“Without the expertise and knowledge of Miss Boultby, I would not have received the expert advice and resulting permission and I cannot thank her enough for her fabulous work in this matter.”
Ms A. West, Nottinghamshire
It is much harder to resolve planning issues when help is brought in part-way through the application process and would recommend advice is sought early by engaging the assistance of both consultant and local authority. For example, investing in the enhancement of a neglected or contaminated site can be used as leverage in certain cases, but not if an applicant has already cleared the site before the application is submitted. Some applications rely on certain criteria being met and we will work with you to form an accurate and credible planning statement to support and justify the development, showing how it meets the policy requirements.
The message is clear, get some advice before you do anything.
Another common issue is with class 'Q' barn conversions. The rules are incredibly strict and the legislation not easy to understand. The government has brought out updates and informatives that subtly alter the reading of the act, and it is essential that every aspect of the application is thoroughly evidenced if you want to persuade a planning authority that your old barn is an ideal location for a new home. One common pitfall is that an application will fail if you have carried out any works permitted as agricultural development to the building within the last ten years, but exactly what does this mean? The precedence of past appeals and other case law can really help you to build an application that will be successful. An application may also fail if there is any sign of residential use, even for storage of an old sofa. The building needs to look and feel right before the authority visit, and you need to know if there will be any substantial local opposition.
Many people have the dream of making a new home in the countryside, but our beautiful rural landscapes are rightly protected from large developments, unless approved in a local authority plan. This does not mean it is impossible to ever build a new house, but we would need to make a careful assessment of the site, your needs, the local legislation and any national policies before deciding how to proceed. There are a number of ways forwards and the following is only a brief summary.
The provision of new housing for agricultural workers has been around for a long time and there is a wealth of case history now governing its implementation. Long gone are the days when a racehorse could be placed in a field and a house justified on the grounds of 'security', although interestingly a pepper farm did recently secure permission on the basis that the peppers needed constant warmth and monitoring.
If you are thinking of taking this route then you need to be prepared to demonstrate that you have a viable rural business and that there is no alternative accommodation in the area that you could use instead. Many local authorities have their own variations of this policy in their local plans and it is important to be familiar with local as well as national policy.
If the site contains a substantial area of woodland, or even if you are intending to plant one, then there are certain permitted development rights that exist for buildings reasonably necessary for the intended use. This can include the siting of up to three caravans. The definition of a caravan is more than might be expected, and can include a reasonable sized mobile home or cabin. The key is its portability. They cannot, however, be occupied all year round, and how long is reasonable depends on a number of factors, including whether you are using the woodland as a serious commercial venture, albeit for timber extraction or processing into paperweights. The small plots sold off by some national agents may be eligible for the siting of a caravan, but not for any substantial occupation. Each case needs to be argued on its own merits.
While each authority will have its own rules regarding enlargement of a rebuild, this is undoubtedly one of the easiest ways to create a dream home. It is also one of the most expensive, as even poor quality rural housing is priced to reflect the demand. However, if you have a poor quality dwelling in a beautiful site that you are thinking of selling then you should talk to us about gaining permission before you sell, as we may be able to substantially increase the value of the plot. Or if you have just bought one, and want some thoughts about rebuilding, extending, or adapting, then we are happy to offer an initial consultation.
This national policy is the latest in a long line of similar policies that were intended to allow the continuation of the tradition of the English country house. While it is still a costly option, the test is now based more on achieving outstanding or innovative design, and substantial benefit to the environment. It takes time and cooperation to build the case, and many consultants and design review panels may be required to persuade a local authority or planning inspector that you have achieved the high standards that this clause requires. But it is not impossible!
A few forward thinking local authorities have specific local plan policies permitting low-impact dwellings, typically meaning yurts, benders, or small straw bale structures without foundations. However, the tests are rigorous and the land has to be sited where the development will not bother anyone and with suitable transport and other services. Very few of these applications get through, but this is often because people occupy a site before researching the planning law, rather than selecting a site guided by the local policies.
There have been a number of successful applications for very small scale private traveller sites, for example for two bow-top wagons, particularly in regions where the authority has not demonstrated that they have met local targets. Careful local research and analysis of the site, road connections, flood risk, and particularly the success of other applications in the region are all important.
You also need to demonstrate that you are actually a traveller, which has a particular definition set out by central government.
Talk to Us
It is always best to seek advice at an early stage. We are happy to chat through your requirements initially in a short phonecall. If you would like a longer telephone consultation or a meeting, we will discuss our fees with you for taking things further.