Thursday, 29 May 2014

Dispute over National Park agricultural building conversion rights

In another excellent article by Roger Milne, we see that clearly more thought needs to be put to conversion rights for barns, stables and other outbuilding on farm sites.

Richmondshire District Council and North Yorkshire County Council have written to Communities Secretary Eric Pickles asking him to block an Article 4 Order made by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA).

The Order seeks to remove permitted development rights for the conversion of barns and other agricultural buildings to flexible commercial uses including shops, restaurants, offices, hotels and sports halls without the need for planning permission.

The local authorities argue that the action of the National Park Authority is at odds with need to stimulate economic growth in rural areas

Councillor John Blackie, Leader of Richmondshire District Council, said: “The relaxation of planning controls would greatly assist in boosting farm incomes, tourism, business for the host of small construction trades that are a feature of the National Park and the general prosperity of the local communities and local economies.

“The YDNPA are wrong to try to control these key opportunities for enterprise via a stifling Article 4 Order, and I hope the Ministers will agree with us and reject their request.”

The North Yorkshire County Council Executive Member for Highways and Planning Services, Councillor Gareth Dadd, said: “We understand the need to care for the unique heritage of the Yorkshire Dales, but in a sparsely populated area such as this, maintaining heritage means we also have to help communities to be sustainable and to thrive socially and economically. We cannot agree with the imposition of rigid planning controls in this way.”

YDNPA chairman Peter Charlesworth said: “We think our local communities ought to have a say, through the planning process, on developments that could significantly affect them.”

To read more HERE.

GBS Designs - Architectural Services

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Life comes in cans not can'ts

Perhaps I'm old fashioned but I remember a time of doing things; challenges that could be lethal or you might not complete and adventures that gave you stories to be told over dinner, at mess do's, amongst friends and the like. A time when the only rules were; obey genuine authority (police and military) and to be back by a certain time. Sadly, today it seems the bureaucratic and H&S officials have tried to take over. We must remember these these things times because they are what made this great country of ours great.

GBS DESIGNS - Architectural Services

Thursday, 24 April 2014

PM calls for planning changes to deliver infrastructure

In another interesting article (see below) the Prime Minister is calling for changes to the planning system.

Prime Minister David Cameron has stressed the need for further measures to streamline the planning system as he and Chancellor George Osborne highlighted that more than 200 projects in rail, road, local transport, flood defences, broadband, airport infrastructure and waste management are due to start construction in 2014 to 2015.

These include the Mersey Gateway Bridge, Sheffield Lower Don Valley and Exeter flood defence schemes and the A1 Barton to Leeming motorway upgrade, which will reduce journey times by 20 per cent.

Another 200 infrastructure projects are also due to be completed this year, including major roads such as the M6 J10A-13, Nottingham tram extension, Heathrow Terminal 2 upgrade and Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm, which is currently the largest in construction anywhere in Europe.

“Simplifying the planning system, making it faster, is absolutely essential if we’re going to build that infrastructure that the country needs,” the PM said.

The PM’s comments came as Coalition plans for an Infrastructure Bill in the next Parliamentary session surfaced.

It has emerged that ministers are proposing to make it easier for energy companies to install pipe networks for unconventional gas projects without falling foul of existing trespass laws.

The PM has suggested that the Government might cut subsidies for land-based wind farms when it has "built enough to meet all our targets".

The proposed Infrastructure Bill would give the Highways Agency more powers and bring in planning changes to fast-track developments, according to the Financial Times.

Roger Milne

You can read more here.

Monday, 14 April 2014

MPs to study planning policy framework

Following on from last week's posting, MPs are now going to study the planning policy framework.

Parliament has launched an inquiry into the operation of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

This initiative has come from the all-party Commons Communities and Local Government Committee. MPs will scrutinise the operation of the NPPF during its first two years, concentrating on the NPPF’s impact on planning for housing, town centres and energy infrastructure.

The announcement came as the committee published a report it commissioned from Cambridge University’s Centre for Housing and Planning Research to identify pinch points in the planning system affecting housing. It focused on analysing the published data and interviews with planners and with large and small house builders.

The findings included the following: large house builders generally thought the NPPF had been a positive change. They are, however, opposed to further changes in policy, calling instead for a focus on good practice.

An adopted local plan and a five-year land supply were essential for effective planning. The lack of a local plan made a local planning authority vulnerable to appeals. In some authorities there was an expectation that applications would go to appeal because elected members did not want to make planning decisions or because local opposition to new development was strong.

Many factors could contribute to delays. This included consultation with stakeholders, the attitude of some councillors, and a lack of resources and skills. Environmental matters in particular could be a considerable source of delay.

The planning process was effective when there was a positive culture within local authorities and a pro-development attitude from chief executives, planning officers and elected members.

The researchers also concluded that planning performance targets did not tell the whole story and could be misleading.

It could be interesting to see where this leads.

GBS Designs - Architectural Services

Monday, 7 April 2014

Government review emphasises proactive planning

In another interesting article that has come my way, the government are proposing yet another review of planning.

What is interesting is that in the good-old-days things worked and yet successive governments of both flavours have tinkered with planning so many times that very few can remember what planning used to be like when it worked properly. When planners were treated as the highly skilled people they are rather than robotic functionaries - I half expect to meet Robo-Planner one day on site.

Planning is a skilled and difficult job and should only be tinkered with by those who are qualified and experienced to dos so.

Click below for the article.

GBS Designs - Chartered Building Engineers & Architectural Services

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Easier Neighbourhood Planning.......?

In an interesting article (see below), we learn that neighbourhood planning permission could become much easier.

Planning Minister Nick Boles has told Parliament that the Coalition is keen to develop a neighbourhood planning regime tailored - and more suitable - for smaller than average communities.

His comments came during oral questions in the Commons to Department for Communities and Local Government ministers on 3 March.

He said: “We have, I think, now reached the point where there has been enough experience of neighbourhood planning with enough different kinds of communities for us to learn lessons and to ask whether there is not a version of neighbourhood planning that might be more easily accessible and quicker for some communities.

“We are doing that work, and we are very keen to hear from any MPs and communities with their thoughts on how we can achieve that.”

Earlier he told MPs: “Neighbourhood planning is proving to be one of the Government’s most popular reforms.

“Nearly 1,000 communities across England are working on neighbourhood plans, and all eight of the plans to go to referendum thus far have commanded popular support.”

Roger Milne

Of course it is early days, but we wait and see what changes this might bring.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Converting a barn or other outbuilding?

Another interesting from the planning portal, an article for those wishing to convert a barn, mill or other farm outbuilding:

Planning Minister Nick Boles has reassured MPs that the Government is well aware of the arguments being put forward to exempt National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty from proposals to introduce permitted development rights for redundant agricultural buildings.
Campaigners fear that change in permitted development could lead to large numbers of isolated new homes in unsustainable or inappropriate locations.
The minister told the Commons “the intention behind the proposed permitted developed right is to bring forward more housing on land that is already developed, and to make maximum use of the buildings that our ancestors saw fit to build, so that we do not have to put up any more buildings on green fields than is necessary to meet our housing and other needs”.
He added: “I recognise, however, and the Government recognise, that national parks and AONBs are so called for a reason and have a special status. It is a status we must respect, and it is important that we think hard and listen to the arguments put to us about the appropriateness of this measure in those areas.
“Although I cannot anticipate the Government’s final position, I reassure Parliament that the Government have heard the arguments loud and clear.”
Earlier he had agreed with fellow Conservative MPs who queued up to voice concern during an adjournment debate that “it might well be appropriate for national parks to retain the ability to decide on a case-by-case basis whether such development is possible”.

Roger Milne

Thursday, 20 February 2014

New BBC series - Permission Impossible: Britain’s Planners

See below from the Planning Portal:

Planning back on prime-time TV
The ground-breaking television programme Planners is back next week for a second series with a new title and a new slot on BBC Two.

Permission Impossible: Britain’s Planners will return on Tuesday 25 February 2014 at 7pm on BBC Two. The eight-part series will transmit daily from Tuesdays to Fridays, over two weeks.

The programme makers have promised to carry on lifting the lid on the decisions behind planning approvals and refusals.

“We’ll reveal the secrets of the planners; the misconceptions of homeowners and we’ll expose those with a blatant disregard for planning regulations. We’ll show the lengths homeowners will go to protect their properties from disputes with developers intent on building large-scale housing developments to clashes even closer to home - neighbour against neighbour fighting it out over extensions, conversions, and garden erections.

“Every planning battle creates fierce argument on both sides. But there can only be one winner,” say the production team.

Over the first three nights the series will focus on Redrow’s plans for 1,500 homes at Ellesmere Port, a builders’ yard extension, the fight to save a Grade ll listed building and a race against time to extend a Turkish restaurant.

Other highlights will include a tussle between a newly located mansion house and a tree house and a pair of naturists who hope their outdoor pursuits will see off plans for a big house next door.

Roger Milne

Thursday, 13 February 2014



This could be interesting.

The simple fact is that we need more homes and due to business and commercial shifts we have offices and retail outlets that are vacant.