Obtaining permissions, particularly in rural areas, can be a complex task.

The process can be lengthy and can call for knowledge about everything from environmental and landscape concerns to contaminated land and access. Iain’s experience as a rural planning consultant enables him to manage applications from initial site appraisal to final application, simplifying the process for his clients.

Planning reviews, development and diversification planning

Iain’s work as a rural planning consultant gives him great insight into the assessment of potential development sites.

Specialist planning advice might include considering a site’s potential for individual dwellings, agricultural buildings or commercial buildings and for changes of use, from individual plots to larger multi-use sites.

A review will research the planning, legal and physical challenges of the site. We can then help you understand whether or not to fund your own planning application, enter into an option agreement, sell with an overage or clawback clause or consider other methods of protecting and creating value.

Development can also include structures and changes of use to facilitate the delivery of an organisation’s objectives, such as developing a visitor centre, a burial site, a place of worship. It could also include adding bike parking, a campsite or holiday lodges. We have extensive experience of working on such projects.

With the review complete we can then either manage the planning process on your behalf, or work with an existing team to provide the planning expertise.

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Planning law is complex and there are many situations where obtaining early advice can be invaluable.

  • Charity Trustees considering updating and improving facilities on the charity’s land.
  • Officers within a public body considering options for a site.
  • Land-owner with a site that may have potential.
  • Developers considering redevelopment of a site.
  • Home owners considering building a house in the garden.
  • Potential purchasers looking at buying a development site for residential, commercial or industrial use.
  • Farmers considering the construction of a new agricultural building or farm track or perhaps looking at obtaining glamping planning for farm diversification purposes.

Iain gives planning advice to a wide range of clients, including solicitors, financial advisors, private individuals, entrepreneurs, farmers, developers, divorcing couples, limited companies and other businesses, wildlife trusts, charities, churches, London livery companies, executors and trustees, local authorities, County Councils, District Councils, Parish Councils and Central Government Departments and more.

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Reviewing your rural business

From steel portal frame barn to a country home under permitted development rights.

Iain was asked for a quote to apply for a class Q submission for the conversion of an agricultural barn to a dwelling house. Although he was competitive and the potential clients were impressed with his proposal and accompanying information, they decided in the end to go with a more established firm.

Some months later the potential clients called him back. The pre-application response was negative (using the documents supplied by the more established firm) and they wanted a second opinion. Iain’s review found the original information supplied for the pre-application consultation included design elements which contravened the tight parameters for a class Q submission.

With a redesign and detailed accompanying documentation, a successful Prior Notification was submitted for the conversion to residential.

“Iain guided us through the Class Q maze with remarkable ease. His understanding of the eligibility criteria and the presentation of a lucid set of documents enabled us to gain consent without false starts and resubmissions. Very grateful.”

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Planning enforcement cases

If you are facing enforcement from a local authority, we can manage your case for you, considering the best way forward. This may be an application for a Certificate of Lawfulness for an Existing Use or Development (CLEUD) or a full planning application.

get advice about planning enforcement

Skinner Holden offers a full range of planning advice services:

Whether you have a site that you wish to understand its potential, an estate that you would like to increase the income from or a business idea that you need a site, location or building for Skinner Holden can help. We will work with you to understand the desired outcomes and then research all of the factors that affect your decision, providing you with a comprehensive report, giving you clear options and the risks and rewards that may be achievable. These may include valuations of capital and rental values if required.

If you have a site and a project we can help you structure your pre-application queries, collating all of the material required and presenting it in a professional manner to the local planning officer to ensure that it has the best chance of receiving positive feedback.

Sometimes if you are looking to sell a site, or obtain planning permission for a project prior to raising funds you may be able to reserve matters for future discussion. This is an outline application, which gives permission in principle subject to further details.

Most construction, change of use or other operations require planning permission if they are to be in place for more than 28 days and are not specifically listed in the General Permitted Development Order. We can help advise you in the early stages of your project what permissions you will require and how best to structure your application. Remember, once you have your planning permission you will need to clear the conditions, possibly obtain building regulations approval and other specific licences for entertainment, catering and transport uses.

Planning applications now require a plethora of reports and information. These may include…and this is not a comprehensive list…location plans, site plans, elevations, planning statement. Landscape statement, design and access statement, historic buildings statement, arboricultural report, transport statement, ecological surveys… and so the list goes on. Skinner Holden works closely with a range of specialists t ensure that your application is compiled cost effectively with all of the information required.

It is not uncommon for a very strong application to be turned down at committee for political reasons rather than planning reasons. In these instances, an appeal to the planning inspectorate should be considered. An appeal can be a long process, so it is important to ensure that the initial application is as well presented as possible.

It is not a criminal offence to overlook the fact that you should have got planning permission for a new building, extension or change of use of a building. However, it is a criminal offense to ignore an enforcement order from your local planning authority. If you have been in breach of planning for several years (the length of time depends upon several factors) then you may be able to apply for a CLUED. This will effectively give you permission to continue whatever it is you have been doing! We can provide an initial consultation on the best way forward. Then work with you to collate the appropriate evidence to submit to the local authority.

Many buildings and operations that would normally require a full planning application can gain permission with a simple notification giving the authority 28 days’ notice. There are strict conditions for such applications.

New agricultural dwellings

Although very difficult to obtain planning permission for a new house in the countryside there are occasions when an agricultural or forestry business requires someone to live on site for good husbandry or other reasons. We can help you gather all of the information required to give your agricultural planning application the best chance of success.

Many agricultural dwellings were built at a time when farms required more labour than in modern farming systems. These dwellings may still have agricultural occupancy conditions on them, which restrict the value of the property. We can work with you in order to lift the agricultural occupancy conditions.

There are a number of useful classes of permitted development within the General Permitted Development Order. These also have strict conditions, so each case needs to be considered carefully before deciding the best way forward. Two useful ones to consider for rural situations are:

  • Class Q – Agricultural Buildings to C3 Dwellings
  • Class R – Agricultural Buildings to ‘Flexible’ business use

Where appropriate we can also help you to apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness for a Proposed Use or Development (CLOPUD).

get in touch with iain to find out more

I have had the pleasure of working with Iain on a complicated residential planning project in 2017. The way he went about his consultancy services was very professional and on point at all times. I would have no reticence of recomending Iain and look forward to working with him again very soon.

Stuart Wilson, Director, Wilson Designer Homes Ltd