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Dwellings for Non-Agricultural Business Enterprises.
Approval for a new house in the country at Glenmakeeran, Ballyvoy.
Farmers, under PPS21 are permitted one dwelling on their land every ten years. The policy's aim is to provide a home for retiring farmers, family or workers associated with the farm. Within PPS21, policy CTY7 sets out the conditions required for a Non-Agricultural Rural Business to qualify for a dwelling associated with the business. Similar to CTY12 for Farm Dwellings, the policy recognises that Non farm related rural businesses also contribute greatly to the rural economy and therefore should be afforded similar opportunities to provide accommodation at the business for security and to assist in the running of the business. Unfortunately the Planning Department and the Planning Appeals Commission have until now, taken a very negative position regarding the implementation of this policy.
We just received approval for another Solar Farm. The application was for 208 Photovoltaic panels mounted on 13 solar park ground mounting systems. Culmore organic farm is just outside Kilrea and supplies organic beef and milk to the public direct from the farm. This approval is part of the farms overall renewable energy strategy and will contribute greatly to the viability of the farm in the long term. You can check out what David and family are all about at the farm website here.
After a 5 year planning battle Laverty Architecture gaines approval to retain Fred's home.
The log cabin was placed on the site without planning permission and Planning enforcement immediately issued Fred an enforcement notice. An Architect friend of the family lodged an application for planning which was subsequently taken to council as a refusal. At this stage Laverty Architecture was asked to take over as agent.
Over the next few years we generated the largest file (standing at almost a foot tall) this office has ever seen. Many different policies where tested and we had many meetings with the Planning department, Local politicians, MLA's and MP's. Ultimately the Planning Department felt they could not approve the application for fear of setting a president for this type of building in the countryside.
Plans were refused for reasons:
1.The proposal is contrary to Policy CTY1 of Planning Policy Statement 21, Sustainable Development in the Countryside in that there are no overriding reasons why this development is essential in this rural location and could not be located within a settlement.
2.The proposal is contrary to Policy CTY6 of Planning Policy Statement 21, Sustainable Development in the Countryside in that the applicant has not provided satisfactory long term evidence that a new dwelling is a necessary response to the particular circumstances of the case and that genuine hardship would be caused if planning permission were refused,
3.The proposal is contrary to Policy CTY13 & 14 of Planning Policy Statement 21, Sustainable Development in the Countryside in that the building is of an unacceptable design and is a prominent feature in the landscape. The site is unable to provide a suitable degree of enclosure and integration for the building and the development therefore erodes the character of the surrounding rural area.
4.The proposal is contrary to Policy CTY10 of Planning Policy Statement 21, Sustainable Development in the Countryside and does not merit being considered as an exceptional case in that it has not been demonstrated that the farm business is currently active and has be4en established for at least six years.
The Appeal on the refusal was then lodged with The Planning Appeals Commission. And a hearing date was set for the week before Christmass 2012.
A lengthy statement of case history and rebuttals to the Planning Department's reasons for refusal was prepared by Ciaran Laverty and submitted long before the hearing date.
During the two hour hearing, the Planning Department, along with Fred and his neighbours where all asked various questions by the commissioner. Ciaran was only asked to confirm his name, then told “you have provided me with a very comprehensive and frank statement, so we won't need to hear from you today” So sat and listened for the rest of the hearing.
The decision from the PAC came in a few days ago and its clear from the report why the PAC approved what the planners thought they couldn't.
Policy CTY6 PPS21 relating to “domestic and personal circumstances”. Not every planning case fits the strict criteria of PPS21. CTY6 allows the planners to essentially “have a heart” and grant approval where “there are no alternative solutions to meet the particular circumstances of the case,” Unfortunate no one had told the planners to what degree this they can have a heart, so they simply had none and left it to the Planning Appeals commissions. The planners to their defence do not get steerage from anyone and generally apply policies based on PAC rulings.
Thankfully The Planning Appeals Comission granted Fred's Approval. Fred can now for the first time enjoy his home and his retirement without fear of eviction and demolition.
Planning Appeal Commission decision. Link
[full]The Planning Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 provides for the transfer of the majority of planning functions from central government to district councils. It also brings forward a number of reforms to the planning system.
Its unclear how this will all play out and at what pace. The "trial period" isn't specific. We have heard that the planners themselves will most likely remain in their central offices and carry on as before but more focused on the areas individual characteristics and needs (I hope) during any trial period. Local councilors might actual gain some teeth when it comes to planning matters. Currently MLA's & MP's seam to be the only elected representatives who carry clout on difficult cases relating to policy.
This lack of clout has in my opinion always broke the democratic chain with regards to planning. In England, Scotland, Wales & Ireland all Planning is local council run. Run by people who know the area and its needs. They work closely with building control, often out of the same office. Those planning officers are under the same roof as the councilors they answer to. They then answer to the electorate and democracy works.
It won't we easy for the councilors either. If plans are refused by the Planning officer, they can be referred to a council appeal. Here our elected representatives will be expected to take the full context of the planning policies into account much as the Planning Appeals Commission currently does. Then take a vote. Currently all local councils have a tendency to have a blanket support of all planning applications unless their is considerable public concerns. Tough and unpopular calls will have to be made to retain the character of the local area and often it will be councilors making that call. Lets hope your local councilors are up to the task!
Farmers will be able to undertake new build or extend agricultural buildings including sheds for hay and straw, storage and maintenance of agricultural machinery and plant, milking parlours, slurry storage tanks and chicken and other livestock sheds without having to go through the planning application process. Under plans issued by environment minister Alex Attwood, farmers should be able to construct buildings up to 500 sq m without planning, compared with the current limit of 300 sq m.
"These proposals, which are the most generous in these islands, will eliminate unnecessary red tape to enable agriculture to grow in a challenging economic climate," said Mr Attwood.
"I want to help expand our agri-food business by 40% in the next few years. Increasing the range of agricultural development that no longer needs planning permission will make it easier for farmers to undertake development."
It is anticipated that these proposals will become law in spring 2013.
More info here: planningni.gov.uk