Orbis were approached to assess the feasibility of creating a new exclusive hotel in this north Yorkshire service town to essentially ‘create its own market’. The site is central but in a town where there a few buildings over 3 storeys high and a generally ‘conservative’ approach to new development, clearly a sensitive approach to gaining support was required. Orbis were able to carry out a detailed economic, townscape and historic analysis which enabled us to establish that historically there was precedence and demand for a building of this stature and importance, whilst putting a strategy together to ensure ‘buy-in’ by the enabling and assessing authorities. On top of that there are the detailed planning, heritage and highways that will of course underpin any submission.
We always approach any proposal with a ‘‘can-do’ attitude. This is in no-way reckless, but looking for solutions is in our view better than looking for problem, and we believe this approach can influence those who are deciding upon our proposals also. Here, we used our extensive contacts and familiarity with the aims and objectives of cabinet-level local governance to gain a head of steam before addressing the more minor issues of developing this site one by one.
Orbis were asked to consider the planning merits of a proposal to relocate this hugely successful business to a new premises where it could control its land more effectively and continue to grow nationally. The site selected was a redundant plant nursery in the open countryside, but visually speaking in a very exposed location. Using our strong relationships with the local planning authority we were able to quickly gauge the ‘direction of thinking’ when it came to new developments in countryside locations. With the right strategy and evidence to prove that locally there were simply no other suitable premises to allow the business to expand, and a little bit of ‘politicking’, we are able to gain support to retain this business within that district’s boundaries.
Successful planning often involves more than simply presenting the best planning case on paper. Decisions are made by people – whether professional officers or laymen and women on the council committees. Having worked in servicing and directing committees in making their decisions in front of house and behind closed doors, we well understand the processes taking place, and can plan your strategy accordingly.
We were approached in this case following the receipt of an enforcement notice after the client took over the site of a previous office and warehouse, where now his operational HQ and private ambulance fleet were based. The sight of up to 12 new private ambulances in the local vicinity could hardly be missed and initially had caused some alarm with local residents. A concessionary approach with the council failed to realise any results and so an appeal was made against the notice, setting out in detail why, with certain amendments, the use would be acceptable and should therefore be granted planning permission. This involved a detailed research of the history of the site, local appeals as well as a detailed ‘Parking beat’ survey and other highways submissions using our trusted engineer’s contacts. At appeal the inspector accepted all our evidence and arguments and permission was granted retrospectively, safeguarding the business here and up to 35 jobs in the process.
In this case it was clear that local objection to the scheme was largely based on misunderstandings of the impact of the site on nearby parking, and that the Council had taken this at face value without considering the facts. Providing unsurmountable evidence to the contrary should have swayed the council on this matter, but council members were reluctant to concede. Fortunately it shows that a robust case, backed up by strong evidence and a creative approach, will usually win the day at appeal.
The client’s brief was straight forward – to find a new premises outside of London for them to relocate their plastics and recycling business. A suitable property was located but on inspection was found to have had a jaded planning history recently. A change of use was required and with this evidence to demonstrate that there would be no adverse impacts upon highways, ecology and residential amenity. To this a flexible approach was adopted where this could be accommodated, with strong negotiations with officers where concerns were seen to be unfounded.