Rural Development in Olney

Existing Stone Building

Rural development is a hot topic – and one of our recent projects involved planning permission for a new building in Warrington, a hamlet situated to the North of Olney.  The plan was to add a new building to an existing farm complex, currently comprising the commercial re-use of former agricultural buildings.  These uses include warehousing, light industry and offices, as well as a Bed & Breakfast.

There is only one agricultural building now, with all the others being used for light industrial, warehouse or office use.  The existing office building is a beautiful stone conversion already being used by a thriving design and build exhibition company.  This company had plans to bring its other offices together at this site and grow its business further.

The company had already agreed with the farmer to use the space where the current agricultural building sits.  However, the original planning application submitted by the company was withdrawn after the planning officer highlighted a number of concerns, which was when their architect suggested they get in touch with us here at Apex Planning Consultants to help them produce a new strategy for a new planning application.

New strategy required

Our first task was to look at the background of the other buildings and their planning history.  Our research led us to a couple of ways in which we could help with the new application; enhancing and expanding parking provision by reorganising the layout, and the government’s support for expanding and growing rural business – this is covered by the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) and you find out more about this here.  We also identified that the proposed replacement of the existing utilitarian and modern agricultural structure using new but traditional building dimensions and form, and materials such as timber boarding and slate, was in accordance with the NPPF.

Due to some initial negativity from the planning officer  during the life of the application we re-emphasised that this application for planning permission on agricultural land adhered to NPPF requirements.  We also liaised with the local councillors for Olney and Warrington, who said they were in support of the application.

Permission granted

Our efforts resulted in permission being granted under ‘delegated powers’.  There are a few conditions, such as the requirement to submit samples of any materials, but we are pleased to say none are unduly onerous.

Getting planning permission for this new purpose-built office building has had a number of positive benefits, not only can the design and build company continue to grow, but the farmer is able to receive financial support for his already ‘diversified’ farming enterprise and the local economy will benefit from increased inward investment.

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Antony Thompson Architectural Services

Plan showing the design and layout of the proposed office building by Antony Thompson Architectural Services.