Planning appeal success for the redevelopment of a rural brownfield site into 2x stunning new dwellings

rural dwellings outside settlement boundary, brownfield site

This interesting planning project, which sought the demolition and redevelopment of a redundant riding school into 2x residential dwellings, presents a good example of the importance of applying a planning balance in the decision-making process.

Our recent appeal win against Canterbury City Council saw us successfully make the case in favour of residential development on a site that was considered by the LPA to be unsustainable, and was within a rural setting and Conservation Area.

Although in a challenging location, in planning terms we felt there were more than enough material considerations to support a residential development on site.  We are delighted that we were able to evidence the very clear benefits of the scheme and secure planning approval at appeal for the erection of 2 beautiful new homes with associated parking, along with a curtilage extension to enhance a Grade II listed building and the creation of a new village public open space.

Is it possible to secure planning for a rural development in an unsustainable location?

A good question and one that our client posed to us when they first approached us about developing the site.

Due to the site’s unsustainable location, key to finding a way forwards on this project was our meticulous review of the site context, planning history, local and national policies and need. This enabled us to not only formulate an appropriate planning strategy, identify material considerations which would justify a step away from local policy and tip the planning balance in favour of the scheme, but to also have time to really explore the design rationale and ensure it responded to planning policy and context requirements.

We made the case for a sensitive scheme that not only incorporated the demolition of redundant farm buildings, but one which was also sensitive to the palette of the conservation area and the setting of a nearby Grade II listed building.

Planning balance – making the case for sensitive development in village locations

Given the complexities of the site, our planning appeal statement sought to evidence the holistic approach to the project and how, in applying a planning balance, the scheme met the overarching requirements of relevant planning policies. This included an interesting exploration of local policy definitions, weighed up against national policy definitions regarding residential development in rural areas, those outside the settlement boundary and in isolated locations.

We successfully evidenced why the appeal site was not isolated and, though unsustainable, that other material considerations existed to justify residential development in this location.  These included: the proposals positive aesthetic impact on the rural context and a nearby listed building; effective use of brownfield land; proximity to amenities; as well as the social benefits of increasing housing provision in the village and in providing public open space in an area which was deficient in this offer.


The Inspector’s decision notice acknowledged how the proposed dwellings would represent the introduction of a more aesthetically pleasing development than was currently present and would improve both the Conservation Area and the setting of the listed building.  The social benefits of new housing in a rural village location were also noted and, when viewed as a whole, it was felt that the other material considerations in favour of the scheme were enough to outweigh the spatial policy objection.

How we add value

If your application for a well thought out scheme in a rural location has been refused then do take a moment to consider your options and contact one of our planning consultants, as we have a good record of arguing a case at appeal and over-turning a Local Authority decision.

As was the case with this scheme, although the location just outside the edge of settlement meant it was deemed unsustainable, following a careful assessment to ascertain if an appeal would be viable, we were able to argue in favour of striking a planning balance that sought to weigh up all relevant planning considerations.

If you have a rural development scheme which you think may well benefit from professional planning consultancy input then contact our team via or call us on 01242 501003 to see how we can best assist you, providing the site address and a brief overview of your project.  You can also submit your site via our Landmark Page. We value your privacy and any information which you provide will not be shared outside of our company and will only be used in relation to your enquiry.

IMAGE SOURCE: Invent Architecture (2018)