More Planning Success at Moor Monkton

Northern Planners have done it again. We have just won planning permission for the conversion and extension of a large outbuilding to residential use at Wheatsheaf Farm, Church Lane, Moor Monkton. This has been a challenge as Council Officers initially resisted the proposals alleging overshadowing, overbearing and overlooking effects and stability issues. Senior Planner, Amy Naylor explains:

‘We had to withdraw the original Application in order to undertake assessments to prove to the Council that their concerns were unfounded. Whilst time consuming, this approach has yielded the right result.’

One of the assessments was a Daylight and Sunlight Assessment to gauge the pre and post development levels of light, undertaken in-house by the Northern Planners Team. We are able to secure a whole range of reports of this type to provide the evidence necessary to refute the spurious claims of Councils and objectively show that development is acceptable. The Moor Monkton consent is particularly satisfying as the village is not one earmarked for housing.

 

Eye of Newt and wing of Bat for a Charm of Powerful (Winter) Trouble

Apologies to Shakespeare but as we head past Halloween and further into Autumn, the changing seasons can begin to play potential havoc with the programming of client’s development projects.

This is because, some projects might have consequences for wildlife and Councils may ask for ecological surveys that can’t be carried out until Spring/Summer.

Here at Northern Planners we take a pragmatic approach to this problem. We know that delaying a project can have major implications for our clients.

Bats can be an issue in relation to barn conversions for example (see ‘Q Class Conversions for Agricultural Buildings – Some Pitfalls’ article elsewhere on this blog). Newts may be suspected if a pond is nearby a development site.

Indeed, Newts are a modern bête-noire in planning and development, so much so that the Government is currently running a pilot project to test district-level licensing for Great Crested Newts. This strategic approach is experimenting with replacing site-by-site licensing with a new system of authority-wide licensing, with surveys and habitat compensation undertaken proactively at the district level by Natural England and the local authority. Time will tell if this approach will work and be any better than the current set-up.

We have often thought that wildlife conservation in planning should work along the following (common sense) lines:

  • The Council should provide a decent rationale to the Applicant that there is a reasonable likelihood that a species is present.
  • The Applicant should automatically be able to adopt the ‘worse-case’ scenario i.e. it is assumed that the species are there, without having to fund expensive surveys or surveys that can’t actually be undertaken due to seasonal constraints.
  • A full mitigation approach should be adopted by the Applicant and accepted by the Council.
  • Planning permission should require the mitigation measures to be implemented in full.
  • The Applicant can subsequently carry out surveys if they wish/when the time is appropriate and ask for the mitigation measures to be waived or amended based on this evidence.