Hugh Ellins Blog – Planning for the Future

Planning for the Future

Recently I attended one of Webb Paton’s excellent seminars on farming related matters. George Paton spoke on development issues that may affect farmers.

One of the points that was discussed is that both the Wiltshire Council and the Swindon Borough Council are beginning the process of renewing their Strategic Plans which, if approved, will set out the type of development that both Councils wish to see and also the broad areas in which that development will be permitted.

Although Wiltshire and Swindon are two independent Councils they are obligated, where appropriate, to work together and, indeed, have been under some pressure so to do.

The fact that the Councils are now working on their Plans is significant in terms of strategic planning for those with land holdings. There is both a positive and negative reason for this. The positive and negative reasons are two sides of the same coin.

By making representations at the appropriate times, a landowner may be able to influence where land is allocated for development and the type of development. On one side of the coin this may be that the land which would not otherwise be allocated for development is included in the Plan. On the other side of the coin the influence may be to ensure that the land that would have been allocated is excluded.

The importance of land being allocated for development is that the question is then not whether the land should be developed but the nature of the development. In other words, in boxing terms, rounds one and two of the three round fight have already been won.

If the land is not allocated and someone wants to develop it, there is a much greater difficulty in obtaining the relevant planning permissions. To keep to the fighting analogy, it is like fighting with one hand tied behind your back.

Taking all that into account what should a landowner do? My advice is that he should start preparing for making representations by discussing matters with the likes of George or myself.

Hugh Ellins – March 2019