Having prepared a Technical Due Diligence report for Homes England prior to their acquisition of land at West Lane Ripon, the Tibbalds CampbellReith JV was appointed to prepare and submit a reserved matters approval application to Harrogate Borough Council within the very tight timescale imposed by the impending expiry of an outline planning permission granted to the site promoter by the Secretary of State in June 2018. Tibbalds’ role was as planning lead, ensuring the coordination of all emerging reserved matters (only highways had been unreserved), so as to be consistent with the conditions attached to the outline permission, and with the s106 (a unilateral undertaking).
As planning lead, Tibbalds combined the required expertise to deliver a scheme consistent with the extant permission, national planning policy and guidance, emerging local planning policy and good urban design principles. The site had a difficult planning history, with the Borough Council having refused permission and with both Historic England and the National Trust maintaining strong objections on application and appeal. Tibbalds led the pre-app process with both the Borough Council and stakeholders, ensuring that officers, councillors, interest groups and members of the community were all actively engaged in the design of reserved matters, and given clear opportunities at two separate stages to influence the emerging outcome. All stakeholders were presented with the same information about the emerging proposals, with full transparency in mind – and in the knowledge that many members of the local community are actively involved in a wide range of groups and activities. In the run-up to submission of the RMA application, amendments were made to the draft submission to reflect stakeholder comments. At the same time, Tibbalds regularly anticipated potential risks and opportunities, ensuring that the reserved matters approval application was submitted well within the expiry date of the planning permission.
A key challenge was balancing the anticipated requirements of any one of the national housebuilders who would be likely to be selected later in 2021 to be Homes England’s development partner and to purchase the site, with the constraints of the extant permission and its specified approved plans.
At a key point in the pre-app process, close to the time when the RMA application had to be submitted, Tibbalds added value by helping modify the emerging masterplan layout to be in closer conformity to both the approved layout and landscape strategy, recognising at the same time the need to reflect the expected demands of a soon-to-be-selected development partner as far as could possibly be achieved.
The RMA application was well-received by the planning authority; Homes England and the National Trust made no comment as consultees and the few comments made by/ on behalf of local residents were individually responded to.
As Homes England’s selected development partner, Taylor Wimpey have been agents for the submitted RMA application since December 2021; as of May 2022, the application awaits determination.
Having assisted Homes England with a smooth ‘handover’ of the RMA application to their selected development partner, Tibbalds’ and the JV’s involvement in the project has ended.