‘Shape of Pond’

And now for a non-Yorkshire-based item ….

It isn’t just ordinary folk that have planning problems. For the last 2 years or so, popstar Ed Sheeran has been having issues with his local council, South Suffolk Coastal District Council, culminating in recent enforcement investigations that have been picked up by the national media.

The issues are associated with a pond that Ed developed on arable farmland he owns near Denninington in East Anglia without first seeking planning permission. Consequently, Mr Sheeran submitted a retrospective application for the pond, which gained planning permission in January 2017 for ‘wildlife’ purposes.

However, local people have apparently been claiming that the singer has been using the pond for swimming, leading to the Council having to carry out its own enquiries.

The upshot is that the planning authority have concluded that it does not appear to them at least that the pond is being used for anything other than its authorised use despite its kidney-shaped ‘swimming’ pool layout, the diving board -looking ‘jetty’ and the two sets of convenient ‘maintenance’ access stepping stone steps! The nearby bathing-hut style ‘equipment’ sheds have similarly caused them no worries. We will leave it to you to make your own mind up as to whether this pool lends itself to swimming or not and whether its design should or shouldn’t have been approved.

We contacted the Council and they said:

As a result of the concerns raised, Suffolk Coastal’s Planning Enforcement Team visited the premises. There was no evidence that it is not a wildlife
pond, as plants are growing in and around it, or that the planning condi ons had been broken. We will con nue to monitor the situa on. If anyone has any evidence that these ponds have been used for another purpose, they should provide this informa on to the Suffolk Coastal District
Council Planning Enforcement Team via email at: d.c.enforcement@eastsuffolk.gov.uk or the informa on can be reported online at: h p://www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/planning/planning-enforcement/

If, like Ed, you have fallen foul of the planning rules, don’t panic – just get in touch with us as soon as you can. In these types of case, our advice is aimed at giving you peace of mind.  Northern Planners often help clients who have inadvertently undertaken works that require planning permission. In no small part, this scenario is the result of the complicated system of planning rules that we all now face.  Guiding you through that maze and extricating people out of planning difficulties is part of our expertise.

We wish Ed all the best with his wildlife pond going forward, especially on hot Summer days 😉

Food, Glorious ‘Food’ ! ? ! (and clothes, and multiplex, and …)

Plans for new ‘agri-park’, near Knaresborough, to be submitted June 2019

Being a Yorkshire consultancy of several years standing, we are well aware of the ebb and flow of local planning policy and ‘culture’, and perhaps this has never been as dramatic as in Harrogate District where our North Yorkshire office is based.

Once upon a time the Council’s mission seemed to be to refuse as much development as possible no matter what its merits. But, having made a complete mess of its Local Plan process a few years ago, the Council has been on the back foot, facing mounting development pressure, increasingly out of date local policies and a dwindling land supply.

In these circumstances, a more ‘open door’ approach to growth has emerged – so much so, that recently the Council has been writing to applicants for planning permission telling them that they now have too much development land in the pipeline and would everyone mind a temporary moratorium on decisions!

Against this background, it is unsurprisingly that mega-projects are coming forward that would have been unthinkable even 5 years ago.

One such scheme is the Eataly ‘food-agri park’ proposal announced at the Cannes International Property Conference in March.

Details are scant at the moment. What we do know, however, is that the project will be similar to the company’s existing food and leisure attraction in London, and is proposed on a yet-to-be-announced site covering 188 hectares of land somewhere next to the A1 motorway and will involve 160,000 square metres of commercial, leisure and retail space. A planning application is also promised for submission in June.

Will the ‘food agri-park’ simply resemble a very large out-of-town shopping centre? Or will it be something more innovative?

Will it blend seamlessly in to the local landscape or stick out like the sore thumb of the Allerton Park incinerator?

Will Harrogate planners embrace the proposals or lie down and let this steamroller of a project crush them into the dust?

Only time will tell but our future is in their hands!

A couple of years ago Northern Planners helped local Parish Councils in Leeds district defeat an ill-conceived proposal of a similar scale to turn Thorpe Arch Trading Estate into a ‘new settlement.’  We will wait to see if local people seek our help on the Eataly scheme or welcome it with open arms. Watch this space for further updates.