A Reflection: Success in Discharging Pre-Commencement Conditions for Paragraph 80

In 2019, we were successful in gaining planning permission for a Paragraph 80 (formerly Para. 79) dwelling located in Ampleforth, North Yorkshire. In June 2022, the final letter of approval was received to confirm the discharge of the twenty pre-commencement conditions. 

The proposal involved the erection of a detached dwelling, associated garage, pavilion, barn, stables and erection of ground-mounted solar panels, together with formation of access drive and reinforced grass turning circle, planting of an apple orchard and additional landscaping.

What is Paragraph 80?

The term refers to the aspirational National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), first established in 1997 and updated in 2021, which sets out various circumstances which can enable the erection of new isolated dwellings in the open countryside. The Paragraph 80e policy is a response to the reality that, despite the drive to improve the design quality of new housing, generally new housing continues to be very basic and with incredibly poor in terms of environmental consideration.

The requirements of Paragraph 80 demand a design approach of the highest quality, being truly outstanding in terms of architecture to raise standards of design in rural areas, including having the ability to significantly enhance its immediate setting and be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area.

“As a graduate planner, I was thrilled to be involved in this project. I was aware of the challenges surrounding paragraph 80 applications and I was eager to learn more about the process.

During the discharge of conditions, I took a proactive approach in engaging directly with the client, fellow subconsultants and the Case Officer at Ryedale District Council. This really helped during the amending and updating of plans.

I am thankful to have been a part of the team in this application, and I have gained invaluable knowledge in the exceptions and progressions of paragraph 80 housing.”

Sophie Stanton, Graduate Planner

The proposed development was subject to extensive internal evaluation and critical appraisal by the design team and industry experts. The Yorkshire Design Review Panel appalled the exploitation of the topography of the land to help integrate the house into the landscape and how this is a “very exciting proposal”. The Carbon Free Group evaluated the proposed integration and hybridisation of technologies and were able to confirm that the design is both innovative and promotes high levels of sustainability. Overall, this provided objectively verifiable evidence that the proposed development is considered to be truly outstanding and innovative in terms of its design and sustainability. This application was then subject to various compliance, pre-commencement and pre-occupation conditions issued by Ryedale District Council.

During the process of discharging pre-commencement conditions, comments were received by various bodies, including by the Highways Authority. This was regarding the drainage design and concerns stemming from proof of the existing highway drainage system and the ability to satisfactorily cope with additional flow. In response, an updated drainage design report was submitted. This removed the proposed drainage connection to the highway drain and a pump was specified to assist in evening the flows and reduce the overall attenuation requirements. This was received as satisfactory to discharge the condition.

Additionally, comments were received North York Moors National Park Authority requesting a change in specification to be truly sustainable within the rural and ecological setting. Following such comments, Ethical Partnership worked with Encon Associates to produce a revised external lighting scheme which was then submitted. This decreased the height of lighting which would illuminate the access drive and reduce the quantity. This was accepted as an appropriate amendment to ensure the sensitivity the development would have towards its surroundings.

In June 2022, the final letter of approval was received to confirm the discharge of the twenty pre-commencement conditions for Ampleforth. This was a significant moment not only because this ensured construction could begin, but as a small planning consultancy the deliverance of a paragraph 80 project is truly an honour to have achieved.

At ethical partnership we are proud to have had great success with Paragraph 80 homes. We have an exceptional in-house team of planners and design professionals that work with other consultants to ensure that the planning application is held to the highest of standards.

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