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Planning case studies

Some more recent cases which we have been involved with

The Situation – Objection to Emerging Development Plan, Middlesbrough

Client: Medium Sized Business

An emerging Development Plan Document proposed extensive housing and other development around our client’s property, a Grade II Listed Building set in a wider parkland. Our client was concerned about the impact of the proposed development on their property and on their business.

The Solution
Over a number of years we participated in the preparation of the Plan and ultimately attended the Examination in Public and spoke in support of the detailed objections that had been submitted to the emerging Plan.

The Result
The Inspector agreed with the objections raised, the Council amended the emerging Plan to take out elements of concern. The amended Plan which was subsequently adopted.

The Situation – Personal Occupancy Condition, Stockton

Client: Private Individual

A temporary planning permission had been granted. This expired and subsequently a permanent but personal planning permission had been granted. That the permission was personal caused problems to the client for a range of reasons.

The Solution
An application was submitted to remove the condition which limited occupation to a named person on the basis that the condition was not reasonable or necessary. The application was refused, an appeal was submitted and subsequently considered at a hearing.

The Result
The Inspector allowed the appeal finding there was no justification for the personal occupancy restriction having regard to the Development Plan and material considerations. He awarded costs against the Council finding their decision unreasonable.

The Situation – Objection to Planning Application for Flats in Conservation Area, Newcastle upon Tyne

Client: Private Individual

An application was submitted for the erection of 22 flats in the Jesmond Dene Conservation Area. Our client, along with a number of other local residents, was concerned as to the impact of the proposed development on the Conservation Area and other interests of acknowledged importance.

The Solution
We were instructed to object by our client who liaised with a number of other local residents in commissioning ourselves. Detailed objections were submitted as to why the proposed development was not acceptable when assessed against the Development Plan and wider material considerations including the Jesmond Dene Conservation Area Management Plan.

The Result
The applicant decided to withdraw the application. This meant that a decision was not made and that was the end of the matter, there being no right of appeal.

The Situation – Objection to Planning Application proposing change of use of dwelling to care home for adults with learning difficulties, Newcastle upon Tyne

Client: Private Individuals

A planning application was submitted to change the use of a dwellinghouse (Use Class C3) to a residential care home (Use Class C2) for up to three adults with learning difficulties. Our client, along with a number of other local residents, was concerned in a number of respects as to the impact of the proposed development.

The Solution
A detailed letter of objection was submitted to the Council and we subsequently spoke against the application at the Council’s Planning Committee. The Council’s Planning Committee resolved to approve the application and planning permission was subsequently granted.

An application for Judicial Review in the Courts was subsequently made. The application was assessed and the case accepted for Review.

The Result
Following acceptance of the case for Judicial Review, the Council advised they would not contest the matter and the planning application was withdrawn bringing the matter to a close.

The Situation – Unauthorised use of a caravan as a residential dwelling, Darlington

Client: Private Individual

Our client had submitted an application for a Certificate of Lawfulness seeking to confirm their use of a caravan as a residential dwelling was lawful. The application and a subsequent appeal were dismissed. The Council were considering instigating enforcement action.

The Solution
A further application for a Certificate of Lawfulness was submitted with additional evidence seeking to confirm the use of land for the stationing of a residential caravan was lawful.

The Result
A Certificate of Lawfulness was granted.

The Situation – Proposed Private Gypsy Site, Stockton

Client: Private Individual

Our client wished to establish a private gypsy site in Stockton and a planning application was submitted. A number of months after the target date for the determination of the application it remained undetermined.

The Solution
An appeal was submitted against the Council’s non determination of the application. The Council subsequently resolved that they would have refused planning permission. The appeal was subsequently heard by way of a hearing.

The Result
The appeal was allowed and planning permission was granted subject to conditions.

The Situation – Enforcement Notice – Unauthorised Paintball Ground, Durham

Client: Small Business

Our client had established an unauthorised paintball ground in Durham. Two planning applications had been refused and an appeal against the second refusal had just been dismissed. We were approached following the Council’s service of an Enforcement Notice seeking the cessation of the use and the removal of items from the site.

The Solution
We advised in our view it was not appropriate on the facts of the case to appeal the Enforcement Notice on the grounds that planning permission should be granted.

Appeals were submitted that the steps required by the Notice were excessive and also that the time period for compliance was too short. It was also submitted that the Notice was a nullity it being insufficiently precise.

The Result
The Inspector varied the Notice to address the precision issue. The time period for compliance with the Notice was delayed until a date that our client was content with.

The Situation – Proposed Dwelling, Northumberland

Client: Estate

Following a review of the client’s assets a potential opportunity was identified for an infill plot in a settlement.

Following pre-application discussions with the Council a planning application was made but during the course of the application issues arose in relation to drainage and the Coal Authority raised objection. To avoid the refusal of the application it was withdrawn.

The Solution
A re-application was submitted. During the course of the re-application further negotiation was required with the water authority and the scheme was further revised to overcome their concerns. The Coal Authority maintained their position and required further expensive intrusive work to be undertaken. Our client was not keen to do whilst the principle of a new dwelling had not been established and as such would have been at risk.

The Result
Following negotiation the Coal Authority agreed the further work they required could be covered by way of a condition. Planning permission was subsequently granted.

The Situation – Change of Use of General Industrial Building, Sunderland

Client Medium Sized Business

Our client had outgrown their existing premises and needed to secure alternative premises due to the continued growth of their business. Some grant funding had been sourced to contribute towards this.
An existing building measuring approximately 5,600 square metres in size was identified. However, it was in Class B2 (General Industry) use and planning permission was required for change of use to Class B8 (Storage and Distribution), office and work shop accommodation and various other alterations.

The Solution
A planning application was submitted for the required change of use, office and workshop accommodation and other alterations. After some negotiation the matter was referred to the Council’s Planning Committee with a recommendation of approval.

The Result
The Council’s Planning Committee followed the recommendation and planning permission granted subject to 2 conditions.

The Situation – Residential Development in the Green Belt, Gateshead

Our client owned an area of land in the Green Belt and wanted it to be developed. Over a period of time it had been established and agreed that the site was brownfield.

In a previous appeal decision an Inspector had found that the site could accommodate the development proposed in that scheme without harm to the Green Belt. The appeal however was dismissed on the grounds that any review of Green Belt boundaries should take place through the Local Plan process.

The Solution
Following a change in national planning policy, permission was granted for a single dwelling on the site. In parallel representations had been submitted over a period of years to the emerging Plan asking that the site be removed from the Green Belt. These were presented at the Examination in Public and in representations on Proposed Modifications which were subsequently issued.

The Result
The Inspector accepted the Council’s argument that because the Plan is making strategic allocations, small sites had not been fully investigated. He continued that this did not mean that the housing contribution from small previously developed sites such as this should be ignored. He noted he had been advised that there may be potential for 20 – 30 dwellings on similar sites across the Borough.

He concluded that because the Council was preparing its Local Plan in two stages, it should consider whether very minor Green Belt adjustments to sites such as this are warranted at the next stage of Plan preparation.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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