We’re recruiting – Join our team

PDP_We're Recruiting

We’re recruiting! Are you looking for a new role? Are you looking for a career in Architecture?

Planning & Design Practice is a leading town planning and architectural consultancy looking to recruit an Architectural Assistant to join our team in Derby.

Position: Architectural Assistant

We are looking for an Architectural Assistant to assist our growing Architectural team. The post holder should have preferably Revit and AutoCAD basic skills; show an interest in Building Design Construction, sustainability and have a desire to develop drawing skills and have a basic knowledge of construction.

This is a junior role within the team and further training will be given on Revit, AutoCAD and Adobe packages. The applicant should have a strong interest in building sustainable architecture as well as conservation, heritage and building design and be seeking a career in Architecture or Architectural Technology.

  • The successful candidate will be required to have:
  • A highly motivated and enthusiastic team working ethic.
  • Knowledge of a range of computer systems, basic BIM, CAD skills and Microsoft Office.
  • Competency in written and spoken English
  • Good interpersonal skills with the ability to work both independently and as a part of a team.

Your workload will be varied and to begin with the job holder will be doing many different tasks including:

  • Preparing simple plans and drawings
  • Manipulating images using Adobe packages.
  • Assisting the team with the production of Computer Generated Images (CGI).
  • Submitting fee quotes (prepared by others) to the client.
  • Filing & printing of plans
  • Taking incoming calls
  • Following up applications with council officials, such as planning officers.
  • General Admin tasks supporting the office manager and other colleagues.
  • Any other appropriate work requested by colleagues and company directors.

We support continuing professional development and there is opportunity to attend CPDs regularly. We encourage further learning, therefore the right candidate could be supported to go on to university and return to the company during holidays or work part time.

Working at our practice could see you become an Architect, an Architectural Technologist, a Town Planner or lead you in to other Construction related job roles.

We would encourage applicants to undertake an apprenticeship course, however we will consider applicants who wish to go straight into work prior to starting a university degree. If you are selected for an interview, we would like you to bring a portfolio to show your interest in the profession or GCSE/A-level Art, Design or Technology coursework.

For more information on both positions and the practice please visit our website at www.planningdesign.co.uk or get in touch by phone or email.

To be considered for interview please provide a cover letter, CV and examples of your work to: info@planningdesign.co.uk.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Please note: Strictly no agency interest please

Briefing note: New permitted development rights and changes to the Use Classes Order

PDP_New Permitted Development Rights

July and August are proving to be a time of significant change for the English Planning system which has arrived on the back of changes announced at the start of the summer in response to the Covid-19 crisis. The introduction of new permitted development rights, changes to the Use Classes Order and a White Paper citing intentions to reform the decision-making process across the country have all been released within a period of a single fortnight.

This paper will look at new permitted development rights that have emerged as well as the changes to the Use Classes Order.


The changes relate to;

  • Demolition and Rebuild for Residential Use
  • Additional Storeys to Dwellinghouses
  • Additional Storeys to Create Dwellings
  • Changes to the Use Classes Order

The changes to Use Classes order provide greater flexibility for changes in uses without the need for planning permission. From the 1 September 2020 a new use Class E comes into effect which encompasses Class A1 – shops; financial and professional services; restaurants and cafes; and business. It also creates two new Use Classes, Class F1 is for learning and non-residential institutions. Specifically, any use not including residential use and Class F2 is for local community use.

The new permitted development rights represent exciting opportunities to business and homeowners alike. The opportunity for detached offices or light industrial units to be demolished and rebuilt with an apartment block that provides an additional two storeys will clearly be attractive in certain situations. Firstly the PD right provides certainty that the concept of such development is acceptable but the additional 2 floors is also likely to make schemes viable that previously weren’t.

It represents a great opportunity for small, rural commercial sites, for instance where there is a small 2 storey workshop as this could now be demolished and replaced with a 3 /4 storey home.

For the householder PD rights, the ability to provide a new storey opens up a great alternative to Dormer windows and loft conversions. The legislation has provision for the associated engineering operations and specifically cites foundations and wall strengthening as being allowed.

The right allows for the introduction of an additional story to give living accommodation providing a very large home. But perhaps the biggest advantage of the permitted development rights is for development in the Green Belt. Historically development in the Green Belt has to be limited to modest residential extensions, this right opens up some potentially enormous additions to an existing building that would normally be resisted by Local Authorities on the grounds of the harm that they would have on the openness of the Green Belt. This is a test that does not apply to permitted envelopment rights.

Use Classes Order (UCO)

The Government has announced fundamental changes to Town Centre Use Classes, which will provide greater flexibility for changes in uses without the need for planning permission.

From the 1 September 2020 a new use Class E will replace the following existing use classes:

  • Class A1 – shops;
  • Class A2 – financial and professional services;
  • Class A3 – restaurants and cafes; and
  • Class B1 – business.

This will mean that land or buildings utilised for the above uses will not need to obtain planning permission for changes within this use class.

There will also be a new Class F1 and F2, which will provide for change of use within each class.

Class F1 is for learning and non-residential institutions. Specifically, any use not including residential use:

(a) for the provision of education;
(b) for the display of works of art (otherwise than for sale or hire),
(c) as a museum,
(d) as a public library or public reading room,
(e) as a public hall or exhibition hall,
(f) for, or in connection with, public worship or religious instruction,
(g) as a law court.

Class F2 is for local community use. Specifically, any use as:

(a) a shop mostly selling essential goods, including food, to visiting members of the public in circumstances where—
(i) the shop’s premises cover an area not more than 280 metres square, and
(ii) there is no other such facility within 1000 metre radius of the shop’s location,
(b) a hall or meeting place for the principal use of the local community,
(c) an area or place for outdoor sport or recreation, not involving motorised vehicles or firearms,
(d) an indoor or outdoor swimming pool or skating rink.

Cinemas, concert halls pubs, wine bars and takeaways will become a sui generis use with no permitted changes.

Changes to the General Permitted Development Order

There are several new permitted development rights that have emerged, all of which relate to building upwards.

  • Demolition and Rebuild for Residential Use
  • Additional Storeys to Dwellinghouses
  • Additional Storeys to Create Dwellings

Demolition and Rebuild for Residential Use

Demolition of vacant and redundant free-standing buildings that fell within use class B1 and C3 on 12 March 2020, and their replacement with residential development. The rights apply to purpose-built residential blocks of flats only, and therefore do not apply to terraced buildings, detached dwellings or mixed-use buildings.

The rights only apply to buildings constructed prior to 1 January 1990 that have been entirely vacant for at least 6 months prior to the application for prior approval. The development, consisting of both demolition and replacement build, must be completed within three years of the date of the grant of prior approval.

There are various limits placed on the scale of the development permitted, including that it must be within the footprint of the original building with a footprint of up to 1,000 m2 and with a maximum height of 18m. This is subject to prior approval application in relation to the following criteria;

  • transport and highway impacts of the development,
  • contamination,
  • flooding risks,
  • impact of noise from other premises on the future residents,
  • design and external appearance of the new building,
  • adequacy of natural light in all habitable rooms of each new dwelling,
  • impact of the introduction of residential use into an area,
  • impact of the development on the amenity of the new building and of neighbouring premises,
  • impacts of noise from commercial premises,
  • impact on surrounding businesses, impact on heritage and archaeology,
  • method of demolition,
  • plans for landscaping and the impact on air traffic and defence.

The rights will not apply in Conservation Areas or to listed buildings or scheduled monuments.

Additional Storeys to Dwellinghouses

The new permitted development rights to allow existing houses to be extended by way of an additional 2 storeys. The rights apply to existing houses which are detached, semi-detached or in a terrace. They are subject to a maximum height limit of 18m, and where the house is in a terrace its height cannot be more than 3.5m higher than the next tallest house in the terrace.

The rights only apply to houses built between 1 July 1948 and 28 October 2018 and do not apply in Conservation Areas.

There is a requirement to obtain prior approval in relation to;

  • impact on the amenity of neighbouring premises,
  • external appearance,
  • impacts a taller building may have on air traffic and defence assets.

Additional Storeys to Create Dwellings

From 1 September the construction of up to 2 additional storeys on free standing blocks and on buildings in a terrace that are in certain commercial uses (including A1, A2, A3 and B1(a)), and in mixed uses with an element of housing, to create additional self-contained homes. The rights are subject to a maximum height limit of 30m for detached buildings and 18m for terraces.

A new Class AC and AD to Part 20 to the General Permitted Development Order will allow up to 2 additional storeys to be constructed on existing houses which are detached or in a terrace to create new self-contained homes. The rights are subject to a maximum height limit for the newly extended building of 18m and it cannot be more than 3.5m higher than the next tallest house in the terrace.

These rights apply to houses and buildings built between 1 July 1948 and 5 March 2018 and they have to have been in one of the relevant uses or mixed uses on 5 March 2018. The rights will not apply in Conservation Areas or to listed buildings or scheduled monuments.

There is a requirement to obtain prior approval in relation to the following;

  • transport and highway impacts of the development,
  • contamination and
  • flooding risks,
  • external appearance,
  • impact on amenity,
  • provision of adequate natural light in all habitable rooms of the new homes,
  • noise impact from existing commercial uses,
  • impact on surrounding businesses
  • impact on air traffic and defence assets.

Comprising town planners, architects and architectural assistants our staff bring a wealth of experience from a range of backgrounds and various parts of the UK. Our planners have worked in the public & private sectors, and have excellent working relations with Local Planning Authorities.

For further information and clarification on these new permitted development rights, and changes to the Use Classes Order please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free 30 minute consultation to discuss your project.

Growth, renewal and protection

PDP_Growth Renewal Protection

The government’s proposals put forward by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick to identify areas for ‘Growth’, ‘Renewal’ and ‘Protection’ with corresponding levels of planning control raise some interesting dilemmas.

The planning system is based on local communities developing a Local Plan for themselves which sets out the priorities for growth and development within an area supplemented by neighbourhood plans. Some strategic planning does take place in areas such a Greater Manchester but strategic planning was undermined by the ‘Localism Agenda’ developed by a previous Conservative Government to hand planning control ‘back to the people’.

Local Authorities will be ordered to identify areas for growth, renewal and protection. In areas of growth, development will be able to proceed without planning permission. In areas of renewal there will be permission in principle but with oversight from the local community to address issues such as flood risk, design, impact on transport and highways. In areas of protection the current planning rules will continue.

This approach could undermine the localism agenda and the whole local plan process. In areas of growth, with no planning rules, identified local plan sites for development could remain undeveloped while poorly designed, poor quality development which provides no funding to support local services and facilities could be built next door. Nothing the government has said will ensure that the Building Better agenda would be followed through in a growth area. There is also no indication that basic standards would be met in terms of minimum dwelling sizes or space about dwelling standards. Incompatible uses could be placed next to each other and a growth area like the Enterprise Zones of the 1970s could be used to undermine the social and economic fabric of a community.

This approach could also reinforce social division. Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Green Belt, Heritage coasts and other designated areas have strict controls on new development while Conservation Areas and World Heritage Sites place strict controls over design and protection of the built environment. These areas are also expensive places in which to buy property and they have the effect of creating social division. Areas of protection are likely to equate to these areas but also to rural and coastal areas where there are high house values so that those whose voices ‘count’ are offered a system that protects their local area. For example the localism agenda might continue in the Home Counties, using full planning controls with perhaps growth areas in east London, the Medway Towns and ethnically diverse areas such as Luton and Slough. In the north in settlements such as Middlesbrough, Barnsley, Rochdale, and Blackpool large parts of their towns and cities could be identified as growth areas and in doing so the opportunity for people living and working in those locations to retain control over their environment through planning control would be removed. This could have the effect of removing control from the very people least able to exert control over their own lives. This creates inequity, one rule for one and one rule for another. It undermines society and it is a very dangerous direction of travel.

Without planning control there is no requirement to fund local services and facilities. This could make the provision of local services in poor areas where the need is greatest far more difficult with schools overwhelmed, health services stretched and the quality of the local environment made even poorer.

Before this system is introduced I urge the government to think again. Covid-19 has already exposed social, educational and health divisions in our society. The proposed changes in the planning system will only cement these divisions.

We need well planned cities and towns and equal levels of service. We need a green decarbonising agenda and we need to improve the quality of life and the wellness of every citizen of the UK, not just the wealthy few.

Jonathan Jenkin, Managing Director, Planning & Design Practice Ltd

Main Image: Thanks to Cactus Images

Building on our International Architectural Expertise

PDP_Achitectural Team

Planning & Design Practice Ltd are excited to announce new additions to its architectural team, as we look beyond lock down, embrace the “new normal” and the opportunities that this may present for our homes, high streets and workplaces.

Our approachable and experienced team comprises architects, architectural assistants, designers and technicians. Our architects have true international expertise having worked on large scale projects in Russia, Germany, Spain and the United States as well as across the UK.

We offer a comprehensive design service through all the RIBA work stages from concept through to completion.
Planning Design believe in good architecture, to improve our quality of life, create real value and to drive sustainable development, creating robust, resilient homes and buildings to face the challenges of climate change.

Joining our team is Senior Architect Siegfried Doering (Dipl.-Ing. Architecture, AKH, ARB, RIBA). Prior to Planning & Design Siegfried was Senior Architect/Project Design Manager as part of a team of 25 architects and engineers, and also Quality Manager in the department for a company offering technically sophisticated and customized infrastructure, mobility and transport solutions internationally.

Siegfried’s personal philosophy is to practise and understand architecture as a creative compromise between budget, function, quality and aesthetics – all tailored to the client’s needs.

Jonathan Jenkin, Managing Director of Planning & Design said:

“We are pleased that Siegfried has joined an expanded architectural team at Planning Design. He is an experienced architect with 35 years of professional practice working in the UK, Middle East and Europe including Germany, and Russia. He has worked on an enormous variety of projects from single dwellings, apartment blocks, conservation, education, care homes, office buildings, data centres, industrial, retail, and railway infrastructure through to major logistics centres and has the on-site experience that will ensure that projects can be delivered on time and on budget.

His experience and professionalism will be invaluable to our collaborative team and to our clients and will allow us to deliver a wider range of architectural projects here in the UK. His appointment is part of our ambition to create a leading architectural practice which combines the skills of a the conservation architect, the knowledge of low carbon design, the flair of creative minds and the practical experience of delivering projects at any scale. We believe that our mix of skills and experience sets us apart from other practices here in the Midlands and South Yorkshire in delivering both excellence and creativity.”

Also joining Planning Design, we are pleased to welcome Architectural Technologist Joseph Cattmull. Studying the built environment at Cambridge Regional College and then graduating from The University of Derby in the summer of 2018, Joseph brings an interest in listed and traditional architecture and how they can be modernised.

Siegfried and Joseph join a team that includes Lindsay Cruddas, a RIBA accredited Specialist Conservation Architect, of which there are currently only 122 in the country. In addition they join ARB registered architect Fernando Collado Lopez, who qualified at the higher School of Architecture in Seville and also studied at the Fakultät für Architektur und Landschaft in Hannover, Germany and Part II Architectural Assistant Tina Humphreys, a graduate of De Montfort University in Leicester with a Master’s in Architecture, and who is now working towards becoming an RIBA Chartered Architect.

At Planning Design we believe that good design is a crucial part of the planning process. Getting the design of a project right is critical to gaining a successful planning consent and avoiding unnecessary delay and costs.

Our team of RIBA Chartered Architects and Architectural Assistants have a wealth of experience working with homeowners, developers and the public sector, both here in the UK, across Europe and the United States.

We can help you to establish your brief and work through your design ideas, whilst bringing solutions to make your building a successful place to live or work in.

Our architectural team are based across Derby, Matlock, Macclesfield and Sheffield. For more information, or to discuss your dream project please get in touch.

Top Image: Bespoke New Dwelling, Darley Dale, Matlock

Engaging with NDSA


As current office holders of the NDSA, we are committed to providing a progressive, inclusive platform through which we can positively engage the architectural profession and broader community. We hope that by directly involving our membership with key stakeholders within our industry, we can stimulate critical and constructive debate to ultimately make meaningful contributions towards the betterment of the places we all live.

We have been working towards realising these goals by developing a number of mechanisms around active contributors of The Committee, drawing on intellectually engaging guest speakers with local connections. We have reviewed, replaced and reinvented some established NDSA traditions along the way.

This has manifested itself in a number of ways, some of which are outlined below.

Digital presence

We have expanded our social media presence, with a distribution of responsibilities across various Committee members. We are currently expanding our outreach capabilities by working with proven online platforms in an effort to deliver quality content. Please like, share, connect, subscribe or follow our profiles and content wherever possible, it directly helps us to grow our audience and fulfill our mission to promote local talent. We also readily welcome contributions from our membership, so if you would like to write an article, present a project or something else, please get in touch. We are currently active on the following platforms:


Urban Room

This is a critically useful facility used by the NDSA for a range of functions throughout the year. Through a local partnership (involving Nottingham City Council, English Heritage, Historic England, University of Nottingham & Nottingham Trent University) we make use of Nottingham’s Urban Room, an initiative derived from The Farrell Review (http://www.farrellreview.co.uk), a blueprint for a successful civic space, the goals of which are to help further progressive surrounding urbanism through community engagement. As designers we utilise this space to challenge the consequences of our role in the development of, and participation in, our Urban Realm.

For the Website of the Urban Room please visit https://www.38carringtonstreet.org.uk


NDSA Chair Joshua von Fragstein hosted the inaugural Derby Architecture Celebration (link). The event was well attended with many guests bracing the terrible weather and traffic chaos from the sudden closure of Clifton Bridge in Nottingham. Hosted at the Derby Museums and with guest speakers travelling nationally to deliver presentations on their exceptional Derby & Derbyshire based projects, the evening set a new standard for the NDSA. We aim to build upon the success of this exhibition to host more like it in the future

A snapshot article of the event can be found here on our website:

Student Awards

The NDSA Committee agreed to discontinue the £300 one off cash prize traditionally handed out annually to a student at UoN & NTU each year, replacing it instead with an annual event centred around winning students, chosen from a Values & Principles based selection criteria.

The proposal was successful in being awarded RIBA Local Iniative Fund finances to host. It took the format of a set of presentations of winning projects by successful students, accompanied by local, regional or national intra-industry professionals whose expertise and areas of research interests have clear cross overs with the themes within the winning projects.

The presentations were followed by a period of networking, affording the students the opportunity to meet with and speak to the industry wide professionals invited to the event.

The event was successful in bringing together the students at the conclusion of their studies, with professionals from complementing disciplines who provided positive, progressive feedback on the projects. The students obtained an extended avenue of professional advice and support with digital records of their presentation being hosted online by the NDSA.

Education Officers Michael Hodgson & Ayesha Batool worked tirelessly with the supporting Work Group members Joshua, Rory and myself to shortlist the end of year projects from multiple courses across both Nottingham Based Universities and coordinate the subsequent event.

A brief clip capturing reflections from our Guest Panelists can be found here.


Work is under way to digitally archive the full history of the NDSA. Chinzia Russo, Mark Jermy & Josh von Fragstein have begun a long term effort to catalogue and make freely available the history of the Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Society of Architects. This archiving exercise has doubled as a research project, with Michael Hodgson unearthing notable NDSA officers and the respective roles they had in society. This work will be hosted and maintained on the NDSA website.


Committee member Rory Wood has worked hard to reconnect the NDSA with construction industry partners, enabling us to obtain the necessary finances to maintain operations. A Summer BBQ was held, acting as a kick starter for the new committee. Many society members and industry partners met to offer suggestions and pledge their support. Sponsorship’s for forthcoming events were a key indicator of the successes from this event. Having started out this tenure with no capital surpluses and only minimal reserves, the work of Rory has been instrumental in securing the functionality of the NDSA. We offer sponsorship opportunities for our events, publications and online platforms in order to secure the short, medium and long term future of the NDSA. While the NDSA is run on the goodwill of volunteers, who give up their time to be part of something bigger than themselves, there are resource costs that need to be met annually. Please get in touch with us if you would like to sponsor the NDSA.

Considerable contributions from Andrew King and Thomas Dichmont in particular were key to laying the groundwork for much of the above.
We encourage you to reach out, get involved and become empowered to positively influence the development of our environment. If you have ideas for events, seminars, lectures or articles then we are here to work together to help take them forward. To stay up to date with the NDSA please subscribe to our mailing list here https://www.ndsa.org.uk/join-us

Paul MacMahon
Honorary Secretary NDSA

Key extension granted for John Palin Grocers

PDP_Grocers Extension

Planning & Design Practice Ltd were delighted to receive planning consent for a new industrial unit on behalf of whole sale grocers, John Palin Limited at Brookfield Industrial Estate, Tansley. John Palin have grown significantly since starting business as grocers in Derbyshire over 150 years ago, from the humble beginnings of selling from a horse and cart, it is now established itself as one of the largest independent wholesalers and distributors of fruit and vegetables in the country. The extension forms part of a wider refurbishment of the existing buildings, helping to increase much needed capacity for frozen produce. The proposal, a steel framed building, will house a new potato peeling line.

The application encountered difficulties, with the adjoining public footpath differing from the legal right of way. After liaison with the relevant consultees, it was considered that the proposal would indeed enhance the footpath by provision of a new pedestrian walkway.

The Council agreed that the proposal was acceptable when viewed within the context of the existing area (which is dominated by commercial uses), and its designation within the Local Plan indicating that the area has capacity to accommodate new development without detriment to its character and appearance.

John Palin have worked tirelessly over lockdown as key workers, delivering essentials to the shops, care homes and hospitals. We wish them well and look forward to seeing the development take place.

Planning & Design have a wealth of experience in designing and securing planning permission for commercial projects.

We can support your development aspirations through the various stages of the planning process, including (but not limited to): feasibility studies, site promotion through the local plan, pre-applications, outline & full planning applications and appeals.

If you are unsure of your site’s potential, we are also able to provide our professional opinion on the planning potential of your property at the outset. Please contact us for more information at info@planningdesign.co.uk or on 01332 347371.

Planning permission for treetop holiday lodges

PDP_Treetop holiday

On the 11 April 2017 we received planning permission for the development of 7 treetop Holiday Lodges in a mature, historic woodland off Crich Lane in Belper. The application was complicated owing to the need to protect the existing woodland and the steep sloping nature of the site. We worked closely with the Council, structural engineers and an arboricultural consultant to ensure that the development caused the minimum possible harm to the woodland. The design of these cabins has been unique from the beginning. Each property has a bespoke designed steel platform that rests on piled foundations that work around existing tree roots, the structure means that each cabin sits high within the woodland canopy. Every cabin holds a stunning location nestled within the woodland, the orientation of which has been individually considered to allow for the best views out over the valley.

The owners have been very busy over the past three years working to build and fit out the log cabins which are built from Western Red Cedar tree trunks. It has been a pleasure watching the properties come out of the ground – literally.

The final opening date has been delayed due to the Covid 19 pandemic and it was not until lock down was eased that the cabins were finally open to the public. The photographs of the site demonstrate how Swinney Wood Log Cabins takes luxury to the extreme. The cabins are exclusively for couples, each log one has a private outdoor hot tub and sauna. A king-sized four poster bed, a walk-in shower for two and a freestanding bath, uniquely situated on a mezzanine floor with an internal bridge leading to an outdoor balcony.

Cylinder log burners, a bespoke kitchen and a luxurious bathroom with double sink and a walk in shower for two are other sumptuous comforts to make each stay an unforgettable experience. Bathrobes, slippers and Molton Brown toiletries give the ultimate finishing touch. No expense has been spared creating these luxurious, yet rustic log cabins with romance in mind

If you are interested in booking to stay at the cabins we cannot recommended them enough. Details can be found via the following link.

Planning & Design Practice is a multi-disciplinary team of Town Planners, Architects, Architectural Assistants and Design Professionals. We can take a project through from inception to completion but we also offer the flexibility to engage a client’s own architects and provide a planning service, whilst our design team can also work with clients who have engaged other town planning professionals. We have extensive knowledge about the policies and procedures of individual councils and the approach taken by planning officers and Councillors. To discuss a site or project, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Conversion of garage to dwelling in South Derbyshire secured on appeal

PDP_Garage Dwelling

PDP have been successful in securing planning permission at appeal for the conversion of a garage to a dwelling in the village of Burnaston in south Derbyshire.

The client contacted PDP having had planning permission refused with very little contact from the council. We reviewed the scheme and amended the proposals in a way which we felt addressed some key weaknesses in the original submission. Unfortunately, the council still felt that the application was objectionable had concerns relating to the impact upon the character and appearance of the area, overlooking into a neighbouring property and highway safety. The overlooking issue was addressed by the relocation of a window and the inspector was content that there would be adequate space for future occupiers to manoeuvre and access the parking space using the shared private drive.

With regards the impact on the character and appearance of the area, the inspector felt that due to the scale of the garage building, which is located between the existing dwelling and the road, and because limited alterations are proposed, the new dwelling would still read as a subordinate building within the group of dwellings and the wider streetscene. The scheme would therefore not look out of place within the mixed streetscene and would maintain the character and appearance of the area.

Our client was naturally delighted with the news, particularly having had a challenging few months personally.

“We were delighted with the news, especially as we had prepared ourselves for disappointment. It was a rocky start to the process, during which we also experienced some other difficulties unrelated to the planning application, but which only added to our challenges. At every stage the team at PDP were approachable, and clear in the next steps and what could be achieved. Throughout the process PDP continued to strive to ensure that we received the best customer service and the whole team were professional and supportive in the management our expectations. This news has come at a perfect time to enhance our future plans. We would most certainly recommend PDP to others.”

This case was a prime example of a homeowner looking to make better use of their existing property. We are getting more and more enquiries along these lines, particularly since the start of the pandemic when circumstances and priorities have changed. The Inspector’s decision is perhaps recognition that the presumption should be in favour of allowing people to do this provided it would not lead to any significant harm in planning terms.

If you are looking to re-purpose any land or buildings or are simply keen to explore the options please get in touch.

Richard Pigott, Director, Planning & Design Practice Ltd

Build Build Build

PDP_Build Build Build

“Build, Build, Build” announced 10 Downing Street recently, with a government press release on June 30 proclaiming:

PM Boris Johnson has announced the most radical reforms to our planning system since the Second World War, making it easier to build better homes where people want to live.

He did not. He trailed a proposed white paper later in the year together with some further modifications to the existing regulations around change of use of buildings in town centres, demolition and building of residential property, and building above property. These modifications are due to come into effect in September.

  • Greater flexibility around the change of use of commercial property form for example from a shop to a café or an office without planning permission. Currently you can change a shop to an office or a café in principle but you need prior approval. Automatic changes from a shop to a café/restaurant could create problems for upper floor residents and for environmental health.
  • Change of use of a wider range of commercial property to residential without planning permission. Currently you can change the use of shop (A1) Bank or professional Office (A2), a takeaway (A5) office (B1a) and Light Industrial Unit (B1c), agricultural buildings, amusement arcades, betting offices, casinos, launderettes and pay day loan shops to dwellings subject to prior approval. There are limitations but these are generally justified. It should be remembered that the Office to Residential (Class O) permitted development right has led to the creation of very poor housing with no payments towards community facilities. Over 80% of Class ‘O’ dwellings are below minimum space standards and have included habitable rooms with no natural light. The government have just amended the General Permitted Development Order to require all habitable rooms in buildings converted into dwellings under permitted development to have adequate natural light. What is adequate is not specified.
  • Builders will no longer need a ‘normal’ planning permission to demolish and re-build vacant and redundant commercial and residential buildings to dwellings. Some form of prior notification is proposed.
  • Property owners will have a right to build additional space above their properties subject to neighbour notification.

These proposed changes are not radical but care is needed. Class ’O’ office to residential conversions have been a step too far and have led to mainly poor people living in very substandard accommodation. Covid 19 and the lock down have exposed this poverty of aspiration and a lack of care towards the poor and the vulnerable. Minimum space standards should be applied in all permitted development residential conversions without exception and on developments of 10 dwellings or more, S106 payments towards community facilities should be mandatory. It is unfair that a conversion of an office block into 50 homes attracts no section 106 monies while a development of 50 new build flats does. It means that better quality development pays for poor quality development and this is unacceptable.

Jonathan Jenkin, Managing Director, Planning & Design Practice Ltd

Planning permission for extension at Burton hospital

PDP_Hospital Extension

Planning & Design Practice Ltd were delighted to receive planning permission for a three storey extension to the Treatment Centre Building at The Queens Hospital, Burton-on-Trent.

The Hospital site is situated on the western side of Burton-on-Trent and is accessed off Belvedere Road.

The Belvedere Road Site was originally developed and opened as Burton’s 4th hospital (Burton District Hospital) in 1971. In 1990, a £34 million capital development began to re-develop the Belvedere Road site and include all the facilities housed at the General Hospital which opened in 1942 so the old General hospital could be closed. The new Burton Hospital was completed by the end of 1993, and opened officially by Her Majesty The Queen on December 7, 1995. The following year the hospital changed its name to Queen’s Hospital.

The application for a new 3-storey, modular building, is linked to the existing Treatment Centre. It will have an overall floor area of 3,967sqm and have a flat roof. The ground floor internal layout has been agreed. It includes 28 new beds and will allow the centre more capacity for elective surgery.

The Building will be supporting local communities and will enable the NHS to deliver the operating capacity required to enable the Queens site to develop and have the capacity it requires to keep ahead of the growing needs of the local health economy.

Planning & Design are delighted to get the permission through for the NHS, where a first class new ward facility has been secured at a challenging time for the NHS.

Over the last 20 years we have worked for many District and Unitary Local Authorities, Government Agencies, Parish Councils and the NHS. We are pleased to be working as planning consultants for the Derby & Burton Hospitals University Foundations Trust to deliver new buildings & facilities across Southern Derbyshire & East Staffordshire. In the past 12 months we have secured permission for a 3 storey ward extension across the front of Derby Royal Hospital, and we are currently working with the Trust, Derby City and East Staffordshire Council to deliver a new medical centre; further ward extensions and a multi-storey car park.