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Bedford Borough Local Plan Submission Draft Consultation

DLP Planning Ltd, on behalf of a number of clients are instructed to make representations to the Bedford Borough Local Plan Regulation 19 Consultation.

The Plan, which seeks to make provision for some 19000 new dwellings in the period up to 2035, promotes a strategy of allocating land within the urban area and on its edge, in rural settlements, subject to the sites being identified in Neighbourhood Plans and also a new garden village.

DLP have some concerns over both the quantum of development being identified by the Borough in order to meet its unconstrained housing needs and also in the strategy they are seeking to follow, which it believes is undeliverable.

In particular, DLP have concerns over the deliverability of a number of the urban sites identified for development in the Plan, the speed at which rural sites will come forward, given they are reliant upon Neighbourhood Plans being prepared and adopted, and most importantly the new garden village which is proposed to be located on land between Sharnbrook and Souldrop.

DLP have promoted an alternative new settlement proposal on the part brownfield site at Twinwoods to the north of Bedford.  This site was subject to appraisal by the Council, based on an original scoring matrix and was highly scored.  That matrix however, was changed by the Council at a very late stage in favour of one that favours non-road transport solutions and the promoters of the Colworth site have proposed to provide for a new parkway station.  The policy drafted by the Council for the purposes of the Plan require that the station is both built and in operation before any development takes place on the new village and DLP highlight that there are very significant impediments to this such that it is unlikely that the new village would be delivered and provide any meaningful level of housing in the Plan period.

dlpBedford Borough Local Plan Submission Draft Consultation
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Central Bedfordshire Local Plan Consultation on Submission Draft

The Regulation 19 Central Bedfordshire Council Local Plan closed for comment prior to its submission to the Secretary of State on Thursday 22nd February.

DLP Planning Ltd submitted representations on behalf of a number of clients and made formal objections to the Plan based upon the failure of the Council to properly undertake the Duty to Cooperate and in particular on the assessment of housing requirements, which has been a concern for a number of years, and the broader strategy adopted by the Council which fails to provide for a sustainable, infrastructure led Plan as sought by CBC

CBC proposes to release land sufficient to accommodate 39,350 dwellings, however in a critique of the OAN undertaken by DLP (SPRU), that figure is considered to give rise to a shortfall of over 10,000 dwellings.  The Council also propose to increase the allocation via a future review, however DLP have expressed serious concerns as to this approach, which fails to reflect the government advice as set out in the National Framework and PPG to properly meet the housing requirements of the District.

CBC’s own housing requirements are increased as a consequence of its proximity to Luton and the obligation placed on it as a result to accommodate part of Luton’s unmet housing need.  This has long been an issue for Central Bedfordshire and two earlier Local Plans have not proceeded as a consequence of this. There are concerns as to the extent CBC have undertaken this and also how it is intended to occur.

DLP promoted a number of development opportunities which have been excluded from the consultation draft Plan.  In particular, the concept of major development at Barton le Clay to the north of Luton.  Barton lies adjacent to the A6, which is a main strategic transport route which links Luton with Bedford in the north and is a main route way for public transport.  DLP have been promoting development at Barton le Clay as part of a strategic sustainable urban expansion for some years and a range of schemes have been advanced, including development of a new garden village of up to 4000 units which would fund the extension of the dualling of the A6 to the north of Barton le Clay through to Silsoe and thus increase capacity

DLP also submitted representations for sustainable extensions to Dunstable and Flitwick as well as a number of smaller sites.

dlpCentral Bedfordshire Local Plan Consultation on Submission Draft
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Appeal Against Planning Application for Extension of Storage Area – Crossweir Farm Farmyard, Souldrop

DLP Planning Ltd together with Matrix Transport & Infrastructure Planning Consultants are appealing a decision with Bedford Borough Council to refuse planning permission, contrary to Officers advice, for the creation of additional storage on land currently used for open storage at Crossweir Farm, Souldrop.

DLP have acted on behalf of the owner of the site for over 15 years and in that time has established planning permissions for in excess of 40,000ft2 of storage on the land together with open storage.

The appeal proposal will replace an area of open storage used for storing up to 125 caravans, vans and other vehicles, with three built storage units, purpose designed for the site.

There were no technical or third party objections, and the refusal was led by an interjection from the Ward Councillor who disagreed with both the appellants transport assessment and the analysis of that by Officers.

dlpAppeal Against Planning Application for Extension of Storage Area – Crossweir Farm Farmyard, Souldrop
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Green Belt Development Aspley Guise

DLP Planning Ltd have lodged an appeal against the refusal of Central Bedfordshire Council to grant planning permission for the erection of 3 large dwellings on land adjoining within the village of Aspley Guise.  The application followed the grant of consent in 2016 for the erection of two 11,000sqft dwellings on the same land.  An earlier application for the development had been refused on green belt grounds, however, following further discussion with Officers over what DLP considered was a misinterpretation of guidance, a second application was subsequently approved under delegated powers.

The appeal scheme was for 3 dwellings and provides for 3 smaller detached dwellings (7000ft2) on the same site with a lesser total floor space than that approved.  The refusal however was based on impacts on the green belt and DLP in their case will be highlighting the inconsistency in the approach of the Council to this matter.

The appeal is proposed to be heard by way of an Informal Hearing which will take place later in the year.

dlpGreen Belt Development Aspley Guise
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Green Belt Development Goffs Oak, Hertfordshire

DLP Planning Ltd are appearing at a Hearing into an appeal brought by Templeview Developments against Broxbourne Borough Council over its refusal of the development of land at St James Road, Goffs Oak. The appeal site comprises a former horticultural nursery but has been used for residential purposes in excess of 20 years.

An application for residential development of the land was made in June 2016 and this was refused solely on green belt grounds.  DLP, in the application, argued that the site, which lies within a readily defined residential context and comprises previously developed land, accords with the proper interpretation of paragraph 89 of the Framework.

Subsequent to the refusal and following the lodging of the appeal, Broxbourne Council invited a second application based upon its proposed release of the land from the green belt.  Whilst a second application was made, the release of the land was later changed by the Council in favour of other land within the area.

DLP will also be arguing, as they have done successfully elsewhere,  that the ruling of the Court of Appeal in the case of Wood v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2015] EWCA Civ 195, supports their interpretation, and that similar schemes have been allowed, both within the District and elsewhere on this basis.

dlpGreen Belt Development Goffs Oak, Hertfordshire
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Appeal allowed at Land to the North of Longcliffe Road, Grantham, Lincolnshire

An Appeal has been allowed at Land to the North of Longcliffe Road, Grantham, Lincolnshire for a sustainable urban extension of up to 480 dwellings, a neighbourhood centre, a single form entry primary school, ancillary public open space and associated works.

The main issues considered by the Inspector were what effect, if any, there would be on the settings of nearby heritage assets and whether the proposed development would make adequate provision in respect of local infrastructure, including matters such as affordable housing.

Roland Bolton of SPRU provided advice to the Appellant on the five year housing land supply position of the Council. In their evidence, the Council conceded that they were unable to demonstrate a five year supply of deliverable housing sites. As such, Paragraph 49 of the Framework relating to housing land supply ‘triggers’ Paragraph 14 of the Framework in respect of sustainable development and decision-taking.

The appeal was allowed on 19th January 2017.

dlpAppeal allowed at Land to the North of Longcliffe Road, Grantham, Lincolnshire
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Appeal allowed for an infill site within the Green Belt

DLP Planning Ltd (DLP) have successfully overturned a decision of Central Bedfordshire Council against the development of a large, detached dwelling within the Green Belt. The site is located in Aspley Guise and is washed over by the Green Belt, lying outside of the settlement’s identified ‘Green Belt Infill Boundary’.

Within the appeal decision the Inspector agreed with the Appellant’s case,  agreeing that the site constitutes infill development, complementary to the surrounding pattern of development and settlement character, thus falling within the exception category for limited infilling in villages identified by Paragraph 89 of the Framework.

Given the above, the Inspector was convinced by the Appellant’s case that there was no need to assess the effect of development on the openness of the Green Belt, as previous case law has determined that where development is found to be ‘not inappropriate’ it should not be regarded as harmful to the openness or purposes of the Green Belt.

It was thus concluded that the appeal be allowed, with the proposals complying with the Framework and considered to be in keeping with the character and appearance of the area.

dlpAppeal allowed for an infill site within the Green Belt
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Planning Permission Granted for Private Rented Apartment Scheme

We are delighted to have secured planning permission for a 7-storey residential building comprising 62 no. apartments (16 no. studios and 46 no. one-bed apartments) with associated access, parking and landscaping works on a city centre site at Stepney Street in Sheffield.

Working with Officers of the Local Planning Authority and liaising with Network Rail, we were able to establish that the site was an appropriate location for residential led regeneration and redevelopment of the site. The scale and massing and the contemporary design approach adopted was agreed at the pre-application stage as being an appropriate response to the sites context. The principle of the proposed residential development on the site is considered was demonstrated as being acceptable, as it  is located in an area in transition which has become more residential in character in recent years.

While the Local Planning Authority sought a wider variety of accommodation types within the development, it was demonstrated that the model simply would not accommodate this at the scale of development. Each apartment would offer a good outlook and communal amenity space would be provided. The site is in a very accessible location in close proximity to bus and tram routes and cycle storage would be provided meaning a limited provision of car parking was appropriate. It was clearly a sustainable location for new residential accommodation. Planning Officers and Planning Committee accepted that the wider benefits of bringing a brownfield site back into use outweighed the preference for a wider range of accommodation units.

Prior to determination by Planning Committee, we were able to liaise with Planning Officers to review and negotiate the wording of the planning conditions proposed to be recommended. This was essential to provide certainty to triggers points when information would be submitted to the Local Planning Authority, but also enable an early start on below ground investigations to begin delivery of the development. This has the benefit of bringing forward additional residential accommodation within the city centre and allowing the developer to make early progress on site.

dlpPlanning Permission Granted for Private Rented Apartment Scheme
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Planning Application Fee Increases

Planning application fees are scheduled to rise by 20% on 17th January 2018. The increase was offered by Government to all local planning authorities if it was agreed that the additional money would be re-invested within their planning department. All local planning authorities in England accepted the offer.

Statutory Instrument 2017 No. 1314 was made on 20th December 2017 and the changes associated with the SI will come into force on the 17th January 2018. These changes relate to the fees charged for planning applications, deemed applications, requests and site visits.

A fee will also be payable for applications for permission in principle. Permission in principle is a new route to planning permission under Section 58A and 59A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.  The Regulations allow Mayoral development corporations and urban development corporations to charge for giving advice, in their area, about planning applications at the pre-application stage.

Regulation 5(2) omits regulation 5 of the 2012 Regulations. This means that a planning application fee may be charged by local planning authorities where they have made a direction withdrawing permitted development rights under article 4 of the General Permitted Development Order or where permitted development rights have been withdrawn by a condition imposed on a planning permission.

The increase in fees will not apply to applications made or deemed to have been made prior to the commencement date of the 17th January 2018.

dlpPlanning Application Fee Increases
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Planning Permission Received for Gas Power Electricity Generator

Following the motion made by Hartlepool Borough Council Planning Committee on the 4th October 2017 to approve development of a gas powered electricity generator and related infrastructure on land at Worset Lane subject to conditions and a S106 agreement, DLP Planning Limited have now received planning permission following completion of the S106 Agreement for Clearstone Energy.

The development proposals are for a purpose built structure containing 11 gas engine generation sets that will generate approximately 49.5MW. The development evolved to visually suit an agricultural setting with robust landscaping which would be provided and maintained through a S106 agreement.

The approval fully reflects that planning is embedded within our transition to a low carbon economy. In the face of climate change, greater energy security and fuel poverty, technology needs to be framed as a strategic, long term investment where practical solutions can be made in the interim. Gas powered electricity generators in suitable locations are an important part of this transition. The development will support existing infrastructure with an energy source which can add capacity and tolerance to the network at times of spikes in use or drop in renewable resources.

dlpPlanning Permission Received for Gas Power Electricity Generator
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