A Fair Settlement?

A fair settlement? An insight into the Thorpe Arch Trading Estate settlement proposal

It will be interesting to see the outcome of another major scheme that is currently at appeal, this time at Thorpe Arch Trading Estate (TATE), Wetherby. The Public Inquiry for a new village in this location was suspended this month and will reopen in November. Northern Planners initially advised the local Parish Council on its position with respect to the Planning Application. The Inquiry into the redevelopment of this former World War II Ordnance Factory site has been wide ranging looking at housing land supply, contamination, heritage, biodiversity, design, transport and viability issues. A new settlement at TATE would certainly change the geography of this part of Leeds City Council’s patch. Not everyone locally welcomes that!


Weighing it all up

As with all planning judgments, the Inspector at the TATE Inquiry will have to see if the benefits of the proposed development outweigh its disbenefits (or costs). It is interesting to see that, leading Think Tank, the Institute for Government, last month published new research into the technique of formal cost benefit analysis as applied to large infrastructure projects like HS2 and Hinckley Point. The Institute’s report, ‘How to Value Infrastructure: Improving Cost Benefit Analysis’ notes the over optimism of many cost forecasts and the tendency of public sector projects to overrun by millions of pounds. It also notes the unwillingness of project promoters to undertake post development evaluations of whether or not things turn out as rosy as predicted. Well worth a look!


National Planning Changes Consultation

Also out last month, for consultation is the Government’s proposals for how Council’s should calculate local need for different types of housing, getting Councils to cooperate properly with each other when making Local Plans, improving the use of Section 106 planning agreements and allowing better performing Councils to increase their Planning Application Fees. On planning agreements the Government’s proposal is that the National Planning Policy Framework will be amended to clarify that where policy requirements have been tested for their viability in a Local Plan, the issue should not usually need to be tested again at the planning application stage. A possible 20% increase in Planning Application Fees is being mooted for Councils that deliver the homes that their areas need. The consultation is seeking views on the detailed criteria on how this should be judged. The deadline for views on ‘Planning for the Right Homes in the Right Places’ ends on 9th November.

‘Champing’ and ‘Glamping’

‘Champing’ and ‘Glamping’ – spotlight on a different type of Church Service and Bijou Beds for Beverley

‘Champing’ is the practice of using redundant churches for camping. The Churches Conservation Trust promotes the use of certain of its churches in this way from March to September. Visitors are issued with a Checklist that advises them on what is and isn’t allowed in order to ensure as low an impact as possible on these important heritage assets whilst allowing guests to enjoy their charm as an unusual place to stay. However, as reported recently in the Daily Telegraph and the Christian Today website, champing is changing. Moves are apparently afoot to place things on a more sophisticated footing. Instead of expecting paying tourists to squeeze a sleeping bag in between the pews, Ruth Knight from the Church of England has announced that churches whether redundant or in regular use, may be kitted out in future with special, luxury glamping pods. The first candidate for installation of such a luxurious pod is St. Michael’s Church at Dulas in Herefordshire, a Grade 2 Listed Building. Both Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent were required for this novel scheme which includes insertion of a bedroom cabin with flue and kitchen within the church’s interior space and provision of car parking/access improvements outside. Giving the go ahead, the enlightened Planning Officer, Mr Matt Tompkins said:

The scheme has been developed in a way that is largely reversible so its impact on the historic structure will be minimal although it will of course radically change the quality and the character of the internal space. The insertion of a pod is supported given its ability to retain the character of the internal space with minimal intrusion into its fabric. On this basis, the development proposal is not considered to give rise to heritage harm. In this instance, the application affects a Grade II listed building, a Local Wildlife Site, an unregistered park and garden and the wider rural landscape. However, in each instance, I have concluded that the development proposal is detailed as to avoid detrimental harm to these environmental assets. Otherwise, it is accepted that the use of the church for holiday accommodation would inherently give rise to a economic benefit to the rural area.’

Last month the East Riding of Yorkshire Council granted planning permission for one of our client’s proposals for an upmarket glamping site near Beverley. Working with Salt Architects, Northern Planners put together a Planning Application for a well-sited and well-designed rural tourism site on the outskirts of Molescroft that makes the most of an attractive countryside location forming part of a working farm actively diversifying into new sectors, including visitor accommodation. Our Beverley Office Manager, Gemma Owston said:

‘It’s a great little scheme that we have been able to put together with the Client and Architect, though not without its challenges. After a Defra grant award, we had to come up with a strategy that we hoped would deliver a positive planning decision before Christmas. Our knowledge of local planning policy and related information has been key in addressing potential issues with flood risk and ensuring a focused and cost-effective approach to information requirements. This high quality glamping development proposal means bijou beds for Beverley.’


Our Recent Successes

From the Planning ‘Oscars’ in Hullywood

 Firstly to this year’s regional planning awards presided over by the Yorkshire Branch of the Royal Town Planning Institute, in Hull on 14th September. Our Senior Planner colleague, David Hickling was mentioned in despatches for his professional contribution to the Cottingham Neighbourhood Plan. He worked alongside Integreat Plus to put together the Plan which received a commendation from the Judging Panel. The Judges said:

This is a high quality and comprehensive Neighbourhood Plan, containing an impressive amount of professional input, including a Design Guide, and Development Principles for allocated sites, and it is clear that significant efforts have been expended in consulting with, and ensuring participation by, local people. This process has resulted in an outstanding example of neighbourhood planning, in which the content can be shown to have been derived from local needs and aspirations.  It should be regarded as a level to which other neighbourhood plans should aspire.’

David, is delighted to have helped mould the community’s ideas into viable planning proposals. Modest as ever, he commented thus on his accolade:

‘It’s great for our efforts to be acknowledged in this way. Good plans make for good planning decisions on applications and ensure new development is sustainable and embraced by local people. This award from our peers is a hallmark of quality planning advice.’

 We are also currently working with Integreat Plus to assist residents of Oxenhope, Bradford with their emerging Neighbourhood Plan. They are obviously in good hands!


Local Industrial Estate to host National Research Project

Also, last month Northern Planners have won permission for premises at Copgrove Industrial Estate, nearby Knaresborough to be used to test a new breed of electricity pylons. The project is part of a major, Ofgem-funded initiative to improve the look of these structures and reduce their impact on the environment. The new designs will be based on monopoles rather than the traditional lattice-type pylons.


Our Senior Planner, Amy Naylor led the work and had this to say:

‘This project will change the future appearance of powerlines and better protect the British landscape. We have worked closely with Harrogate Borough Council to address all the key issues for the development at Copgrove and we are delighted to have securing the consent.’

Selby Council is looking for development sites!

Selby District Council is looking for local landowners and developers to put forward land/buildings suitable for future development.

The period for putting forward your sites runs from the beginning of October until late November.

Northern Planners are well-placed to promote our clients’ sites as part of this exercise. With experienced Policy Planners in our team, we know the Council’s preferred selection criteria and are able to use our planning skills to ensure a good match.


Helen Gregory, the Council’s Planning Policy Manager has told us ‘this is the last opportunity to suggest new sites’ before the Plan is finalised.


Get in touch today to see how we can advance the development potential of your assets in Selby’s Local Plan process.

Knaresborough’s Neighbourhood Development Plan

This week Knaresborough Town Council published a draft version of the new Neighborhood Development Plan.

If this plan is adopted it will become a legal document which will be consulted for all planning applications until 2035. 

The next seven weeks are designated as a formal public consultation period. This is an opportunity for all members of the community to have a say on the future of Knaresborough.

If you would like to drop into one of these local consultation sessions, the dates (along with the proposal document) can be found using the link below:


We have also posted this useful flowchart illustrating the next steps in the Neighbourhood Planning process following consultation.


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!