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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