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Category Archives: News

Housing Provision for the Elderly

Housing Provision for the Elderly

Care needs to be taken to ensure there are residences for older residents – and it is a particular issue for retiring farmers…

We have heard that the Communities and Local Government Committee (CLGC) has called for a review of the provision of housing for older people.

Over past years, the number of bungalows being developed has fallen. However, it’s not only bungalows – traditionally the choice of older people – that are required. In its report, Housing for Older People the CLGC discusses the need for residential care and nursing homes.

There is a suggestion that the consultation draft revised NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) is seeking to address this issue. Like the current NPPF, the three objectives for achieving sustainable development include a ‘social’ element, requiring the planning system to “meet the [housing] needs of present and future generations”. However, the draft NPPF takes this a step further and responsibility is more explicitly transferred to individual local planning authorities and developers. It states that “the needs of groups with specific housing requirements” (paragraph 60) should be addressed, and “policies should identify the size, type and tenure of homes required…including but not limited to…older people…” (paragraph 62).

Better provision for the elderly

There are few Local Plans that currently plan positively for the provision of homes for the elderly, instead they rely on the market to find appropriate sites and then propose a development. The CLGC report and draft NPPF represent an opportune time to bring this matter to the fore, to advocate greater engagement between the populace, local authorities and care homes providers, as well as market housing developers, who could incorporate better provision for the elderly within their house types.

Rural issues

In a more specific area, attention has been drawn to the problems for retired or retiring farmers. The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has highlighted the difficulty in obtaining planning permission for agricultural workers’ dwellings. It points out that it is difficult for a retiring farmer to vacate an existing occupancy tied home and relocate to one that is sold at open market rates.

As such, it is difficult to commit to allowing the next generation of farmers to take over without them having access to an agricultural workers’ dwelling. Succession is vital to the long-term viability of a farm, so it makes sense to have the retiring farmer close at hand to provide advice and support. The CLA says this means there is a need for change within the NPPF, particularly paragraph 55.

Here at Apex Planning Consultants we frequently work on such rural planning projects and we have helped numerous farmers over the years to obtain planning permission for agricultural worker dwellings. It is certainly not easy to do this, and despite the NPPF having replaced the oft stated helpful advice contained in PSS7, it generally remains the case that to obtain permission one must demonstrate a functional need and financial stability to construct and maintain the house, and ensure the viability of the farm enterprise.

The bar is often set high, depending on the local planning authority considering the application, but with the appropriate justification this test can be satisfied. This does not mean however that a review of paragraph 55 would not be welcome, in order to help farmers avoid having to endure a difficult process, while still retaining necessary controls.

With this in mind, it is encouraging to see that the draft NPPF includes provision (paragraph 81) to help address this matter. While it only supports the development of ‘isolated homes’ in specific circumstances, there is allowance for this to apply where there is an “essential need for a rural worker, including those taking majority control of a farm business, to live permanently at or near their place of work in the countryside”.

However, we think even more can be done. For this reason, we also support the forthcoming change to the General Permitted Development Order, which on 6 April 2018 will include provision under Part 3, Class Q for up to five dwelling houses to be created from the conversion of agricultural buildings; this is an increase from the current maximum of three dwellings.

If you would like to discuss the detailed provisions of the updated Class Q, we would be happy to hear from you. And if you would like to discuss your own planning project with us, or just find out more about what we do, please continue to browse the website or drop us an email to: info@apexplanning.co.uk without obligation.

Awaiting the National Planning Policy Framework

Awaiting the National Planning Policy Framework

The planning industry is waiting for the draft of the National Planning Policy Framework to appear before Easter… Those of us in the planning and development industry are waiting with bated breath for the Government to publish the draft revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which is expected before Easter (according to a letter from… Read more

A successful year for Apex Planning Consultants

A successful year for Apex Planning Consultants

Getting the right result for our clients is always very satisfying – and this year we have had some particularly pleasing outcomes for both domestic and commercial customers.Our work below includes examples for Change of Use, Residential Development, Listed Buildings, Planning Appraisal and Planning Appeals, for both domestic, commercial and industrial clients. Read on to… Read more

Planning Industry Developments

Planning Industry Developments

There are a number of developments in the pipeline that will impact the planning industry from last month’s budget… Following on from our blog in November and the recent budget announcement, there are more impending changes that will affect the industry: Planning application fees One of the other notable changes that appears close to fruition is… Read more

Budget looms large over planning issues

Budget looms large over planning issues

Planning hits the headlines at this crucial time… With the Budget looming, the world of planning has again hit the headlines for several reasons. Of course, there is the usual abuse directed toward the delivery of housing – it’s the fault of the greedy developers / incompetent local planning authorities (*delete as applicable!) – which… Read more

Changes to planning policies could speed up housing delivery

Changes to planning policies could speed up housing delivery

Two recent Government announcements could help developers get homes built with fewer delays… There have been a couple of major developments in the planning world recently. Statement of Common Ground The first is the requirement for councils to produce a Statement of Common Ground with neighbouring authorities. This initiative is one of several consultation proposals… Read more

Housing crisis – is it the developers fault?

Housing crisis – is it the developers fault?

Are greedy developers at fault for the lack of land for housing, or are there other factors contributing to the UK’s housing crisis? An article in The Guardian earlier this year claims that the housing crisis is being worsened by greedy developers, who are hoarding land in a bid to sell it on at a… Read more

How technology is changing the face of house design

How technology is changing the face of house design

Holographic, virtual designs are set to change the way architects and developers work and interact with planning authorities and potential buyers… The advance of technology is changing the way we live and work on an almost-daily basis – just look at how smartphones have become such a staple of everyday life. And the architectural industry… Read more

Post Election Update

Post Election Update

After the dust has settled… the planning and construction industries after the election: Some things have certainly changed since the snap General Election on June 8. One of the major factors for the planning industry was the fact that Housing and Planning Minister Gavin Barwell lost his seat, as we predicted. In his place is… Read more

What will the General Election mean for planning?

What will the General Election mean for planning?

We take a look at the planning-related policies in each party’s manifesto… The prelude to the General Election has been notable for its relative silence on the matter of planning and housing development. It is possible that this was, in part, due to the protracted and extensive discussions that happened before Parliament was dissolved, which… Read more

Our Pledge To You

The primary aim of Apex Planning Consultants is to establish a clear and precise strategy that tackles the hurdles presented by the increasing complexities of the planning process and associated legislation.

This must be provided to retain our credibility and client trust, and this is achieved through our reliability to deliver, how well we keep our promise, and the expedient delivery of projects.

Important to this is our ability to be accessible to all clients and to communicate information quickly and as simply as possible.  A key focus of Apex Planning Consultants is to help clients find the solution that is right for them.

To learn more about individual projects, please take a look at our blog.

This is what just two of our clients have said:

“I contacted Apex Planning Consultants when my application to change the use of my rental property from a single dwelling household to a HiMO was refused by local authority planners.  Apex Planning Consultants launched an appeal with the planning inspectorate on behalf.  They demonstrated high standards of professionalism and great attention to detail in preparing and responding to submissions.  This led to a recent decision in my favour, which now allows me to operate the property as a HiMO.  In addition, they successfully negotiated to avoid the potentially expensive and crippling conditions which the local authority planners were seeking to impose with the inspectorate’s decision.  That is a result!”
George Bandasoah – Property Landlord – Milton Keyes

 “I used Apex Planning recently on a project, following a recommendation from my architect.  They provided planning advice, influencing the design of a large extension and additionally a planning statement to support the planning application.  I found them to be efficient, knowledgeable and very professional.  Their costs were very reasonable, given the result of achieving full planning permission on first application.  I would thoroughly recommend them.”
Darren Bishop – Homeowner – Aylesbury

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