Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Developers Must Take Care over Site Analysis; WHO'S PLANNING WHAT?

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Developers Must Take Care over Site Analysis; WHO'S PLANNING WHAT?

Article excerpt

The sequential approach used by planning authorities to determine the validity of planning applications can provide a number of pitfalls for developers, says Tim Wheeler, of Ward Hadaway.

ONE of the hurdles that developers can be asked to jump over when making a planning application is the submission of a sequential test site analysis.

In effect, this requires a developer to demonstrate that the site they want to develop is the most appropriate in an area for the particular development, or at least that there is no better site.

Planning authorities are encouraged by Government guidance to ask for such a report in the case of town centre uses such as retail development, hotels, leisure uses and even offices.

It can also be a requirement where development is proposed in flood risk areas, and will sometimes be required for other potentially controversial applications like sports stadia, greenfield housing sites and caravan parks.

Town centre uses are the most common circumstance where developers

Authority: Durham County Council Applicant: Wind Prospect Application number: 7/2009/0239/DM Proposal: Installation and operation of temporary 60 metre wind monitoring mast with cup anemometers and data logger for the purpose of recording wind speed and direction for 24 months at land at Heley House, Sedgefield, County Durham.

Authority: Northumberland County Council Ward: Berwick East will need to submit a sequential test report. Where a site is located within a defined town centre no report should be required, but where the location is on the edge of a centre, or out of the centre, the objective of such a report is to demonstrate that a more central location does not exist.

This may sound a straightforward enough task, but problems arise where it is not clear whether other sites are genuinely available or suitable for the type of development involved.

It can also be debateable as to what catchment area should be looked at in the search for other sites. And where an alternative site may be surplus to the existing occupiers' needs, how long should a developer have to wait for the site to become available - three years, five years? …

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