Patrick Durr Associates has experienced another busy and successful month culminating in four applications approved in one week via Swale Borough Council, Wealden District Council and Maidstone Borough Council.
One application at Swale Borough Council had been “called-in” to Planning Committee for deliberation due to local concerns. Following a well balanced debate and on site discussions, we were happy to secure an approval 9:6 in our favour.
In addition to this, we are pleased to report another successful agricultural building to dwelling conversion granted by Wealden District Council under permitted development rights. This has ultimately provided the client with three new dwellings at their former fruit farm and greatly changes the fortunes of the property.
This was Patrick Durr Associates’ 20th (out of 20) dwelling achieved under the permitted development provision!
Last week we were pleased to achieve a Certificate of Lawful Existing Use or Development (CLEUD) increasing the lawful use of a client’s garden by 48 per cent.
The client had purchased the property near Sittingbourne in 2006 however there was always uncertainty over a large area of garden adjoining their house.
Patrick Durr Associates sought to regularise the use of the land as domestic garden, however it was not as straightforward as others we have achieved. For this application we had to demonstrate evidence of the lawfulness through a number of techniques as no single option provided the satisfactory burden of proof. Consequently, we presented the following:
The continual use as garden land via a sworn statement by the owners (covering nine years) and a sworn statement by the retained gardener (covering 12 years).
Established via historical deeds that the land was in the same ownership and described as part of the garden before 1 July 1948 (the appointed day).
Presented via aerial photographs and the existing site layout that the land and dwelling is in the same planning unit as per caselaw precedent.
In summary, the Swale Borough Council agreed that our evidence overwhelmingly supported the lawful use of the land as garden. The client can now continue to use the land, erect garden outbuildings, construct a swimming pool or even site an ancillary caravan or office on the land without fear of planning enforcement. This was a well worth exercise for the client which will avoid solicitor pain when selling the property and opens the door to a plethora of potential uses.
Patrick Durr Associates has successfully secured planning permission just outside Cranbrook for the conversion of a building into a detached, three-bedroomed dwelling with carport and a small block of stables.
The application site was a former horticultural building set within approximately 3 acres. The site had a long chequered history of planning refusals and enforcement notices. Within the last four years planning permission had been refused for residential use on site five times.
When the applicant came to us, the site was the subject of a residential use planning enforcement notice which had been appealed. The site had also recently been refused residential planning permission again in November 2014.
Working closely with Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, we were able to find a way around the issues and were able to propose a scheme which was appropriate for the site and surrounding area.
The key to this success was the Pre-Application engagement with Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and the Council’s willingness to work with us in finding a suitable solution. The 2012 National Planning Policy Framework encourages this level of Pre-Application discussion and advises Councils to try to find ways forward where possible, instead of simply scrutinising an application.
In summary, this was a truly excellent result for the applicant who otherwise was in a very complicated position.
Patrick Durr Associates are pleased to announce another Prior Approval application granted under Class Q Permitted Development.
The new dwelling has been allowed on a farm just outside Goudhurst, Kent and the project presented some difficult challenges. The owner of the farm wanted to provide a dwelling for immediate family, yet equally wanted the farm and area close to the proposed building to continue operating as a successful fruit business. With a well presented planning application and clever design by Sarah Wickham, also of this practice, the application was approved by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and provides the best of both worlds for the farm and individuals.
Further to the Chancellor’s Summer Budget on Wednesday, the Government has today introduced its simply named “The Productivity Plan”, which highlights the importance of increasing housebuilding and the construction industry.
The main highlights of the Plan include:
Sites in the planned statutory registers of brownfield land suitable for housing will automatically be allocated planning permission.
A proposed new deadline for Councils to have their new Local Plans in place.
Councils will be encouraged by a threat of “special measures” if they fail to decide minor application within the required timescales (usually eight weeks).
A new dispute resolution scheme (DRS) has been proposed for Section 106 Agreements, specifically to speed up negotiations.
Devolution of certain powers to London and in the future Manchester, “giving them the tools to drive forward complex, brownfield developments”.
Permitted Development allowed in London to “build up” existing dwellings to provide further accommodation up to the height of an adjoining building without the need to apply for planning permission.
Further Permitted Development to extend the height of mobile masts in both protected and non-protected areas in England.
The most interesting part of this Plan is the brownfield land automatic planning permission idea. It is proposed that automatic planning permission would be granted to all suitable brownfield sites under a new zonal system.
Brownfield land is really an undefined term however the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) defines “previously development land” as:
“Land which is or was occupied by a permanent structure, including the curtilage of the developed land (although it should not be assumed that the whole of the curtilage should be developed) and any associated fixed surface infrastructure. This excludes: land that is or has been occupied by agricultural or forestry buildings; land that has been developed for minerals extraction or waste disposal by landfill purposes where provision for restoration has been made through development control procedures; land in built-up areas such as private residential gardens, parks, recreation grounds and allotments; and land that was previously-developed but where the remains of the permanent structure or fixed surface structure have blended into the landscape in the process of time.”
It is undeniable that brownfield land is becoming ever more valuable, however it will remain integral that proposed sites are sustainably located for future residential or commercial development. It is important to note that the brownfield land idea is aimed at urban sites and many of the important qualifying conditions are yet to be released. As always, the devil is in the detail!
Overall, this Productivity Plan is a push in the right direction for the planning sector, however we should not get too excited until more information is available. We were a little surprised that more permitted development rights were not announced, however this may signal a second planning release later in the year.
Patrick Durr Associates are continuing their 100 per cent record of approved Class Q Permitted Development applications proposing the change of use of agricultural buildings to residential use, with a further three approvals this week!
Two new approvals are within one agricultural unit on the outskirts of Ashford. One building is steel framed with profile steel cladding, whilst the other building is a steel framed hay barn with one open-sided elevation. One of the buildings had previously been refused a similar application in 2014, however with the help of the Council, Patrick Durr Associates addressed the problems and successfully achieved two new proposed dwellings. This has made a real change to the applicant and the viability of the site.
To date, Patrick Durr has now been involved in creating 17 houses from agricultural buildings within a six month period. Who’s will be the 18th?