Ways to beat the system, or just plain crazy?

  1. Dwellings in the countryside

For many people, the idea of building their own home in the countryside is a dream which often unfortunately fails become a reality. The restrictions of national and local planning policy are usually some of the reasons why.

Paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that local planning authorities should avoid new isolated homes in the countryside unless there are ‘special circumstances’. These circumstances include the exceptional quality or innovative nature of the design of the dwelling. This is national policy; it’s in the name.

But is there a way around this? One Appellant based in Essex has certainly found a way!

In brief, a Planning Inspector recently allowed an isolated dwelling in the countryside after determining that the dwelling’s design (which comprised a two-bed chalet style dwelling constructed from straw bales) was locally innovative. He recorded that the council had not directed him to any similar projects locally where the simple method of straw bale construction had been employed as part of an overall design philosophy. Accordingly, he found that the overall project was locally innovative and had the potential to raise the environmental standards and diversity of design in the vicinity.

There is, of course, nothing specifically in paragraph 55 of the NPPF which states that the ‘exceptional quality or innovative nature of the design’ test is set at a national level.

This case lowers the bar than previously thought.

(Article source: DCP online)

(Photo source: www.dellavallearchitects.co.uk)


2. Extensions via Permitted Development

Many of us know that there are certain modifications we can do to our house without the need for planning permission, such as side and rear extensions. This is what is known as Permitted Development.

However, there are certain restrictions to this, one of which includes that an extension would not be Permitted Development if ‘the enlarged part of the dwellinghouse would extend beyond a wall forming a side elevation of the original dwellinghouse and have a width greater than half the width of the original dwellinghouse’

Interestingly though, an Appellant has recently convinced an inspector that a side extension and a rear extension to his house in north London are permitted development because there would be a 5mm gap between them.

The inspector accepted that if the two elements were joined, then the proposed extensions could not be classed as Permitted Development. He reasoned, however, that the proposal indicated that there would be a gap, and the practicalities of constructing the proposal were not a matter for him to consider

Even we’re struggling to understand this one!

(Source: DCP online)


Permission Granted !!

Congratulations to the team for another successful application!!

Earlier in the year Northern Planners were engaged by Swaythorpe Growers to prepare a planning application for a food processing plant at Sandhill, East Riding adjacent and connected to an existing AD plant. This included submission of an EIA Screening/Scoping Report, which confirmed that the development as envisaged did not require Environmental Impact Assessment. Northern Planners coordinated and managed the application including reviewing input from landscape architects, architects, ecologists, hydrological specialists, archaeologists, transport consultants and noise impact consultants. In-house we prepared the planning application, supporting information, a Design and Access Statement and Planning Statement and liaised with East Riding of Yorkshire Local Planning Authority/ other interested parties.

The application was submitted in late Spring, 2017 and permission was granted in Summer, 2017.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Northern Planners offices are closed from Wednesday 21st December to Tuesday 3rd January.

The team would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!



Northern Planners are at the Harrogate Homebuilding and Renovating Show !


Northern Planners are proud to be exhibiting at this year’s Homebuilding and Renovating Show at Harrogate International Centre from the 4-6th November.

Please come along and join us in Hall A, stand A516 to discuss all matters planning!

We look forward to seeing you at the Show

Harrogate Draft Local Plan ready for consultation



A public consultation on the draft Local Plan for Harrogate Council, including plans to build new homes and options for new settlements in the area, is to go ahead on 11 November 2016.

The new plan is being prepared after recommendation from a planning inspector to withdraw the previous draft plan in 2014.

Harrogate Borough Council will be holding a six week consultation on its Draft Local Plan between 11 November and 23 December 2016. The Plan will guide new development throughout the district and is scheduled for adoption by Autumn 2016. The draft local plan includes:

  • policies to guide development;
  • sites for new homes and jobs;
  • options for a new settlement for the district;
  • allocations for Local Green Space, and;
  • development limits for settlements

The draft Plan will be presented across Harrogate area at public exhibitions in Harrogate, Ripon, Masham, Pateley Bridge, Knaresborough, Boroughbridge and Green Hammerton.

These exhibitions provide the opportunity to view consultation materials and discuss ideas with council planning officers. The Plan will be also available on Harrogate Council’s website.

The consultation documents will also be available to view in all of the district’s libraries and at the council’s main Crescent Gardens offices in Harrogate and at Ripon Town Hall and Knaresborough House.

If you would like to know how the Draft Plan might affect your area or development please contact our team!

Neighbourhood Planning Bill will give more power to local communities

In news that will please many communities, the Government’s recently released Neighbourhood Planning Bill 2016-17 aims to support more housebuilding, provide more local say over developments and speed up the neighbourhood planning process.
The biggest change in the Bill requires Councils to take account of emerging neighbourhood development plans while determining planning applications, not just those that have been formally adopted following a referendum.
The new Bill will also introduce a variety of other changes to the neighbourhood planning system, including a more flexible process for altering neighbourhood plans. The technical consultation document explains that local planning authorities should be able to introduce minor adjustments to neighbourhood plans or orders “at any time without the need for public consultation, examination or referendum”, and proposes a new procedure for minor changes, as long as they are “not so significant or substantial as to change the nature of the plan”.
Another change proposed by the Government would put more pressure on local councils to involve local community while preparing local development plans.
Since introduction of neighbourhood planning around 2,000 communities have taken the decision to produce a neighbourhood development plan.
Get in touch with our friendly team if you would like to know more!

Northern Planners continues to expand


Northern Planners are very pleased to announce a new member of the team with the appointment of Marcin Szczech as a Planning and Environmental Assistant. Marcin has recently graduated from Leeds Beckett university with a first class degree in Human Geography and Planning and aims to become a chartered member of the Royal Town Planning Institute in the coming years.

New Team Member

Northern Planners are thrilled to welcome David Hickling to our team of Chartered Town Planners. Dave has 35 years’ experience in both the public and private sectors, including a spell teaching Planning Law and Procedures at the former Birmingham Polytechnic. For the last 20 years Dave has divided his time between training and research projects, through The Planning Cooperative, and consultancy activities with his former practice, Hickling-Gray Associates.

Office – to – Residential to become permanent!

The Government has confirmed that the current ‘temporary’ permitted development (PD) rights for change of use of offices to homes will be made permanent from April 6th.

The Act that was originally introduced in May 2013 has now been amended in a bid to help solve the current housing shortage.

All applications will still be subject to prior approval, so give us a call (01423 799954) if you require any help with this application process…

Christmas Holiday