Farmers who have had planning applications for their land turned down should not lose hope, a North East expert has said.
Tom Woof, head of planning at H&H Land Property, said that as long as applicants had done sufficient research with their advisors, there was often scope to challenge the decisions of local planning committees.
“Many people, when refused, don’t consider going to appeal,” he said.
“However our advice is that it is worth it. Recently we have successfully acted on behalf of two entirely different cases.”
In the first example, H&H was approached by a businessman whose application for a small-scale wind turbine near Hexham, Northumberland, had been rejected.
After reviewing the evidence, H&H put the case before an appeals inspector who ruled that environmental benefits and the need for renewable energy would outweigh possible harm to the character, appearance and purpose of the Northumberland green belt.
The potential visual impact was likewise insufficient to turn down the plans.
“In this case, the inspector ruled on the benefits of renewable energy, putting the need for it higher up the agenda,” Mr Woof said.
“He took the view that current green energy proposals are temporary by their nature, only lasting 25 years, and that turbines helped reduce our reliance on carbon-based fuels.”
In another recent case, planners rejected an application for a new agricultural building near Wigton in Cumbria.
When the plans were taken to an inspector, however, he ruled that the scheme should be allowed, given the barn element was out of the direct line of sight for neighbouring houses.
“In both cases we were able to help get a decision which was lawful, and considered the needs of the community and the owner,” said Mr Woof, who pointed out that while planning laws and local development frameworks had to be considered, there was a basic rule in place that meant sustainable development should be supported.
“Defending these rights is at the heart of the service we offer,” he added.
“Planning legislation has changed hugely since the introduction of The National Planning Policy Framework, and some planning authorities are struggling to adjust their approach as a result of this new legislation.
“Consequently, some planning decisions are based on out-of-date policies, or come from planning officers and committees who have perhaps not given sufficient weight to these new policies.
“Planning a new development of any kind takes up a lot of time and energy, and often a planning refusal can seem like the end of the process.
“Our experience is that it is not always the end of the story, and if you wish to consider an appeal, you should come to us to discover what issues were overlooked in the original refusal.”
With offices in Durham and Carlisle, H&H Land and Property is the H&H Group’s specialist chartered surveyor and land agent division. working across the North of England, the Scottish Borders and South West Scotland.