Somerford Christchurch mixed use residential commercial permission
Image courtesy of Williams Lester Architects

Christchurch Borough Council: Pure Town Planning have kicked off 2014 with a large mixed use development approval in Christchurch, Dorset. Following relatively positive pre-application advice from Christchurch Borough Council, we knew we were on the right track and after a number of alterations, we submitted a scheme for the demolition of the existing commercial buildings and the erection of 14 dwellings and 17 small business (B1 use) units with associated access and parking.

This large site (1.1ha) consisted of a vacant commercial national car garage/depot/service centre in Somerford on the outskirts of Christchurch. Pure Town Planning were heavily involved in the lead up to the planning application submission, commenting on concept designs and layouts in order that once the application was submitted it had the best possible chance of being approved. Following an on site meeting with the senior planning officer at Christchurch Borough Council, a concern was raised with regards to the impact of one of the business units on an adjacent residential property. Quick to nip this concern in the bud and conscious that our client did not want to lose any units we came up with an alternative layout solution which relocated the unit, removing the detrimental relationship concern. As a result of this alteration the case officer was deemed that the scheme was acceptable in all regards and made a recommendation to approve.

There was a certain amount of pressure to secure planning approval first time and within the 3 month (as this was classed as a major application) time frame to avoid an affordable housing contribution on the site. This is because Christchurch Borough Council are due to adopt their new joint Core Strategy with East Dorset District Council (currently believed to come in around April 2014). At present small open market schemes under 15 residential units such as this are not required to contribute towards affordable housing provision. The new Core Strategy policy as currently written when adopted would have required 40%  i.e. 6 of the houses to be affordable on the site. Clearly then by securing consent first time before this policy came into force, the scheme was far more valuable to our client.

The scheme was designed by local architects; Williams Lester.  All the residential dwellings had good quality facing brick walls under tiled pitched roofs. The traditional design and form proposed incorporated a high level of architectural detailing. Whilst the design of the commercial element was more functional in appearance the colour and type of materials chosen for this aspect of the mixed use scheme complimented the residential houses resulting in the scheme making a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the area.

If you have a mixed use development in the pipeline and are looking for a dynamic firm of planning consultants with a proven track record of successfully negotiating solutions to planning problems then we would be delighted to assist you. Call us today on 01202 585524 or email us at info@puretownplanning.co.uk  for a confidential FREE half hour discussion.

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