New Primary School Planning Application – Crawley, West Sussex

We have recently submitted a detailed planning application in Broadfield, Crawley, for a new primary school and nursery with a capacity for 180 pupils aged 2-11. The applicant is seeking to establish a primary education facility (an independent faith school), including nursery/early years provision with an ancillary Community Café plus a book store with an educational shop.

We were appointed to manage the submission of the application and provide Planning Consultancy services, liaising closely with our project partners, Blackstone Architects and DTPC Transport Consultants, in the preparation of the scheme. This approach was used to ensure that we had the right specialisms and expertise resulting in the submission of a favourable development proposal.

The development will result in the regeneration of a prominent site, in addition to addressing the aspirations of the local resident community by providing an additional quality primary education facility. This will be a high-quality development featuring undercroft parking with a public square incorporating a water feature. The design has taken into consideration the context of the site, as well as ensuring that there would be no unacceptable impacts on local amenities or on the highway network.

We are looking forward to working closely with Crawley Council and managing the application throughout the entire planning process and beyond!

Inspire Planning Solutions Ltd is an established Chartered Town Planning Consultancy providing wide-ranging assistance for planning applications and appeals.

For any planning advice and support please contact us by calling 0161 428 0445 or by email info@inspireplanning.co.uk

Another Planning Success – Chelmsford, Essex

Inspire Planning Solutions Ltd has secured planning permission for an attractive development of 9 apartments in Chelmsford, Essex, which involves the demolition of a large dwelling house, being replaced by a 3 storey new build scheme.

Through a close working relationship with the Council, we provided project management and planning consultancy services, which were instrumental in guiding this scheme through to a positive outcome. This compromised a number of pre-application discussions, careful research to formulate a planning argument, and responsiveness to consultee feedback during the planning process.

The application received support from members of the local community with one person commenting that: “these flats will give the opportunity to people like me to get on the housing ladder”, demonstrating that the demand for housing, when combined with a well thought out development can get the backing from wide-ranging stakeholders.

Our Planning Consultant, Thomas Konarski, commented on the success adding, “underused sites in the urban areas can be turned into opportunities with the right vision and team“.

For residential development advice and support please contact us by calling 0161 428 0445 or by email info@inspireplanning.co.uk

2017 Budget – a raft of potential planning changes

 

After much hype and predictions on what the Chancellor would do to kick start the next housing phase, it turned out to be yet another budget with the inevitable announcements on planning.

As expected, there was more of the usual, such as extending permitted development rights, but, the announcement on the demolition of commercial buildings and replacement with housing was an unusual departure from the current Permitted Development rights. Inevitably, there will have to be additional safeguards in place and also some form of a prior approval process for this to be successful. But will this proposal like many others before it become dumbed down?

Those of us who were looking for more radical reforms will have to be patient. There were some new ideas, such as a new form of ‘exception’ site (housing being built for first time buyers), but we’ll have to wait to see further details before we pass judgement on that one!

The de-allocation of sites from local plans looks interesting: at present, changes in land designation are at the behest of Local Authorities and their timetable for updating and producing new plans. If enacted, this change could result in greater flexibility where sites are not always materialising for their intended use.

We see some good ideas in the budget but are the proposals likely to deliver the 300,000 new homes a year the government has set out? Don’t forget we are still awaiting the construction of the 200,000 starter homes promised in the 2014 budget!

Will the Chancellor’s proposals and ideas help build the houses we desperately need or should he have gone much further with more radical reforms and legislation?

The only thing we can safely prediction is that there will be many more consultations in the coming weeks and months.

Housing Crisis – one possible solution

Whilst browsing through my July issue of The Planner, I came across a rather refreshing article – an interview with Brian Berry, the Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), who represents thousands of small-medium sized (SME) UK construction firms.

The article asks the question, are small builders the answer to our housing crisis?

With the release in February of the latest housing white paper, the Government has finally realised that a way to ease our housing crisis is to use more SME builders. If implemented, this one change to the system of allocating a range of sites including small parcels of land would go some way in addressing our housing problems.

The FMB agrees with the white paper and believes small and medium sized house builders can make a much bigger contribution to the building of new homes if smaller plots of land were made available to the smaller construction firms.

Today, many local authority house plans (outside of National Parks,) allocate larger sites which are far beyond the reach of our smaller building firms and which only larger firms can take on due to the large costs in development. Smaller land allocation plots and less ‘red tape’ will help SME builders plug the gap to try and meet our ever-growing need for additional housing.

Is there a catch to this proposed change in strategy…YES! Anyone involved in the preparation of local plans will testify to the lengthy, resource intensive process of evidence gathering, consultation and assessment of sites. Local authority planning departments need properly resourcing – not only front-line development management handling planning applications, but also planning policy teams producing strategic plans that are workable, realistic and achievable. Investment in more personnel is also a critical part in this complex jigsaw – even more if there are many (smaller) sites to consider.

To answer the question are SME builders the answer to our housing crisis? We, at Inspire Planning Solutions Ltd, agree with Brian Berry and the FMB – release more appropriate sized plots of land and more people will achieve their dream of having their own property.