What a year! The New Year is always a good time to reflect and the last 12 months in planning have been really interesting.
Nationally, the big developments are in ecology and climate change, which is as it should be. Every planning application now has to carefully consider the potential impacts on biodiversity and provide both mitigation and enhancement. Look out early next year for a requirement for 10% Biodiversity Net Gain as The Environment Act 2021 becomes mandatory. Almost all planning applications now need to be accompanied by an ecological appraisal and this will continue.
Locally, in the South West, the biggest challenge remains nutrient neutrality. Excess phosphates and nitrates in river catchments are seriously affecting wildlife in sensitive areas such as the Somerset Levels and Moors Catchment Area. After a difficult couple of years, we are starting to make some progress, but many planning applications will now require a Drainage Strategy prepared by a specialist. This is called a Nutrient Neutrality and Mitigation Strategy.
Environmental objectives are firmly at the heart of our national planning system. This is clear in the National Planning Policy Framework 2021 currently under review. Many Local Authorities have now declared climate emergencies and we are starting to see this coming through in planning policy. Some Local Plans already have robust climate change policies, but look out for new ones.
Our caseload this year has been really varied and interesting and this looks set to continue in 2023. Here are some of our projects to give you a flavour of what we have been doing:
Permission granted for 2 self-build dwellings outside Crewkerne where we have overcome the phosphates issue
Planning permission and Listed Building Consent to reinstate a historic dairy in Dorset
Change of use of land for the stationing of a converted double decker bus to provide holiday accommodation
Camping and glamping sites for tents, shepherd huts and cabins
Change of use of a listed building to a mixed use as a dog hotel and daycare facility
Regeneration of town centre site
Several Class Q barn conversions
Successful appeal granting 5 dwellings near Frome
Change of use to Sui generis use as a cider farm
Lawful Development Certificate for existing use of land as residential garden
Change of use of land to garden in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Relocation of a falconry
Planning permission for a solar array
Erection of building for use by flower business
Listed Building Consent and planning permission for the erection of a conservatory
Appeal lodged against refusal of application for a caravan storage facility
Agricultural workers dwelling
Change of use of a public house to a dwelling
Next year looks set to be equally challenging and we can't wait to see what comes up. Whatever your project, obtaining planning permission is always the first step, so do call or email to discuss your needs and get an idea of costs.
01963 371180 or 0789 4020 735