BCP Council (Bournemouth area): After a 2-year battle, Matt is ecstatic to have finally unlocked the development potential for a backland development in Southbourne, Bournemouth. The scheme was designed by local firm Anders Roberts Cheer for mutual client; Amirez Ltd.

Pure Town Planning were originally instructed back in November 2020 after a previous scheme for 5 units had been withdrawn by another firm. We submitted a scheme for 4 units (2 x pairs of semi’s) however due to the lack of any correspondence from the then planning officer we advised the client to pursue a non-determination appeal. Unfortunately, whilst we won a number of the arguments that were raised by the Council, that appeal was dismissed on grounds of; cramped development, overlooking, as well as the impact on the safety of highway. This however paved the way for a revised scheme consisting of two larger chalet bungalows which were designed to address concerns raised by the Planning Inspector.

We submitted this revised scheme in November 2021 and unfortunately were again allocated the same non-responsive planning officer as on the previous scheme. Thankfully following firm representations from Matt we were able to get the application re-allocated to a new planning officer and almost instantly the dialogue with the planning department improved immeasurably from that point!

The key to unlocking the development potential of this site really centred on overcoming the highway officer’s objections regarding the use of a lane to access the site which also happened to be a public footpath. The Inspector dealing with the dismissed scheme raised concerns regarding
passing space, manoeuvring of vehicle and other conflicts with vehicles and pedestrians in the lane. Objectors raised the issue of access rights, however the Planning Inspector stated that ‘the
uncertainty regarding whether or not the appellant has a right of access over the lane would not strictly prevent planning permission being granted.’

Early on in this application we were able to demonstrate via Land Registry documents that the owners do benefit from vehicle rights to the site. We pointed out that the site was historically a plant nursey which would have had associated delivery and visitor traffic, as such historically cars would have accessed this site. In addition to that, the Council’s own records show that permission was granted for a private
garage on site in 1977. Additionally, the planning officer noted numerous garages (at least 15 garages), and parking spaces, and even a business have vehicle access down and off the lane. Following lengthy negotiations and with specialist help from Andy Miles at ADL Traffic and Highways we were able to convince the Local Highway Authority that the the applicant has a legal right of access and demonstrate an acceptable access arrangement.

Despite the the Public Rights of Way Officer still objecting to the loss of a public footpath, the planning officer when weighing up the balance concluded; “The proposed works would also result in the provision of new housing in a highly sustainable location, contributing to local housing need as well as the improvement to the appearance of the current derelict brownfield site. The proposal will therefore achieve the economic, social and environmental objectives of sustainable development, as set out in local plan policies and the provisions of the NPPF and is recommended for grant of planning permission”. The application was approved earlier this week.

If you have a development site which is proving tricky to unlock why not speak with a planning consultant for Pure Town Planning to see how we might help get things moving.