James Blackburn of Carbon Green Consulting - one of our partners, reports that on 20th March 2014 the Government officially confirmed it is scrapping the Code for Sustainable Homes.
Yesterday, the government officially confirmed the scrapping of the Code for Sustainable Homes. This had been mooted as part of the wider Housing Standards Review Consultation undertaken over the last two years and forms part of the government’s attempt to reduce housing regulations by about 90%.
The decision has been greeted with a mixed response from the industry. Many have hailed it as a release from an arduous and costly “tick box” exercise which added little to the true sustainability of homes. Others have claimed it will lead to a drop in sustainability standards on residential development sites. The major concern of many is that those areas of the Code which will not now be covered by the Building Regulations may well be lost in local policy or guidance and therefore, developments may become less sustainable in future.
James Blackburn comments
'As a practicing assessor, my own observations are that many developers have embraced the Code and seen it as a positive step as well as an opportunity to further their own sustainability credentials. Others have seen it as an imposition which should be circumvented where ever possible and delivered to the barest minimum .Clearly, there is a profit argument to be had here, but equally a wasted opportunity others have embraced!
Middle ground as usual is the safest path and I been involved in several sensitive applications where a significant demonstration of sustainability commitment in all it’s forms on site does undoubtedly help set the right tone on behalf of our client.
Moving forward, the National Planning Policy Framework is forcing local authorities to confront these sustainability issues and reflect them in policy. Many authorities already have policies and various specific and detailed guidance notes on sustainable buildings and communities which go far beyond the Code requirements. Development in these areas will be all the better for it.'
- See more at: http://www.carbongc.com/news/code-for-sustainable-homes-axed-its-official#sthash.7g9nSsfv.dpuf
Quick on the hoof of the Ministerial announcement previously blogged comes The Town and Country (General Permitted Development) (Amendment and Consequential Provisions) (England) Order 2014 which will be enacted on 6th April 2014!
Summary of the changes:
More flexibility in planning relates to the following changes of use:
With these changes comes the allowance to carry out basic building operations confined to the building envelope such as
How it works:
Change of use is subject to two prior notification procedures - one in respect of the change of use itself and the other, in respect of any associated building operations. This requires the submission of an Application for Prior Determination to the Local Planning Authority as to whether prior approval is required in respect of:
For building operations, before beginning the change of use, developers/applicants are required to submit a Determination to the Local Planning Authority as to whether the prior approval will be required in relation to the design or external appearance of the building
These rights due not extend to or include:
Shops in main shopping parades or high streets
Sites in 'Article 1(5) Land such as National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a Conservation Area or a World Heritage site or if it is or forms part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a designated safety hazard area, a military explosives area or of the site contains a Scheduled Ancient Monument or relates to a Listed Building.
Agricultural permitted development to dwellinghouse/s is not permitted where the site was not used solely for agriculture or as part of an established agricultural unit on 20th March 2013. Other agricultural buildings may however qualify for residential conversion in future if the site was brought into use on or after 20 March 2013, and is used for that purpose for 10 years before the date the development begins - 20th March 2023.
Getting the time right:
Time periods for change need to be checked thoroughly. The changes set out in this Statutory Instrument must begin within three years from the date the prior approval was granted. Do not get confused with the time period set for larger residential extensions (30th May 2016)!
Local Planning Authorities have a period of 56 days (8 weeks) to notify the developer/applicant of the outcome of their determination. If not met, then the change of use or building operations can go ahead from the 57th day.
Where determinations are issued on time, the LPA can decide to grant approval either unconditionally or subject to conditions reasonably related to the subject matter of the prior approval.
If you require further advice and assistance determining if you can take advantage of the recent changes,
CONTACT US on firstname.lastname@example.org
15.03.2014 - Murphy Associates gave over time to assist the Friends of Stoneham Park host their consultation workshop on potential improvements to Stoneham Park with S106 monies from the redevelopment of the old Gala Bingo Site. Eimear prepared the run of play and the presentation as well as explaining the reasons for the event, future intentions and outcomes. The Friends committee members played theirs parts with Christine and Chrissie having the job of disseminating all the information!
As of 6th March 2014 all previous Planning Guidance and certain Circulars have been or are in the process of being cancelled and consolidated in an online resource - the National Planning Policy Guidance!
We waved bye-bye to PPGs and PPSs but a lot of technical guidance remained 'material'. Now we have an online document of around 800 pages with signing up facility for update alerts. So be on your toes - even good old Circular 11/95 has gone but Annex A - model conditions has been retained.
I won't say watch this space but I am still going through the NPPG online version.
It is now almost certain that changes to liberalise the planning system further to allow the conversion of shops (outside key shopping areas) and redundant, under-utilised agricultural buildings to dwellings as permitted development will take place. The Ministerial Statement issued on 6th March 2014 suggests that the new rights will be subject of a Prior Approval Process in order to allow Council's to assess flooding implications. The new rights will allow up to 450 square metres to be converted for up to 3 homes BUT this is unlikely to apply to National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and probably Conservation Areas as well as all designated Article 1(5) land.
More detail is to follow in due course!
Thinking of converted your redundant barn to a dwelling under permitted development rights? Well, the ability to do so may not apply to you - as I have had to tell many clients as indicated in the House of Commons debate on 24 February 2014 where Nick Boles made it clear that he would think hard about the appropriateness of this measure in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There is a clear hint that PD rights for barn conversions (and the conversion of other agricultural buildings) to residential use could well be excluded in such ares as well as in rural Conservation Areas and other sites covered by Article 1(5) of the GPDO. Be patient and wait ..
Providing Visuals as part of your application can often make 'the' difference between an approval or refusal. With Oliver on board, we are can prepare visuals for your project and provide realistic walk-thoughs. Follow the links on the website and Contact Us for further details.
A ground breaking decision last July to extend a small dwelling, designed by Murphy Associates, in the rural area of above the 100m2 gross floor area when members overturned a recommendation for refusal despite it being considered contrary to Policy H13.
A revised scheme for a larger extension was presented to members with a recommendation for approval - unanimously supported and permission granted. Two very happy clients who now get a more spacious home!
Ancillary use of an outbuilding - well pig sty stalls and all - for residential purposes - did not require planning permission but the alterations did as 'permitted development' rights under Class E were removed conditions attached to a previous permission.
With the right approach to maintaining the agri-industrial character of the building, the clients can now benefit from a bespoke design and contemporary ancillary residential space.
After an Independent Examination by Ann Skippers of Ann Skippers Planning, Slaugham's Neighbourhood Plan regrettable deems it 'not compatible with the requirements of European Union obligations insofar as a Strategic Environmental Assessment is required', that submitted was not satisfactory and therefore advises is should not proceed to a referendum.
Additionally, 3 identified housing sites and target not to be based on sufficiently robust evidence given the great weight of the NPPF in respect of AONBs and the site not necessarily being suitable or deliverable
Some lessons to be learnt.
Enlightened Ashford Borough Council Planning Committee Members overturned a recommendation for refusal for the conversion of a splendid C18th barn to a dwelling on residential amenity grounds. Now a Grade II listed barn can be repaired and brought back into use after years of opposition from Ashford Borough Council's planners and conservation officers.
Every possible hurdle was placed in the way of the applicants. And every hurdle was thoroughly addressed with the case being referred to as a well considered and informed submission. But the sticking point was the distance between the front of the old farmhouse and the barn and vice versa. A one-size-fits-all approach to applying 'guide' distances was taken a stretch too far.
Cllr Neil Bell, ward member for Biddenden spoke eloquently in favour of the proposal. The applicant also addressed members and the vote went in favour of granting subject to a legal agreement being entered into.
Eimear's role was to work with the Agent and produce supporting statements on planning, heritage significance and design & access.
Obviously the owners are delighted and commented ' …. we couldn't have done it without you & Chris. But it was a nail biter.'
Just in time for Christmas but still nearly 6 months longer than it should have taken! Two HMOs in Hove with internal works that do not constitute 'development'! Even after obtaining legal advice, BHCC insist that the percentage loss of un-contained units is not lawful development. Despite knowing we are correct in our advise, the plans had to be amended reducing the number of flats with a higher percentage of studio/bedsits retained. Fortunately we received the Certificate which ensure lawfulness of self-containment but a revisit at a later date! Partial success.
PINS bring christmas cheer to an Appellant awaiting the outcome of the decision for an additional floor improving her living accommodation. Being on the top floor of a flat in a small 1960s block with a small floor plate, the only option was to go up! After an encouraging pre-app, formal planning permission was refused.
Eimear assisted the client in moving an appeal forward and on 10/12/13, the decision notice arrives - appeal upheld.
The Inspector considered the existing arrangements between building heights created a visually 'jarring discord' which the appeal proposal would improve. In sharing the views expressed in the appeal statement, the Inspector considered that:
' … the small addition would improve the visual relationship between the block and the adjacent residential building and contribute to the character of the area, enhancing its significance, through a more appropriate stepping in height …' .
'I conclude that the development would not harm the appearance of the appeal property or the block of flats if forms part of … the improved relationship with the adjacent Victorian building would enhance the character or appearance of the West Hill Conservation Area' .
To note - the scheme was designed by Atkins Blair Ings Richardson Architects.
The Appeal decision can be viewed at: http://www.pcs.planningportal.gov.uk/pcsportal/fscdav/READONLY?OBJ=COO.2036.300.12.6072795&NAME=/DECISION.pdf
A simple utilitarian yet contemporary extension was approved today for a garden/conservatory room extension to this former piggery building in Framfield/Blackboys, East Sussex.
We engaged with Wealden District Council through the pre-application process and received positive noises. The proposal accords with the Core Strategy and NPPF as well as design advice in the Wealden Design Guide - to which Eimear was one of the main contributors.
Quote from Eimear:
'Even small projects require a good design concept and approach to produce a high quality design. Wealden District Council is one of the few enlightened Planning Authorities when it comes to complimentary design - be it traditional, contemporary or a fusion of the two.
I am sure I will be joined by the Applicant in extending our thanks to the Case Officer and Development Management.'