dha lead a project team comprising architects, transport planners, ecologists and landscape architects to secure planning permission for a c. 1,600 sq m extension to an existing office building in the Kent countryside.

The extension represented a 200% increase in floorspace, allowing GForces, a successful web design and management company, to expand and employ up to 60 new staff and establish the GForces Academy. 

 A Unilateral Undertaking was offered to secure places at the Academy for local school children, as part of the economic development justification for the proposal.  Detailed analysis of the existing and proposed staff profile established the economic sustainability of the scheme, providing young, local and skilled employees with high quality, well paid jobs.  A full Sequential Test was also undertaken in accordance with PPS4, demonstrating that there was no alternative office accommodation in more sustainably located sites within the Borough which were available, viable and suitable.

In order to demonstrate sustainability, notwithstanding the rural location, a full Travel Plan was provided whilst a detailed landscape proposal and ecological appraisal of the site were also submitted given the Special Landscape designation of the local area.  

A lengthy process of pre-application consultation with Officers and local stakeholders ensured that full planning permission was secured at Committee  as an exception and departure from Local Plan policy owing to the special economic circumstances of the case.


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