Category Archives: News

Understanding Planning Conditions

If you have received a planning approval it’s essential you know what conditions are attached, what they cover and how they can be complied with. Rather than refusing a planning application, a local planning authority (LPA) may grant permission subject to conditions, most approvals have conditions relating to the time frame to start a development and materials to be used, but often they have more and can vary between LPAs. This article from Northern Insight Magazine details the top 5 things to know about planning conditions.

1. The 6 Tests
Planning conditions should be kept to a minimum and only imposed where they are:

1. necessary; without the condition should the application be refused?

2. relevant to planning; does the condition relate to planning objectives and is it within the scope of the permission to which it is attached?

3. to the development to be permitted; Does the condition fairly and reasonably relates to the development to be permitted?

4. enforceable; would it be practicably possible to enforce the condition?

5. precise; is the condition clear to the applicant and others on what is required?

6. reasonable in all other respect; is the condition reasonable?

2. Removing or modifying conditions
If you don’t think that a condition imposed meets the 6 tests you can apply to the LPA to modify/remove the condition, the application fee for this process is £234. If an application is refused you do have the right to appeal the decision, regardless of the outcome of the appeal the original permission remains valid and it is only the condition which is removed or modified. There is a mechanism to appeal the imposition of a condition on the initial application without going through the process to remove or modify the condition; however, if you appeal at that stage there is a risk as the whole application is reconsidered and could be refused in entirety.

3. Pre-Commencement Conditions
Pre-commencement conditions are those imposed on the grant of planning permission which prevents a start on site until the conditions have been adhered to, this could be by submitting information for agreement or ensuring a specific action is taken. In its emphasis to boost growth and avoid delays the government have imposed that from October 2018 all pre-commencement conditions must be agreed with the applicant prior to approval, this includes during an appeal process. This does not apply to prior approvals as that is not a planning permission. However, be aware if you don’t agree to pre-commencement conditions your application is likely to be refused.

4. Approval of conditions
Conditions which require details to be submitted for approval (or in planning jargon discharged) can take up to 8 weeks from submission to the LPA, this additional time should be planned into your build schedule. The process to discharge conditions does require a fee to be paid to the LPA which is £34 for conditions relating to householder development i.e. extensions or £116 for other proposals. The charge is imposed for each submission; however, you can discharge more than one condition under the same submission.

5. Breach of conditions
If you carry out a development without compliance with a condition, enforcement action could be progressed by the LPA. A Breach of Condition Notice (BCN) could be served which would require compliance to the condition, there is no right of appeal against these notices and you could end up at a Magistrates Court. If you have been in breach of a condition for in excess of 10 years there maybe potential for you to be immune from enforcement action.

Conditions are imposed to avoid refusing an application, therefore don’t ignore them, if in doubt seek assistance from a Town Planning Consultant.

Planning Conditions
Top 5 things to know about Planning Conditions

County Durham Plan Consultation Open

Last call to submit representations to shape the County Durham Plan. Representations are invited for a period of six weeks beginning on 9:00am 25 January 2019 and ending on 8 March 2019 at 4.30pm.

The County Durham Plan sets the planning policy framework up to 2035 to support the development of a thriving economy in County Durham, while at the same time protecting those things that are important to us all. It identifies a number of sites for new employment, new housing and new infrastructure to accommodate the growth needed to achieve these ambitions.

The Pre-Submission Draft of the Plan is the FINAL consultation stage. It is an important stage as it is an opportunity for you to make comments on the Plan before it is submitted for examination by an independent Inspector.

Don’t miss your chance to have your say, contact Planning House for independent Town Planning advice.

Introducing Helen Heward

In the first 2019 edition of Northern Insight Helen Heward, Associate at Planning House is introduced, with her substantial public sector experience and passion for people and places we’re excited to have her onboard.  In the article Helen introduces herself.

As a chartered town planner with over 12 years experience in the public sector across planning policy, development management and enforcement, I’m leaving my comfort zone in the Local Authority to start a new adventure in the private sector.

It’s a really exciting opportunity to use my unique practical skills to effectively navigate the planning process from a Local Authority perspective to provide clients with an insightful and reliable service in the private sector.

As a Senior Planning Officer, I have dealt with a wide variety of planning applications, predominantly major applications for residential, commercial, industrial and renewable energy developments. In previous articles Planning House, has described the move from Local Authority to the private sector as “gamekeeper turned poacher” and honestly I can’t think of a better analogy.

For me, planning is all about relationships. I initially decided on a career in town planning as I was interested in the relationship between human activity and the natural environment. I soon learned that effective town planning is underpinned by collaboration and importantly communication between stakeholders in the whole of the planning process. In my experience the better the relationship between stakeholders the smoother the planning process runs!

The ethos behind Planning House is to provide a personal, flexible service that meets the needs of its clients; this suits my approach down to the ground. I am definitely a ‘people person’, I love a challenge and have always thrived under pressure. I am an advocate for talking about a problem to resolve it and definitely believe that communication is key.

In my experience I have found that meaningful engagement can resolve the seemingly unresolvable. As planners we are often mediators between stakeholders, when something is talked about face to face or explained properly a solution can usually be found.

I am of the opinion ‘why have countless emails back and forth when a discussion would be better?’, this has always worked for me and is definitely an approach I intend to maintain. So when, following my return to work from maternity leave, I was offered an opportunity to work for Planning House, a company which has been built on service to clients I jumped at the chance.

Planning House is also supportive of another of my passions which is promoting gender equality. My time away from the office, during maternity leave, highlighted to me that whilst women may be represented in the industry there is a wealth of women who take time away from their career for family. This inevitably has an impact upon career progression.Fortunately, the flexible approach of employment with Planning House accommodates my personal circumstances whilst supporting my career progression. Nationally the network that champions for gender equality in the planning industry is ‘Women in Planning’. The network is women-led however is not exclusively for women. There are branches across the UK and I am currently in the process of launching the North East network. Excitingly the upcoming launch event, in early 2019 will be supported by Planning House!

Having children has made me realise that being a working mother is tough and the pressure is immense. Trying to fit that into office hours is practically impossible. However, my new role at Planning House has offered ‘a new way of working’ giving me the flexibility to spend time with my young family whilst continuing to work in a profession I am passionate about – why do you have to choose! I am sure that this flexibility will benefit my family and future clients too.

I’m really excited to get started. If you have any planning matters you would like to discuss, from January 2019 I will be joining the Planning House team and I look forward to hearing from you.

Helen’s contact details are helen@planninghouse.co.uk or 07834 775732

Town Planning…The Basics

There’s a lot of advice out there regarding Town Planning, thousands of pages dedicated to what can be perceived as red tape but with a lot of jargon and confusing details in general they don’t tend to cover what you need to know in simple basic terms.

Planning House strive to provide valuable information in order for people to be better informed about the planning process without being bogged down by unnecessary waffle.

Town Planning is not rocket science, to help you know the basics of town planning, Planning House have prepared 8 eBooklets covering just that, the basics. If you want to look further into a particular topic more information can be found online very easily. These resources have been prepared as an easy read starting point, free of charge, no email collection before you can download and no sign up to a newsletter – no strings attached!  All you need to do is click the eBooklet and read it, the current series is:

1 WHAT IS TOWN PLANNING?
Covering the need for town planning, the system, what town planners do and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), this eBooklet is a very light touch overview of planning.

2 APPLICATION PROCESS
Designed to give you the basics of pre-application engagement, planning fees, types of application, how to apply for planning permission, who makes the decision, the process, validation requirements, and material planning considerations. This eBooklet provides you with enough knowledge to assist you through the planning process if your proposal is not complex.

3 PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT & USE CLASS
If you’re looking to extend or improve your home or change the use of a building it pays to understand the scope of permitted development rights. Covering potential permitted development rights you may have, including those for converting buildings i.e. barns into homes without the need for planning permission. However, as with all things about town planning it can be a complex topic, these rights can be removed, or there may be another process (prior approval) which you may need to go through in order to benefit from these rights.

4 SELF BUILDERS
This eBooklet is aimed at those who are proposing to embark on a self-build journey, covering the application process but also planning myths, the hidden costs of planning and steps to choosing a town planner, it’s a useful starting point.

5 APPEALS
There’s a right of appeal not just against the refusal of a planning application but also against non-determination of an application or against conditions attached to an approval. Covering who makes the decision, what to submit, appeal types and process, award of costs and disagreement with a decision this eBooklet helps you be more aware of the time and resources needed for an appeal.

6 ENFORCEMENT
Covering what is a breach of planning control, enforcement time limits, non-compliance, the range of methods used to tackle a breach and types of enforcement notice this eBooklet stresses the importance of early intervention.

7 CIL & s106
There are some hidden costs of planning which you may not be aware of, if you’re liable to pay CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) or propose a development which may trigger the need for additional works or financial contribution (via s106 Agreement) it’s better to be informed about what the implications of both are.

8 DEVELOPMENT PLANS
Planning law requires that applications for planning permission be determined in accordance with the development plan, knowing what plans are in place and how they are developed will assist in progressing any planning proposal.

More topics are proposed to be added to the series in order to assist you in any potential development project, however if you need support or advice Planning House are here to help.

The basics of Town Planning
A series of Free eBooklets covering the basics of Town Planning

Change of Use Planning Success

Planning Permission secured for the change of use of existing ground floor retail unit (A1) to 2 no. units comprising hot food takeaway unit (A5) and retail unit (A1).

The proposal will utilise an existing vacant unit within West Cornforth, in the main local centre within the village.   The proposal will bring back into productive use a vacant unit, retaining an A1 element, and introduce a new A5 unit.  It was considered that the scheme would not have an adverse impact on the vitality and viability of the local centre, and the benefits of an occupied unit far outweigh the continuation of a vacant unit.

Edward Vaudin led on this application reference: DM/18/02473/FPA

How do I change the use of a premises to hot food takeaway
Planning Success at West Cornforth

Planning Appeal Allowed in Co. Durham

Planning House in collaboration with Blake Hopkinson Architects have secured planning permission for up to 66 houses in Co. Durham.

The site lies in the open countryside, bounding the settlement of Esh Winning.  Issues in the appeal included:

  • Development in the countryside;
  • 5 year housing land supply;
  • Impact on the character and appearance of the area; and
  • s106 obligations.

Whilst Durham County Council submitted that they now have a 5 year housing land supply under the new method of calculation published in the NPPF 2018, the Planning Inspector  concluded that material considerations indicate that a decision should be taken contrary to the development plan and the very limited adverse impacts of granting permission would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the development.

Planning Appeal Allowed, full decision can be read HERE.

 

Planning Appeal Durham
66 houses approved in Co. Durham

Make way for the new NPPF

NPPF2
NPPF 2018

Since 2012 the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) became the proverbial Bible of the Planning system making it less complex and more accessible. It vastly simplified the number of policy pages about planning and along with the planning practice guidance (PPG) provided a much needed shake up of draconian planning process.

The revised NPPF  has been published this afternoon in a bid to once again shake up the development process, some of the main changes involve:

  • Changes to the definition of, and the presumption in favour of, sustainable development;
  • Removal of the section setting out the government’s core planning principles;
  • New duties for strategic plan-making, including addressing key strategic priorities;
  • New duty for planning authorities to prepare statements to document cross-boundary issues;
  • Amended wording for soundness tests underpinning plan examinations;  Including that a plan must be ‘an’ appropriate strategy – not ‘the most’ – which may have implications for those pushing for sites to be included in a Local Plan.
  • Introduction of new standard method for assessing local housing need.  This new method will come into force in late January, six months after the new NPPF’s publication.  However, the government said it will consider adjusting the methodology in order to meet its 300,000-homes-a-year target in light of the impending publication of new household growth projections that are likely to be lower than previous estimates.  It will “consult on the specific details” when the new projection figures are published in September.
  • Requirements for authorities relating to housing delivery, including small sites target. Councils must accommodate 10% of their housing requirement on small sites, as opposed to 20% of sites under the draft version;
  • Introduction of the housing delivery test to determine need for action plan and performance against homes requirement.  The test will measure the number of homes created against local housing need and penalise councils that underdeliver against various thresholds over a three-year period.  This includes applying the presumption in favour of sustainable development where delivery is below 75 per cent of the housing requirement from 2020.
  • LPAs to have to meet a tougher test to prove that their housing sites are deliverable;
  • The importance of design standards is emphasised.  The creation of high-quality buildings and places is ‘fundamental’ to what the planning and development process should achieve, the revised NPPF states. In particular, councils should try to “ensure that the quality of approved development is not materially diminished between permission and completion, as a result of changes being made to the permitted scheme.
  • Encouragement for LPAs to allow changes of use to housing and minimum density standards;
  • New rules for how LPAs should decide whether ‘exceptional circumstances’ exist for green belt changes;
  • The approach advocated in the written ministerial statement issued in 2016 on neighbourhood development plans is enshrined.  Paragraph 14 says that where the presumption in favour of sustainable development would otherwise apply in the absence of relevant or up-to-date plan policies, the adverse impact of allowing housing schemes that conflict with Neighbourhood Development Plans is likely to “significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits” where the plan was adopted two years or less before the decision, it contains policies and allocations to meet its identified housing requirement and the local planning authority has at least a three-year supply of deliverable housing sites against its five year requirement, including any appropriate buffer against under delivery.  In addition, the planning authority’s record must show that at least 45 per cent of homes required were delivered over the previous three years, the document says.

 

Planning House welcomes Ed Vaudin

Summer Internship
Ed Vaudin joins Planning House

Planning House welcomes Ed to the team on his internship.

Ed is an urban planning student at Newcastle University, working towards both a masters in planning and a certificate of planning practice.   Ed first gained a thorough interest in planning through studying human geography, overtime this interest has flourished into a passion.   With an eagerness to learn, Ed is determined to be a key part of innovate and ground-breaking developments to come.

News in Business Durham

Durham Planning Consultant
New Freelancer of the Year

ARTICLE IN BUSINESS DURHAM

Shining a spotlight on East Durham and the North East in general Chris Pipe NAMED National New Freelancer of the Year 2018.

The awards, the centrepiece of the tenth annual National Freelancers Day held at Kings Place, London, recognise excellence in freelancing. Sixteen finalists across three categories – Freelancer of the Year, Young Freelancer of the Year and New to Freelancing – were judged on the strength of their portfolio, passion and commitment to freelancing, business acumen and the creativity and distinctiveness of their offering.

Chris founded Planning House in 2016 and has a wealth of experience in the Town Planning industry, as former Head of Planning for a Council and UK Planning & Land Director for a large PLC property company she knows her way through the planning system from a unique perspective, which is why she labels herself as a ‘Gamekeeper turned Poacher’.

With a passion for town planning which began through seeing the decline of the coal mining community where Chris lived, evolved an amazing career built from a love of people and places and how they influence one another.

Chris Pipe said, “I am thrilled and honoured to receive this award, the calibre of other finalists was awe inspiring. I’m delighted to be recognised by this prestigious award and ecstatic to be flying the flag for North East businesses.

Chris launched Planning House in 2016 as an independent planning consultancy based in East Durham, services cover a wide range of planning matters, and specialises in residential development. Through her experience and by understanding client needs Chris ensures that the right approach is taken for each project.

The ethos behind Planning House is to provide no-nonsense, realistic support and advice for clients but with a personal service being at the core of the business.   For more information visit www.planninghouse.co.uk

ipse New to Freelance WINNER 2018

Chris Pipe Winner New Freelancers of the Year
ipse New to Freelance winner

Every year IPSE searches for the UK’s best independent professionals that represent the expertise and diversity of freelancing.

Winners were announced at an awards ceremony held on National Freelancers Day (28th June 2018) at Kings Place, London.  This year Chris Pipe, Director of Planning House was awarded National New Freelancer of the Year.