We recently worked on behalf of a client who had bought a house in Milford, which sits the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Buffer Zone. The house they bought has a beautiful garden facing out toward open countryside. They wanted to erect a garden building that would allow them to make the most of the superb green space at the back of their property.
Unbeknownst to the client the garden had previously been part of an agricultural field which the farmer sold to the residents of the row of houses that abutted his land. The financial agreement reached between the residents and the farmer did not however deal with the planning status of the land. When the client undertook the earth works required to lay the foundations for the garden building, they were approached by a planning officer who informed them they would need to have the change of use of the land confirmed by the planning authority. We were brought into the project at a stage where the client was facing enforcement action, and as such there was an impetuous to get an application for the change of use of the land compiled quickly and effectively.
The other factor influencing the equation was the fact that the property lies within the Buffer Zone, which meant producing a detailed Heritage Impact Assessment to submit alongside the planning statement. Such an assessment requires consideration of the way in which the proposed development would influence the contribution of heritage assets. In this instance we were able to demonstrate that the domestic paraphernalia associated with garden land and the proposed garden buildings would tie into the existing landscape without appearing out of place.
We received approval for the erection of the buildings and the land is now formally recognised by the planning authority as being a domestic garden. No enforcement action was taken by the authority and we have helped set a further precedent for the rest of the residents on the row of buildings to secure the change of use of their gardens.
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