Our clients tasked us with obtaining consent for residential development of a site comprising a number of disused poultry buildings near to Ashwell in Hertfordshire.
The site is in a sensitive Green Belt area which was classified as open countryside although there is some existing residential development close by. It also had planning history as a previous application for residential development submitted by another firm had been refused.
Determined to deliver a successful result the focus of our planning team was on the need to overcome the site’s constraints and address the key issues associated with the previous refusal. It was crucial to engage with North Hertfordshire District Council as planning authority, the village Parish Council and the local community from the outset.
Working closely with the architectural and design team at Robinson & Hall our planning team prepared the planning application following initial pre-application discussions with the planning authority to determine the views of officers to optimise the chances of a successful planning outcome.
We commissioned specialist surveys, including biodiversity and highways, and tasked our design team with the creation of eye-catching dwellings incorporating cutting edge design to reflect the former agricultural use.
Andrew Barr, Head of Planning and Development, comments “With many rural planning applications, visualisations and sketch schemes are often as important as the content. Where it involves farmyard redevelopments planning officers heavily focus on the design aspect as it is important that any proposals are in keeping with the character of the rural area. In this case a modern twist had to be incorporated in a sensitive way to ensure this reflected the site’s agricultural heritage.”
The visualisations which accompanied the application really helped to overcome the concerns of local residents and the planning officer. In fact, the new executive-style buildings were described in the planning officer’s report as “……..modern, almost quirky detail, the final design of six detached houses around a paved courtyard is clearly a reference to the site’s former use. Overall the final scheme amounts to an innovative attempt to move away from the usual pastiche interpretation of rural vernacular.”
Continuous dialogue with the case officer and ongoing engagement with the local community helped expedite the planning process and planning permission was successfully gained for six five-bedroom family homes.
Our farm and land sales department then proceeded to market the site on behalf of our clients. Sophie Greco, Development and Agency Surveyor who managed the sale comments, “We sent a mailshot out to all developers on our database just before the site came onto the market and we received over 60 enquiries and an offer within the first couple of weeks. This offer was one of many which resulted in some competitive bidding.” Sophie continues, “There is huge demand for a site like this so we weren’t at all surprised by the level of interest received. Buyers could clearly see the value of the planning consent which had been obtained.”
An offer was accepted on the site at 30% over the guide price within a month of it coming onto the market and the sale completed just two months later.
Our clients were delighted with the overall result and were grateful to our team for their persistence in overcoming the many challenges presented.
If you have a site which may have development potential or which you may have discounted previously, maybe it is time for another look? Please contact us.