The redevelopment project involved transforming an edge of village farm shop complex into a ‘cross-subsidy’ affordable housing scheme. The goal was to create a total of nine dwellings, out of which five were designated as affordable homes, comprising a mix of shared ownership and social rent.
The development is situated close to an historic Cotswold village, and due to its location, open market housing is contrary to local and national policies. The scheme was promoted as a rural exception site as defined under paragraph 78 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), making it eligible for consideration.
Client and Advisors:
Evans Jones Ltd, planning and development consultancy, played a key role in advising the original landowner and subsequent developer client throughout the project. The planning team at Evans Joens promoted the scheme, managed the design team, navigating the complex planning process to secure the necessary planning permission.
Developing rural exception sites often poses challenges due to their unique nature. To succeed, the project required specialist expertise and a rigorous justification to demonstrate that the proposed open market housing (comprising the cross subsidy in this case) was the minimum necessary to deliver the affordable housing component. Adding to the complexity was the site's location in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), its proximity to a listed building, and its visibility from surrounding vantage points. All these factors demanded careful consideration to address potential objections.
Approach and Solution:
Evans Jones Ltd, through their planning team, adopted a meticulous approach to address the complexities of the project. They worked closely with the design team to prepare robust planning arguments and demonstrate scheme viability through thorough viability testing. This process involved extensive research, analysis, and consultations to ensure that the proposed open market housing was the minimum necessary to subsidise the affordable homes and adhere to rural exception policy.
the site's historical significance and its location in the AONB required a design approach which harmonised with the surroundings and mitigated potential visual impacts. Close collaboration with heritage experts helped incorporate measures to protect and preserve the listed building and maintain the rural character of the village.
Thanks to the expertise and perseverance of the planning team at Evans Jones Ltd, the project successfully navigated the complex planning process securing full planning permission for the developer client. The approval marked a significant milestone in the development of much-needed affordable rural homes, offering an opportunity for residents to access housing in an area where housing affordability had long been a challenge.
By securing consent for this cross-subsidy affordable housing scheme, the project demonstrated the feasibility and potential of repurposing the edge of village sites for essential social purposes. The development is set to contribute positively to the community and address the affordable housing shortage while preserving the character and heritage of the Cotswold village.
In conclusion, the redevelopment of the edge of village age farm shop complex into an affordable housing scheme is a testament to the value of specialist planning expertise and collaboration in navigating complex development challenges. It highlights the possibilities of creative solutions to address the housing crisis in sensitive areas, making a positive impact on the local community and enhancing the overall quality of life.