Our clients own a converted outbuilding in the open countryside but was clearly too small for their family requirements. An initial application was submitted by themselves which was promptly refused as being too large. Upon our instruction we argued that a smaller extension would be the direction to go rather than fight a refused permission. They agreed and redesigned the extension. Even though we spoke at committee on their behalf and the planning officer was 'sympathetic' to the family's needs this second application was also refused. A third submission was also turned down on the basis that it was too large. A fourth application however was finally approved and whilst not fully meeting the clients' requirements it does give them hope that in the future they could apply to extend again to achieve their ambitions. The clients' tenacity paid off here, but it was disappointing that slavish adherence to a subjective design policy was not interpreted in a more sympathetic manner.
Owen Devenport were recently engaged by long term clients, North Wales Police, to assist with an application to vary a condition to allow the use of their firing range by other authorised organisations such as gun clubs, rather than restricting its use to just the Force and other emergency services.
The application submission required that we provide a detailed report highlighting that the proposal would not change the character of the use, and instead would allow more effective use of the firing range and would provide income to offset its cost to the tax payer. Detailed information was also provided on the controls that would be put in place to manage the use of the site by other organisations, and following discussions with Officers a suitable set of measures was agreed with the application recommended for approval by Officers at the Planning Committee.
During discussion of the application at the Committee concerns from local residents as to the potential increased risk and fear of gun crime were raised by Councillors, which resulted in the Committee voting to refuse the application. However, following the Committee meeting the Authority’s Planning Officers contacted us expressing their concerns with the decision and the potential for an award of costs against the Authority in any subsequent appeal. We endorsed these views and raised our concerns as to the quality of the decision, and subsequently the application was returned to Committee where Councillors sensibly opted to approve the application.
Owen Devenport were contacted by a client who had demolished an existing house and begun work on building a replacement dwelling but had done so unaware of the need for Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent.
Having examined the detailed information and photographs collected by our client it became clear that he had undertaken the work in good faith, and that the existing dwelling was of no historic interest due to its poor quality and the fact that it appeared to have been extensively re-built in the last 20-25 years by the previous owner. It was also clear that the replacement building that our client intended to erect would be a substantial improvement from the pre-existing building. This case was put to the Council along with an argument that the staging of the works meant that the existing use of the site had been retained.
Following the initial submission extensive discussions were held with the Authority that required detailed input and pressure from ourselves to persuade the Planning Officers of the merits of the case, and assistance with negotiations on amendments to the design and an agreed scheme of works to preserve the remaining historic elements of the building in order to secure the support of the Council’s Conservation Officer.
This resulted in our client gaining retrospective Planning and Listed Building Consent to retain and complete the house, where previously he had faced the prospect of losing the residential use of the site and the requirement to demolish his partially constructed home.
We were contacted by a Local Architect to assist with a site where an application had been recently refused for a new dwelling as the Council had considered that the previous design would be out of character with the area and would harm neighbouring residents’ amenity. The Architect had produced a new scheme but the Council had stated in discussions with her that they did not feel that their concerns had been overcome.
We visited the site and looked over the new scheme and felt that the changes made had addressed the grounds for the previous refusal. We then put together a detailed submission setting out the changes made in the new scheme to ensure that the proposal would not harm neighbouring residents’ amenity, and setting out a detailed assessment of how the proposal would reflect the character of other development in the area.
Following consideration of our arguments the Authority agreed with our case and approved the application, with the result that our clients have gained a valuable permission for a new dwelling.
A homeowner contacted us to assist with a refused application to retain an extension built to his house without permission. The application had been refused by the Council as they were concerned that the garden area left for the property was too small to be acceptable. Having examined the plans of the building we considered that the extension was only a small amount larger than that which could have been built without the need for planning permission. In addition our client was also willing to remove an existing garage which would help to address the Council’s concerns.
We put together a case highlighting the above, and submitted it alongside improved plans prepared by a Local Architect, which resulted in the Council approving the application and allowing our clients to retain their addition to their home.
Our client wanted to lay down a new track and improved access to her development, which was for the conversion of outbuildings into 4 holiday dwellings. The Local Planning Authority supported the application saying it was akin to any other agricultural track in the area. However the Planning Committee saw fit to refuse permission.
In the ensuing appeal the Planning Inspector had no problem in allowing this track, which in his view had substantial benefits in terms of an improved access onto the adjoining highway. He took full account of the neighbour’s objections and dismissed them as having any planning substance. He allowed the appeal with conditions and a very pleased client was delighted at the outcome.