Monthly Archives: August 2012

Rural Solutions Secures Planning Consent for Conversion of Traditional Field Barn to Live/Work Unit

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Rural Solutions has recently secured planning consent for the conversion of a barn in North Yorkshire to a live/work unit providing living accommodation and associated employment space.

This follows receipt of consent at the end of last year for a live/work unit in the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (see blog entry November 2nd – “Another Win for Rural Solutions Planning”) where the company is providing planning, architectural and construction support.

The company has significant experience of promoting the live/work concept across the country and members of the company’s Planning team have previously been involved in producing planning policies aimed at promoting these types of development.

The live/work concept provides a viable end-use for redundant rural buildings where an unrestricted residential use would not be acceptable and receives specific support in the Government’s new National Planning Policy Framework.

If you would like to discuss the conversion options for a rural building you own, please contact the Rural Solutions Planning Team on 01756 796199.

Rural Solutions submits planning application for £3m Eco-Friendly Farm Shop

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Rural Solutions, the Nationwide Planning and Development specialists, has recently submitted a planning application to Craven District Council for the development of a £3m eco-friendly farm shop in Skipton.

The Planning Team is advising Yorkshire-based Keelham Farm Shop, an independent and award winning business, who are planning to open their second shop in the market town of Skipton.

The 2,330 square metre farm shop includes a number of eco-friendly elements including a ‘living’ wall running through the centre of the building, photovoltaic solar panels, a wind turbine, sun pipes, wind catchers and a sedum roof.

Rural Solutions’ Planning Advisors have been leading the project team, including Architects, Retail Planners, Transport Consultants and Landscape Architects, though the planning process.

For more information on the proposed farm shop please contact the Planning Team at Rural Solutions on 01756 796199 or view the recent newspaper article in the local media on the development: http://www.cravenherald.co.uk/news/9851765.Futuristic___3m_store_would_create_60_jobs/?ref=mr

Phew, our Hertforshire biomass installation starts to produce smoke!!

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We are very pleased the district heating system that we have managed at a business center in Hertfordshire is now up and running!

After carefully designing the system, working out the simplest route to run the district heating pipes, designing the boiler room and wood store, we researched a large number of manufacturers and received a number of quotes.

The project went ahead without a hitch and now 8 oil fired boilers have been taken out of active service. The 25,000 litres of heating oil which were used each year will now be saved.

Now we just have to sort out all of the RHI paperwork…..more on that soon!

For further information please contact us.

Rural Solutions recommends Rural Estates on Line for promoting business in the countryside

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Rural Solutions is pleased to support the good work of Rural Estates on Line in their quest to become the premier website promoting rural property and enterprise.

Farms, estates, agents and the owners of a broad spectrum of rural business can list their services for free on this website, and only pay when they have received genuine leads, so they really have nothing to lose.

Rural Estates makes searching for rural business much easier, allowing people to search by estate, service or location. For further information or to have a look at Rural Estates, please follow the link below.

Rural Estates

Government announce consultation on changes to Listed Building Consent regime

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The Department for Culture, Media and Sport have announced a four week consultation on proposed changes to simplify and improve the Listed Building Consent regime.

Firstly, the consultation presents two alternative options for consideration, aimed at reducing the circumstances in which Listed Building Consent (LBC) is required. The first proposal is to introduce a ‘prior notification’ procedure for minor works which are considered to have ‘little or no harm to the special interest of the listed building’ or ‘some harm which is clearly justified in the interests of conserving the building in its optimum viable use’. It is suggested that such works could be defined nationally, or to allow greater flexibility, the Local Planning Authority (LPA) could make the judgement on a case by case basis. The LPA would be given 28 days in which to confirm that the proposed works are acceptable or alternatively require the submission of a full application for listed building consent. An alternative option being proposed is to introduce a change in legislation that would allow LPAs to grant ‘class consents’ for certain defined works to listed buildings within a defined area or of a defined type. This approach would allow LPAs to grant advance consent to a range of works which would have minor or acceptable impacts on the special interest of known categories of listed buildings within a local authority area. Whilst this ‘localist’ approach may be appealing to some local authorities, the amount of work required, for example in surveying each individual building, may make such an approach resource intensive to introduce.

The consultation also proposes the introduction of a ‘Certificate of Lawful Works’, a formal mechanism for confirming that works did not require Listed Building Consent because they did not ‘affect its character or special interest’. Whilst LBC is only required for works which are judged to affect the ‘character and special interest’ of a listed building, it is claimed that local authorities are often reluctant to make the judgement as to whether proposed works actually require consent or not and so applications are often submitted for minor works which should not actually require consent. The proposed certificates would introduce a formal mechanism for local authorities to consider such works and give certainty to owners and developers. Similarly to Lawful Development Certificates for planning permission, the certificates could also be sought retrospectively to confirm works did not need consent, useful in confirming the legality of previous works in the sale of properties etc.

Perhaps the most controversial proposal, is the introduction of a system which allows independent, accredited agents to make expert recommendations to LPAs, effectively ‘certifying’ works to heritage assets as acceptable. The LPA would still make the final decision on granting consent, the consultation document states that “The LPA would normally be expected to follow this recommendation”. This is seen as a natural progression from the work agents already do in preparing ‘heritage assessments’ on the significance of assets and proposed works. Advantages to this system are considered to be the certainty it would give applicants, early in the development of proposals, as to whether the scheme is going to be acceptable from a heritage point of view. It is also considered it would reduce the burden of work on the LPA, at a time when budget cuts have seen the level of conservation expertise in local authorities reduce significantly over the last few years.

Finally, the consultation raises the question of possible reforms to the measures available to Local Authorities for dealing with buildings at risk. It claims the current system is difficult to administer and as such local authorities are often reluctant to take enforcement action to deal with neglected buildings. With over half of buildings on the original 1999 Heritage at Risk Register still remaining on the register it is looking for suggestions on delivering substantive improvements to the system.

The consultation runs for 4 weeks from 26th July to 23rd August 2012. Rural Solutions will follow its progress with interest; check back for future blogs.

Planning Fee Draft Regulations Published

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Following the Government’s recent announcements on planning, including an intention to bring about a national increase in planning fees in the autumn, they have now published the draft regulations confirming the scope of the changes. As expected, these confirm an increase across all planning fees of approximately 15%.

The draft regulations also state that the regulations will cease to have effect seven years after they come into force and that the Secretary of State will be required to review them after five years to consider whether they should be allowed to expire after seven years, be revoked early or should continue with or without amendments. The 15% increase is said to reflect the rate of inflation experienced since 2008 (the time of the last increase in fees).

Local authorities have long argued that in many cases planning fees fall well short of covering the actual cost to the authority of dealing with the planning application and have sought to be allowed to set their own planning fees which reflect the true costs. The impact assessment document, published alongside the draft regulations, advises that the Government believes that in the longer term, there may be a case for the decentralisation of planning fees to allow more flexible cost-recovery, but have stated that evidence from consultation and benchmarking exercises suggests that it is a complex proposal which will need further working through.

The draft regulations do not confirm the date upon which they are to come into force; however, this is expected to be around the start of October. Check the Rural Solutions blog for future updates.