Spring News at Apex Planning Consultants

Child Safety Seat

This past month we have helped a longstanding client with a complaint that led to an investigation by Council enforcement officers, and assisted a local business in getting the planning permission required to expand their operation.  We also unravel what the latest Government planning update actually means.  Read on to find out more…

Milton Keynes Academy

One of the Academys in Milton Keynes has a long history of receiving complaints from its surrounding neighbours. The latest one involved the positioning of an air conditioning unit on the top of one of its buildings.

A site meeting was convened with both our client and two enforcement officers from MK Council, who checked for unauthorised development. We stepped in to explain and discuss the ‘permitted development rights’ applicable in this case. The result was that the enforcement officers agreed that the air conditioning unit satisfied the criteria for permitted development and that there was no case to answer and the file was closed.

In Car Safety Centre

A couple of months ago we told you about Simply Race, a racing car simulation experience, which we helped to gain the planning permission it needed. This month, we came to the aid of a business that deals with cars in the real world.

The In Car Safety Centre specialises in children’s car seats. They are the people to go to for expert advice on the right sort of seat for your child, your car – and for you. Because of the nature of the business, they need to have allocated car parking right next to their premises, which is pretty rare with retail centres. This led them to look for industrial premises instead.

It also meant that their proposal was contrary to Local Plan policy.  Apex Planning Consultants devised a justification for the planning application, showing that the company also needed offices, warehousing for central distribution to all of its retail sites and training for its own staff and outside agencies.

We also commissioned a local agent to report on the availability of suitable retail sites (of which there were none in the previous six months).

In addition, because the Redmoor unit that the company wanted had no other offers for lease or purchase, we worked with the marketing agent to present the case for supporting this proposed change of use.

We continued to liaise closely with the planning office, also rebutting a last-minute parking concern from the Highway Officer, to gain planning permission.

It’s great to feel we have helped another local business to successfully expand.

Planning Laws

Finally, there has been an update in respect of the permitted development rights that allow the change of use from agriculture to residential (Class MB), which came into force on 6 April 2014. This update takes the form of clarification from the Government, which has been added to National Planning Practice Guidance.

This has made the situation regarding conversion of agricultural buildings far clearer.  It means:

  • Up to three new dwellings can be created through conversion of agricultural buildings in addition to any existing dwelling houses not already created via permitted development rights
  • Applications for Prior Approval can only be determined in respect to specific stated criteria and should not apply a test in relation to the sustainability of the location. The relevant criteria to be used include:
    • Transport/highway impact
    • Contamination risks
    • Flooding risks
    • Whether the location or siting of the building makes it otherwise impractical or undesirable for the building to change from agricultural use

If you would like to discuss any of the above in more detail or your own project with us, please drop us a line at info@apexplanning.co.uk.