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We like to keep you up to date with the rural world through interesting and valuable news from what our teams are up to and providing relevant commentary on the industries in which work within. See our latest news…

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Some might say that ours is an age of uncertainty, but we believe it’s also one of opportunity. Our White Paper, Positive Asset Management in a Changing Rural Economy, presents three key factors that prove the wider economic, environmental and social conditions have never been more suited to the growth of rural businesses through the diversification of land and assets.

By adopting an entrepreneurial attitude to manage their businesses, estate and landowners are more likely to preserve their assets for future generations. The paper details five key principles based on our experience to achieve successful rural diversification.

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More news from Rural Solutions

PLANNING NEWS: Rural Barn Conversions in Skettlegill

By | AONB, Challenging, planning | No Comments

image of three barns prior to conversion in skettlegill rural planning Rural planning Solutions are used to dealing with complex planning applications and working in sensitive countryside locations. Last month we achieved a planning permission that typifies our unique approach and resulted in a fantastic planning permission for our client.

Our client had aspirations to convert three barns in his ownership to provide homes for his three children. The barns are located at Skettlegill Farm in Stainton, Kendal in South Lakeland local planning authority.

The site was in open countryside and outside development limits which often makes achieving planning permission difficult. As rural planning specialists we are experienced successfully overcoming such barriers

Rural planning authorities often suffer from a high turnover of planning professionals and low levels of staffing in general, made worse by recent austerity measures and cuts in local government finance.

Having prepared a pre-application submission, the initial response was pessimistic. However, working closely with the officers at South Lakeland District Council, our planner Christopher Binns, was able to demonstrate the positives of the proposed development and that any concerns the local authority may have, would be significantly outweighed.

The challenge, in this case, was an unexpected change of staff at the local planning authority. Having reached a positive position with the original planning officer, a new officer was appointed to deal with the application and we had to revisit the application. However, the added complication was the planning officer was not based at the local planning authority (working remotely for the local planning authority).

Despite these complexities, Christopher was able to work closely with the applicants, and with the planning officer to achieve planning permission for three dwellings (conversions of existing barns to residential dwellings).

Working closely with the owners and the planning officers at South Lakeland District Council we were able to demonstrate the positive benefits of allowing the conversion of the barns.

An added twist in this instance was a requirement from the local planning authority for a ‘local occupancy condition’. Again, we were able to successfully argue that there was no justification for the condition and it was removed.

There are always challenges in seeking planning permission in rural local planning authorities and at Rural Solutions we are well used to working with local authority officers to achieve our client’s ambitions.

Christopher said that, ‘we often face unexpected circumstances during the application process, as in this case, but drawing upon our expertise in the rural sector and working closely with planning officers in a way that they can relate to gives them security that we are approaching planning applications from a fundamentally sound position. That helps us to open the door for our clients’.  

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INDUSTRY NEWS – Rural Connectivity Still Undervalued

By | rural business, rural economy, technology | No Comments

The CLA has recently analysed the way in which 50 local authorities use their settlement hierarchy when deciding the locations of new development allocations in a Local Plan.

Such hierarchies work by ranking villages, scoring them against a range of services and amenities, However the research conducted by the CLA has revealed that only 18% of local authorities even consider broadband connectivity when assessing the sustainability of these rural areas. Despite the day-to-day services that internet connectivity can facilitate, such as online shopping and general communication.

Tim Breitmeyer, the President of the CLA, stated “Updating rural planning policy to include connectivity in sustainability assessments means English villages will not be trapped in analogue when the rest of the world is in the digital age and can access much of the housing they desperately need.”
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INDUSTRY NEWS – Substantial Opportunities to Create New Isolated Homes in the Countryside

By | government-legislation, Housing, NPPF, planning | No Comments

The new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) includes a new clause in paragraph 79 which will provide substantial opportunities to create new isolated homes in the countryside.

The previously entitled paragraph 55 that allowed for new isolated homes in the countryside as well as provision of a dwelling of exceptional design and quality remains intact and is an area of rural planning that Rural Solutions has vast knowledge and experience.

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DESIGNER PROFILE – Get to know our new design team member, Sandy Fishpool.

By | Uncategorised | No Comments

Architect Sandy is the latest addition to the Design Team have joined us just this month. Her architectural career has been in both rural and urban practice in Cumbria and Yorkshire.

She has been very lucky to work on a broad variety of work, in particular Residential, Heritage, Education and Commercial projects.

Following a period working as an Associate Director for a firm in Cumbria, she set up her own practice in Skipton and has been running a private practice until her recent move to Rural Solutions.

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