ARMSTRONG RIGG PLANNING

West Kingsdown, Sevenoaks

Site: Land off London Road, West Kingsdown, Sevenoaks

Client: Buxted Construction

West Kingsdown, Sevenoaks

ARP were successful in securing consent for the redevelopment of a former piggery site in the Metropolitan Green Belt to provide our client, Buxted Construction, with a bespoke commercial premise comprising the Company’s new administrative base and centre of operations.

When ARP was first approached to assist our client, it was immediately obvious that a detailed planning strategy would be required to allow the Company to realise its objectives. The recognised planning use of the site was agricultural. In respect of Green Belt policy, it therefore held little potential for any form of commercial development. The first step was to demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that the use had changed from that of a former piggery to a commercial use comprising storage and workshops and that the site has been in this use for at least 10 years. Proving this was vital to ensure that the land could be reclassified in planning terms as ‘brownfield’ land in the Green Belt and it therefore benefitted from a presumption that it may be redeveloped subject to no greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt. ARP were successful in proving the change of the lawful use of the site, confirmed by the issue of a legal certificate in June 2018.

Following the issue of this certificate ARP proceeded with an application for a new modern office and workshop building to replace the dilapidated former piggery currently on site. This in itself was not a straightforward task as the site’s location in the Green Belt also places restrictions on the height, scale and visual impact of any new development. Key to the success of this application was ARP’s ability to demonstrate that the proposed building would have no greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt than the existing structure.

 A further full planning permission has since been secured for additional office accommodation with the contribution to the local economy and proposed visual improvements having been accepted to be among a number of very special circumstances sufficient to justify the proposals.