Successful infill scheme leads to tears of joy for new barn-homeowner

By Pete Tonks, Oakwrights Architectural Designer

This planning consent story takes us back to 2006 when I first met our clients Rupert and Lindsay in their lovely Grade II listed Georgian home. They had done a full restoration on their home, raised a family and had many happy years living there.

The first of our planning applications in 2007 was refused and an appeal was lodged to challenge the refusal. This takes us round to mid-2008, at which point the independent appeal inspector reviewed the decision notice from the local planning authority and concluded that the refusal was upheld and the appeal should not succeed.

Things went quiet for a bit while we considered our position but also a number of important changes were happening in both local planning policy and national planning policy.

Nationally, the NPPF 2012 (National Planning Policy Framework) was being drafted by central government. One of the key messages delivered within the NPPF is that there should be a ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’. In other words, if a local planning authority does not have its house in order (pardon the pun) then the NPPF is the new kid on the block and should be listened to.

In response to the NPPF, this particular local authority were already re-drafting their own planning policies and there were specific wording changes that may just give us the ‘in’ that we needed to re-submit this application.

Mid 2013 saw us re-submit the application in pretty much the same format as the refused scheme although we did re-position the proposed dwelling to be more central within the plot and therefore less out into open countryside. More importantly, the revised proposal showed the dwelling to be within the cluster of nearby dwellings and therefore more of an infill scheme rather than open countryside. In other words, following the exact wording of the revised local authority policies and echoing the overall sentiments of the NPPF.

The application went to committee vote and won a unanimous 13-1 victory which resulted in tears of joy from our clients and also gave us just enough time to get back to the village pub just across the road from the plot for a celebratory drink.

In summary, the whole design and planning process took around eight years and we had to work the system hard using our knowledge of both current and emerging planning legislation. The clients were, as you might imagine, quick to get on with building their home and from start to finish took around 9 months to complete.

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A unanimous victory

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