November 2020

Sheffield Local Plan Issues and Options Consultation

DLP has made representations on behalf of various clients to the first stage of the preparation of the Local Plan which is due to cover the period to 2038.

Submissions were made in accordance with the consultation deadline of the 13th October 2020 and DLP made clear that a growth agenda was required to support the economic objectives of the City and to reflect its role within the city region.

One of the projects DLP are engaged upon, the Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation District (AMID) and the University of Sheffield Innovation District (USID) will deliver high skilled employment as sought by the Local and Strategic Economic Plans for the city region. DLP argued that the release of land around the former Sheffield Airport, from the Green Belt, and other sustainable locations, is needed to continue to encourage this investment.

DLP also argued that accommodation and housing to meet the distinct needs of families, an ageing population and students must also be planned for. There is a shortfall in the availability of appropriate housing, particularly family and elderly accommodation, whilst purpose-built student accommodation has underpinned much of the city centre regeneration development in recent years.

Ensuring that strategic housing policies meet the growth agenda, which DLP suggest is 2,300 dwellings per annum, based on the growth objectives, will require the release of land from the Green Belt. This however will assist in meeting the accommodation needs of different age profiles and types and will help to create a fairer and healthier city.

John HelyarSheffield Local Plan Issues and Options Consultation
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Former Methodist Chapel Conversion Approved

DLP has assisted Cornerstone Property Investments to obtain full planning permission for the change of use of the former Methodist Church in Bristol for six 1-bed flats.

The former chapel, a locally valued heritage building, had been vacant for two years and was falling into disrepair. DLP worked with GSH Architects and Armour Heritage to present full evidence of how the historic elements of the building would be retained and enhanced.

Key elements were negotiated with the LPA including new doors in the least publicly visible elevations and windows to increase natural daylight for each of the new flats, creating a sympathetic conversion.

The application was considered by Members because of its departure from highways standards, and a Transport Assessment by SDD made the case that the building could, alternatively, be converted to alternative traffic/parking-heavy uses such as a children’s nursery, under permitted development rights. The proposed residential conversion was seen to be more sustainable in this respect

DLP presented arguments at Committee on the need to bring the building back into use, adding to the local mix of housing in a sustainable location. The Members agreed, voting to approve. The building will now be fully refurbished and converted, bringing this attractive building back into use.

John HelyarFormer Methodist Chapel Conversion Approved
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Committee approve mixed-use development in Newport Pagnell

DLP, acting on behalf of the Milton Keynes Development Partnership (MKDP), have secured a resolution to grant planning permission for the development of some 45 hectares of land at Tickford Fields Farm, Milton Keynes for a mixed-use, residential-led development.

The site, which was allocated in the Newport Pagnell Neighbourhood Plan, was master-planned by BE1 Architects, and the scheme was approved by Milton Keynes Council’s Planning Committee in September 2020. It will provide circa 930 new homes, a new local centre with a small supermarket, additional shops, and a health centre/community facility, as well as a 2-form entry school primary school, with a pre-school facility.

The scheme also provides extensive provision for greenspace (11 ha), and this includes sports fields/ new sports provision, informal recreation and play areas and substantial landscaping/green corridors.

Provision is also made for a network of footpaths and cycleways, plus a bus link onto the main highway route, created within the site.

DLP led and project managed the preparation of the planning application, including management of the EIA process, the production of an Environmental Statement and the Design and Access Statement. DLP also produced a Statement of Community Involvement and led engagement with key stakeholders including Milton Keynes Council, Newport Pagnell Town Council and the coordination of a public exhibition attended by over 500 people.

The application was unanimously approved by Councillors at the Milton Keynes Development Control Committee, subject to a memorandum of understanding, requiring a Section 106 agreement is completed on the sale of the land so as to ensure that sufficient infrastructure is provided as part of the development. This is to include significant contributions towards pedestrian, cycle and vehicular highways improvements, school provision and public transport.

5078-PL02-Rev C_Indicative Masterplan_01

John HelyarCommittee approve mixed-use development in Newport Pagnell
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Local Plan – Call for Sites

DLP has recently been actively promoting sites in the Call for Sites consultations in Bedford, Cambridgeshire, Cherwell, North West Leicestershire and Sheffield (see below) through the months of August and September.

The Call for Sites process is one of the first steps in identifying land for development by local planning authorities and informs the preparation of development plans, in particular site allocations. As part of this process LPA’s are obliged to assess all sites submitted to them and this then forms the background evidence base.

The recent emergence of the draft Planning White Paper highlights the ever-growing importance of the Call for Sites process and how vital it will become in ensuring that suitable sites are identified and brought forward for development early in the preparation of a new Local Plan.

DLP assists clients who have land that they wish to promote for development. Additionally, DLP will monitor the progress of sites, and advise on the subsequent stages of the Plan making process.

John HelyarLocal Plan – Call for Sites
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Pirate Studios – 42-56 Tottenham Road, Dalston N1 4BZ

Pirate Studios is headquartered in London and is a global studio rental company that offers 24/7 self-service access to recording studios. Studios are provided for multiple purposes, including for the recording of music tracks, either by individuals or bands, for the production of DJ sets, or simply for music practice. The studio space is flexible and can be rented by the hour through an online booking system.

DLP has been working with Pirate Studios since 2017, providing advice and obtaining permission on a number of projects, largely involving the re-use of vacant buildings to accommodate recording and dance studios.  Past projects have also included successful change of use consents in Dublin and Amsterdam.

Last year, DLP secured planning permission for the change of use of a property at 42-56 Tottenham Road to be used as a recording studio. More recently, we achieved Advertisement Consent for one fascia and one projecting sign and Full Consent for the installation of a cooling unit and associated works to the property.  These consents assist in promoting the business and increasing awareness of the facilities available in the area.

John HelyarPirate Studios – 42-56 Tottenham Road, Dalston N1 4BZ
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Changes to the Use Classes Order

It has now been over a month since the changes to the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 came into effect on 1 September 2020, through the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020. The main driver of change has been the aim to enable a repurposing of buildings on high streets and in town centres quickly and in response to changing demand.

The new Regulations introduced radical changes by revoking Parts A and D of the original Use Classes, increasing the number of uses identified as Sui Generis and introducing three new Use Classes as follows:

  • Use Class E (Commercial, business and service)
  • Use Class F.1 (Learning and non-residential institutions)
  • Use Class F.2 (Local community)

Changes of use within the same class are not classified as development.

One of the most significant changes, is the introduction of new Use Class E which has amalgamated A1, A2, A3, B1a, B1b, B1c and part D1 and D2 uses into one use class, allowing flexibility of uses without the need for planning permission.

However, the new changes have also resulted in original uses classes A4, A5 and D2 being classified as Sui Generis. This means that planning permission will now be required for changes of certain uses including pubs, takeaways, gyms, and indoor recreation.

The greater flexibility between certain uses (e.g. within Use Class E) is likely to make it harder for local authorities to be able to forecast the needs of different commercial uses such as retail and office. They will also lose control over certain changes of use, so may seek to control changes by imposing conditions or the use of Article 4 directions.

Certain aspects of these changes, and the processes that preceded them, are already being challenged in the Courts and DLP are monitoring the outcome of these deliberations.

John HelyarChanges to the Use Classes Order
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Changes to Permitted Development Rights

A number of immediate changes have been made to the Town and Country Planning General Permitted Development Order (2015) since March 2020, partly in response to the COVID-19 situation and partly to reflect the Government’s commitment to increasing the delivery of new homes.

The first update was made on 23 March 2020, in order to allow for restaurants, cafes and drinking establishments to temporarily provide takeaway food (from 24 March 2020 until 23 March 2021).

The second update made on 7 April 2020, created a new Class A within a new Part 12A of the Order, allowing for emergency development by a local authority or health service body until 31 December 2020. After this date, any buildings and plant created, are required to be removed within 12 months of the cease of use.

The third and most significant change announced on 23 June 2020 was in relation to Part 20 Class A to allow for the addition of up to two storeys to the top of purpose-built detached blocks of flats.  Such proposals are subject to certain restrictions including the building being built between 1 July 1948 and 5 March 2018 and not being a listed building or in a conservation area. Applications for this new development are by way of prior notification.

In addition, from 31 August 2020, the scope to develop additional storeys for residential purposes, has been extended to include, under Class AA, the enlargement of a dwelling house by up to two additional storeys. In addition, Classes AB, AC and AD allow for the construction of up to two additional storeys on terraced or semi-detached properties in commercial or mixed use. All are subject to prior approval applications and a number (thirteen) of prior approval matters apply.

John HelyarChanges to Permitted Development Rights
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Local Authority Consultancy – Priors Hall Park

DLP has become increasingly active in public sector planning, assisting local authorities with policy work in the form of evidence-based studies through our Strategic Planning Research Unit (SPRU) and development management work for various Councils across the UK.

In September 2019, DLP’s Rugby Office was appointed to assist East Northamptonshire Council in the determination of an outline planning application for up to 3,500 dwellings, including strategic open space, sport and community facilities, primary schools, and local centres at Priors Hall Park, Corby.

The application site straddles two local authority areas, so we have been working closely with officers at both East Northamptonshire Council and Corby Borough Council, plus the applicant, Urban & Civic. Our expertise was secured through a Planning Performance Agreement to process the application through to a presented recommendation at Planning Management Committee on 11th November 2020, when local councillors resolved to grant planning permission subject to a detailed S106.

The process has essentially involved DLP taking on the case officer role to deal with all aspects of the application, including S106 and viability negotiations. DLP integrated with the local authority’s data management system to ensure seamless transmission of information in terms of consultee comments and application correspondence.

Relationships are important, especially in respect of cross-boundary matters on strategic sites. Regular client meetings enabled us to keep the Council informed on progress and resolve any issues in a timely manner. Similarly, structured, and frequent development team meetings with the applicant kept timescales in check and maintained successful working relationships, even when challenging issues needed to be resolved and future actions agreed.

John HelyarLocal Authority Consultancy – Priors Hall Park
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Eden Brae

DLP, working with BE1 Architects, recently gained planning permission on behalf of Gleneden Plant Sales Ltd at Eden Brae Business Park, Dunstable Road, Caddington for the erection of a new workshop building and area of open storage.

The proposal sought to promote the expansion of the local business; Gleneden Plant Sales Limited, from their current site at Blackcat Roundabout in Bedford, to the site at Eden Brae Business Park, Dunstable Road, Caddington. The business saw an opportunity to provide a scaled back level of provision at the existing site, which in part is to be used to accommodate the remodelling works at the Blackcat Roundabout (by Highways England).

The application site is heavily constrained and is located within the Green Belt and within close vicinity of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. DLP assessed the impact of the proposed development on the character and appearance of the surrounding area and concluded that this would be neutral as the proposed new building would not be visible from outside the site, due to the high levels of existing screening. This includes the built form of the Eden Brae Business Park and the mixture of natural boundaries such as trees and hedgerows.

Despite the Council’s initial reservations regarding the proposal, DLP were able to successfully demonstrate the advantages that the proposal would bring to the site and the local area and the application was approved. Development is expected to commence shortly.

John HelyarEden Brae
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Appeal Success Achieving the tilted balance though paragraph 213 of the NPPF

Appeal Success Achieved through the tilted balance argument (Land East of Williamthorpe Road and South of Tibshelf Road, Holmewood, Derbyshire).

DLP Planning’s Strategic Planning Research Unit (SPRU) assisted in securing outline planning permission on appeal, on behalf of Inspire Design for up to 250 dwellings on a site in Holmewood, North East Derbyshire. SPRU’s Roland Bolton appeared as the planning witness, SDD’s Anna Meer appeared as a transport witness, and worked alongside DLA Piper’s Claire Stoneman and Andrew Batterton, No5’s Peter Goatley and Christian Hawley, Pegasus’ Jeremy Peachey.

The outline application was recommended for approval by Officers but was subsequently refused at Committee with the single reason for refusal being landscape character and appearance of the area. The Council possessed an undisputed eight-year housing land supply, however, the Inspector found that the tilted balance was engaged (paragraph 213 of the NPPF), after agreeing with the appellant’s approach to the identification of the basket of most ‘important policies’, and then finding two out of the three of the ‘most important’ policies as being out of date. (Reference: Planning Inspectorate APP/R1038/W/20/3251224: Land East of Williamthorpe Road and South of Tibshelf Road, S42 5T).

John HelyarAppeal Success Achieving the tilted balance though paragraph 213 of the NPPF
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