Conservation Area. The house was not listed and had a significant array of structural issues associated with it and restricted ceiling heights at ground and first floor level. It was also subject to damp and flooding problems. The consulting engineers, having considered all the issues recommended demolition and re-build, despite the fact that parts of the house dated back to the 18th century.
Prism were called in to assist and produced a detailed Heritage Impact Assessment, for the project. Opponents to the scheme had tried to secure the listing of the building and had put forward a great deal of confused arguments claiming the building was of significant historic interest. Their case had got the ears of Historic England who took the listing case forward.
Untangling the claims took a substantial amount of time, but Prism managed to defeat the listing attempt, only to have planning officers then try to declare the building to be a locally designated asset and faced a committee report that recommended refusal of the replacement dwelling.
Steve Barker, Prism MD, spoke at the planning meeting, pointing out a series of errors in the report and incorrect interpretations of planning law in the advice given to members. Despite the same objectors also speaking at the meeting, we managed to secure the unanimous overturning of the officer recommendation with members supporting the recommendation. It’s a challenge to overturn any officer recommendation, even under the best of circumstances and to do so unanimously was unprecedented.
Dealing with a heritage matter is a tricky issue and a great deal of care is required. This case demonstrates that the team at Prism have the capability and knowledge to tackle some of the most sensitive and challenging heritage cases and we would be very pleased to talk to potential new clients about how we might be able to assist.
Prism Planning today submitted a Scoping request under the Environmental Impact Regulations for the development of an offshore marine energy park to service the burgeoning offshore wind turbine industry. The site at South Bank on the Tees involves part of the former steelworks. The project would provide a new base for the offshore sector, allowing for the import and assembly of the components used to deliver the offshore wind programme that the UK desperately needs.
The proposal would see the development of a new 950 metre long quay along the South Bank wharf, replacing the present derelict structure. On the site, components would be stored, assembled and shipped on to new purpose-built vessels designed to deliver the new offshore programme. In order to do this, new cranes would be built, including the most powerful conventional crawler crane in the world and a new rail crane, which would be more than twice as tall as the Transporter Bridge. It has been estimated that nearly 250 jobs would be created during the construction period and thereafter 600 permanent jobs for workers and management associated with the proposal. A CGI image of how the site might look is attached below.
Prism were very pleased to be selected to manage this project and look forward to working with Able and the Local Planning Authority to deliver this much-needed redevelopment project. Further enquiries on this matter should be directed to Steve Barker, Managing Director of Prism Planning Ltd, or Neil Etherington, Business Development Director at Able UK.
Prism have just been successful in removing an agricultural occupancy condition attached to a client’s property - and achieved it via a most unusual route. The conventional approach usually requires the property being advertised for sale for a 1 or sometimes 2-year period, at a price that reflects the lowered value of the property. The field is often fraught with disputes over valuations and challenges to the marketing process - stamina is normally required and a number of cases simply get abandoned.
Our clients had lived at the property for a number of years and assumed that they met the occupancy criteria - indeed they had correspondence on file from the Council confirming this point.
Prism had reviewed the history of their site and formed a different view - which in due course was supported by an independent review by barristers at No 5 Chambers - the acknowledged set for planning advice in the country.
Prism then proceeded to submit an application for lawful development - based upon more than 10 years of non-compliance with the condition - a position the team were very sure about.
Fresh minds at the LPA, reviewing the back files of the case came to another unusual view - that the original occupancy condition, because of its non-standard wording was so badly drafted that it could not actually be complied with by anyone and was, in their minds completely unenforceable going forward. They invited Prism and our client to present an application to remove the condition as a consequence and then went on to grant that consent.
Naturally our client was delighted by the outcome and by the removal of the occupancy condition! The case highlights that the removal of occupancy conditions is rarely straightforward, but that it can be done, if circumstances have changed radically since the property was first built. Anyone in this position should seek expert advice from Prism Planning who have a track record of success in this very specialist field of planning.
At long last, some 5 years since our first involvement in the project and 4½ years since the planning application was submitted, Prism Planning secured outline planning permission, backed by a S106 Legal Agreement, on 14th March 2019 in respect of a housing-led development of some 83.5 hectares (206 acres) of land at High Tunstall, Hartlepool. The development will provide up to 1,200 homes, a neighbourhood centre including a primary school, a new distributor road and amenity open space including structure planting.
We recognised from the outset that a scheme of such magnitude was never going to be straight forward and so it turned out. Through a combination of the scale of the proposed development, the site’s location and the local environment, the planning application required an Environmental Impact Assessment, a Habitats Regulation Assessment, a Transport Assessment and detailed archaeological investigation.
Prism Planning project managed the preparation of the planning application submission, preparing the supporting Planning Statement and leading on the preparation of the Environmental Statement, including over-seeing the work undertaken by a host of environmental consultancies and the architects who prepared the many iterations of the masterplan drawings and the associated Design & Access Statement.
The application was submitted at the time that Hartlepool Borough Council were preparing of a new Local Plan (adopted May 2018). To accord with the then emerging Local Plan, the scale and land-take of the proposed development was reduced from the original 2,000 homes and 118 hectare site proposed. Rod Hepplewhite, our Director, attended the Local Plan Examination Hearings in September/October 2017 and successfully supported the Council’s proposed allocation of the High Tunstall application site as a ‘Strategic Housing Site’, a significant step forward in the ultimate approval of the planning application.
The scale of the proposed development and the proximity of the site to the A19(T) necessitated extensive negotiations with Highways England and highways engineers from Hartlepool Borough Council. Consequently, associated with the development and part financed by it, significant highway works will be undertaken, including a northern by-pass to Elwick village linking to the A19, the provision of a new grade separated junction north west of Elwick, gap closures on the A19, and improvements to aa number of junctions with Hartlepool.
The site lies within relative proximity to the coast, which is protected under a number of ecological designations (including the Durham Coast Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and the Teesmouth and Cleveland Coast SPA and Ramsar. As a consequence, given the scale and nature of the proposed development, there was a requirement to consider and address the potential impacts on these European sites under the Habitat Regulations. This resulted in the development being provided with larger areas of amenity and recreational open space than had been originally been proposed.
We have dealt with many applications for residential development of various forms over the years, although it is fair to say that the High Tunstall development is our largest and most complex residential development. 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, which held us in good stead for the High Tunstall project.
Today Prism celebrates its latest approval in Darlington. Two large three storey buildings containing apartments and retail units were granted permission subject to a Section 106. At present Darlington is claiming in excess of 80 years of housing supply which gives it more power to refuse applications.
The application site is brownfield and located within Darlington, a number of buildings are presently located at the site. It is adjacent to a mixture of industrial and residential uses.
The application was a resubmission with a revised noise report which targeted potential impacts from the nearest industrial use, should the vacant building become occupied. Our Planning Statement was able to make the differences between the submission and resubmission clear. During the application we also managed issues such as surface water flooding by directing them to the right specialists. The result was that the resubmission was successful and permission has been granted subject to a legal agreement.
If you are looking at developing a site and seeking advice please get in touch.
As the new year gets underway and Prism Planning has settled into its new offices on Woodland Road, we have reviewed the old website and decided to replace it. Below is a highlight of the more than ten years of news that have been made.
Our client had converted a former stable building into a house, without having first got the benefit of planning permission, through a misunderstanding in how to draw down permitted development rights. This hadn’t gone down well with the planning authority, for understandable reasons, with an appeal against their initial refusal of planning permission being unsuccessful.
In looking at the reasons why the Inspector initially agreed with the Council, Prism considered that there was scope to mitigate the harm that the Inspector had cited. We brought in a professional Landscape Architect, Guy Rawlinson and with his help, devised a new landscape mitigation plan. We then went further a crafted a unique legal agreement, or Unilateral Undertaking, relating to the way in which the landscape could be managed if consent were granted. A second, revised application was submitted.
Unfortunately, the Council maintained its initial stance and went on to refuse the second application, escalating matters by also serving our client with an enforcement notice. The Council had seemingly ignored both our landscape plan and our legal agreement.
At the second appeal, the new Inspector commended the landscape assessment and plan and criticised the Council for ignoring the Unilateral Undertaking that Prism had carefully prepared, finding it robust and fit for purpose. He was critical of the Council’s opposition to the development and granted our client consent to remain in occupation with his family, subject to complying with the legal agreement and undertaking additional planting.
Our client can look forward to spending Christmas in his own home, not hunting for a new one!
Whilst it is never a good idea to carry out development without planning permission, if you do find yourself in a tricky situation, come and talk to us as soon as possible. As this case makes clear, if there is a solution to be found, we specialise in finding it! Don’t give up until you’ve talked to Prism.
Having a big sale, on-site celebrity, or other event? Be sure to announce it so everybody knows and gets excited about it.
Prism Planning has continued its unbroken record of success with equestrian projects by winning another appeal for an equestrian workers dwelling.
Our clients had set up Stotfold Crest Rising Centre near Elwick, several years ago, under the expert guidance of Lesley Perry. Following a bad wrist fracture which hasn’t properly healed, Lesley decided she needed to take more of a backseat role and hand over the reins (!) to her daughter, Anne Marie, a top level equestrian in her own right who has competed at international level and is without doubt an Olympic contender for Tokyo.
The proposal submitted to Hartlepool Council involved the construction of new, high quality stables, a horse walker and a new house for Anne Marie and her family, in accordance with currently applicable case law on the subject which was cited at length to the Council.
Despite warm support from the Parish Council, who could see the benefits to the area in having Anne Marie set up her base in the north east, officers from the Council decided to ignore relevant case law and refused permission, arguing it was contrary to the Local Plan.
A hearing was held into the case in August, and the Planning Inspectors decision allowing the scheme was made public last week. In her appeal decision, the independent inspector noted that the humanitarian principles embodied in the High Court cases cited by Prism in support of the application were relevant to the case and should have been taken on board more fully by the Council. She was also critical of the Councils attempts to remove permitted rights from the proposed new dwelling and restored those rights, along with the main permission.
Prism are naturally delighted with the outcome.
Over the 10 years we have been in existence, we have fought several key battles over equestrian development -the most recent case being the promotion of an all weather international show jumping arena in the Green Belt at Gateshead for Philippa Curry, a former UK Show jumping Coach of the Year. Philippa’s proposals were due to be rejected by officers but following a committee speech by Steve Barker of Prism, members of the planning committee voted to approve her application.
Have an equestrian project or issue -we can probably help -and have a track record to prove it.
Prism Planning secured planning permission for the same client, ENER-G Bio Solutions, in respect of two separate anaerobic digestion plants, one near to the Thinford roundabout, County Durham and the other at Riverside Park West, Middlesbrough in a single week. That can’t be bad going and is indicative of Prism Planning’s growing expertise in this area of renewable energy production. Indeed, we have built up a good level of expertise on the subject and recognise that although no two developments are alike and all require a comprehensive raft of technical documentation to support the planning application. Through our own expertise on the subject and the connections we have with environmental and transport consultants we can address all issues that are likely to be raised by local planning authorities.
At their meeting of 1st May 2018, Durham County Council’s County Planning Committee supported the officer recommendation that planning permission should be granted for the construction and operation of an anaerobic digestion plant on land at Mount Huley Farm, Croxdale, Durham.
On Friday 4th May 2018, Middlesbrough’s Planning & Development Committee voted unanimously to support the officer recommendation that planning permission should be granted for the construction and operation of an anaerobic digestion plant on land at Riverside Side Park West, Middlesbrough.
Both plants will process food wastes that would otherwise go to landfill together with farmyard manures and silage to produce bio-gas. The bio-gas will then be both purified and compressed for injection into the Gas Grid, there being a connection point to a gas pipeline near to both sites. The resultant bi-product from the process known as digestate, which are odourless, will be spread on the farm fields as a fertiliser and soil improver instead of farmyard manure and imported nitrate fertiliser which are used at present.
Our Director, Rod Hepplewhite, attended both meetings and spoke in support of the applications, setting out the case for approval of the development and reinforcing the planning officer’s recommendation that the application be approved. All material planning considerations had been addressed; neither plant will result in a significant impact upon the landscape or visual amenity nor cause noise or odour nuisance or give rise to traffic issues of any significance, harm to the local ecology or adversely impact any features of archaeological importance.
We had worked in a positive manner with the respective case officers throughout the course of the applications to address issues raised and respond promptly to requests for additional information. Both AD plants represent an appropriate form of sustainable development at the site, which accords with national and local planning policy together with the ‘National Anaerobic Digestion Strategy and Action Plan and The Waste Management Plan for England.
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