dha secured full planning consent for a 10,000 sq ft extension to an existing depot building for Staplehurst Transits Ltd, a long established fruit and fresh produce storage and distribution company in the Weald of Kent.
As the site lies within open countryside, a comprehensive planning case was put forward following initial pre-application discussions with the local planning authority, demonstrating that the proposal was necessary to secure the long-term competitiveness of the business. Working closely with the client, it was also demonstrated that the proposals represented the most sustainable development option, with the operational nature of the building limiting suitable locations for the business and precluding split-site operations.
A full Transport Assessment was undertaken to establish that the expanded operations would not lead to a commensurate rise in HGV movements to and from the site, as logistics at the site would be able to be managed more efficiently. Green travel initiatives were also proposed to maximise car sharing to the site by staff.
dha urban design produced the plans for the development, designing a building which remained efficient and functional to meet the operator’s needs, yet minimised visual impact and responded positively to the site’s rural context and existing built form. dha also worked closely with the project ecologists to ensure that the scheme included adequate mitigation for protected species and provided enhancement where possible.
In the absence of any policy directing the expansion of existing business premises in the countryside, the Council supported the application on the basis of the evidence put forward and in the absence of any sustainable alternatives to meet the recognised need.
For more information please contact Simon Moon.