Category Archive: Development

Permitted Development Success in the North East

George F. White has successfully achieved consent for change of use of an agricultural building to residential, and also the change of use to storage under the General Permitted Development Order. George F. White’s in house Planning Consultants and Architects work together to ensure our clients aspirations are realised within the confines of the Order whilst making best use of the site.

Using Class Q, a modern agricultural building surrounded by an existing farm house and associated buildings in Northumberland has received approval to change use to a new residential home of less than 465 sqm; whilst elsewhere traditional agricultural buildings have been approved to changed use under Class R to storage and distribution.


Speaking about the projects, Stephanie Linnell said: “In a period of uncertainty, it is important that clients look at their assets and how dependent they are, or how they can capitalise on Government initiatives. Our teams have been working with landowners advising them on how they can take advantage of, and safeguard their assets into the future. Utilising Permitted Development can be a practical means to increase the value of your assets”.


What is Class Q Permitted Development?

Class Q Permitted Development was introduced in 2014 and allows the change of use of agricultural buildings to residential use, subject to the local planning authorities prior approval. In 2018, the Government announced changes to Class Q to support housing supply in rural areas. Class Q now allows the change of use of agricultural buildings to up to three ‘large’ new homes with a combined maximum floor space of 465qm, or up to five ‘smaller’ homes of less than 100sqm each, or a mix of both to a maximum of five homes of which no more than three are ‘large’ homes.

There are many factors to consider within Class Q and this is where professional planning and architectural input is recommended to deal with elements such as the external appearance, highways, noise, contamination and flooding. It’s crucial to ensure the right type of information is submitted without compromising other future development potential. A Class Q development can provide a valuable fall-back position whereby alternative and potentially more valuable development could be secured.


What is Class R Permitted Development?

Class R permitted development allows the change of use of agricultural buildings to a flexible commercial use including; shops, financial and professional services, restaurants and cafes, business, storage and distribution, hotels, and assembly and leisure. Again there are restrictions to be aware of including the size of the proposed development and prior approval is again required from the Local Planning Authority.


High Court Judgement

The High Court has recently ruled that Local Planning Authority’s do not have the power to extend the time period to decide a prior approval where this is prescribed in the General Permitted Development Order. Decisions must be within 56 days of the date when the application was made to the Council.  If the Council do not make their determination within this timescale, the development will have gained a deemed grant of planning permission.

There is a need to carefully consider your development proposals in order to avoid the potential planning pitfalls. This is where George F. White can help. Proceeding in the right way, a change of use under permitted development is an excellent way to enhance the value of agricultural buildings.

If you want to explore the development potential of your site, please contact your local team for a free consultation:

Northumberland and Borders – Stephanie Linnell
Tyne and Wear – Richard Garland
County Durham – Naomi Teasdale
Yorkshire – Kevin Ayrton

Planning Permission: High Quality and Contemporary Dwellings

Two, high quality and contemporary dwellings have been granted planning permission on a sensitive conservation site in Iveston, County Durham despite initial resistance from the local council.

The planning officer’s report stated: “It is considered reasonable to accept high quality design and an exemplar process of design development as public benefits in this case as elements from which others could learn.”

Planning Permission

The contemporary dwellings are to be built on land adjacent to the Iveston Conservation Area, and therefore required a specialist consultancy with a combined planning and architectural expertise that could help them through each stage of the planning approval process as obtaining planning permission was no mean feat.

Talking about the project, Kevin Ayrton, Senior Planning Consultant at George F. White, said: “The site presented several challenges for our planning and architecture teams, namely the sensitive nature of the site itself as it sits adjacent to the Iveston conservation area as well as sitting on the edge of a settlement. Despite initial reservations from Durham County Council, we put together our planning and architectural skills and resource to provide strategic definition, design and direction and we are pleased to have been granted permission for the two dwellings. Whilst the planning officer retained concerns with the principle, Durham County Council recognised the high quality design being proposed; ultimately this outweighed the conflict with policy.”

The purpose of a conservation area is to protect and enhance areas of special architectural or historic interest, making it notoriously complicated to seek planning permission for new build properties. Those looking to build in a conservation area are generally worried that they will be forced to produce something in line with the design traditions of their surroundings.

The projects lead Architect and Head of Architecture at George F. White, Hunter Hardy, said: “Contemporary new builds in a conservation area are not impossible to achieve they simply take more time to negotiate and generally, it is a question of quality not overall design. In this case, I have been working closely with the conservation officer at Durham County Council to produce a modern design that was sympathetic to its surroundings. Of course, compromise from both parties has been the key to the sites success, however, all parties are thrilled with the outcome and we look forward to seeing the build progress.”

For more information about achieving planning permission in a sensitive area, please contact your local planning, architecture and development team:

Northumberland and Borders – Stephanie Linnell
Tyne and Wear – Richard Garland
County Durham – Naomi Teasdale
Yorkshire – Kevin Ayrton

Home Farm: multi-service success

Home Farm is a luxury housing development in the small traditional village of Ellingham, Northumberland; this has been an on-going project utilising the expertise of our planning, surveying and agency teams at George F. White, helping to transform the site from a range of agricultural buildings to a luxury development of 20 new homes.

Our Alnwick planning team achieved consent for the conversion of the traditional agriculture buildings on the southern farm steading in 2006. However, due to the economic climate the site owner was advised to commence development to implement the planning consent,  but not sell at this time.

Home Farm

In order to make the site more attractive to potential buyers, Partner, Stephanie Linnell began to work on a strategy to expand the planning opportunities. She achieved consent for the demolition of modern agricultural buildings on the adjoining northern farm steading and the development of 10 new homes. Local architects were brought on board to design stylish, modern homes in natural stone, in keeping with the character of the village. Following this success, the southern farm steading development was revisited, with planning consent achieved to demolish the existing agricultural buildings and develop a further 10 new homes in the same high quality design.

Senior Development Surveyor, Matthew Simpson, sold both sites on behalf of the original owners in 2017 to renowned London luxury property developer, Gerry Ellis.

Speaking about why he was so attracted to the site, Gerry said: “I have family connections to Northumberland and have always thought of it as an unspoiled and underrated part of the UK. When the site was launched to market, I jumped at the chance to develop quality rural homes in an idyllic location”.

Home Farm

We are now proudly marketing the sale of 10 luxury dwellings, with 10 more under construction. This April, we will be hosting an open weekend at Home Farm; an opportunity to experience the spacious accommodation and high specification interiors. The site will be open on the 6th and 7th April from 11.00 – 16.00. For more information, click here.

GFW Planning Surgery

On the 16th April 2019, we’ll be hosting free, 30-minute planning surgeries from 9am – 5pm in our Alnwick and Newcastle offices.

There’s no need to make an appointment, please feel free to drop in and our team will be able to assist you when available; however, if you’d prefer to confirm a specific time please contact Amanda Devereux.

If you aren’t available on the 16th, please get in touch and we’ll arrange to meet with you at your convenience.


Our teams are available to answer any of your planning queries, including (but not limited to):

  • New build homes;
  • Conversions;
  • Tourism Accommodation;
  • Removal of Occupancy Conditions;
  • Commercial, Office and Retail;
  • Leisure;
  • Education;
  • Energy;
  • Minerals and Waste;
  • Enforcement Issues; and
  • Listed Buildings.

planning team

Our Planning, Architecture and Development team consists of 16 experts, based in the North of England. The team have secured planning consent for thousands of new homes and advise on wide ranging projects from schools and quarries to holiday accommodation.

Thanks to our team of in house planners, architects, surveyors and GIS mappers, we can offer a one stop shop for any land, property and business matter.

Getting to us…
Alnwick Office
Newcastle Office