The Cake College, a home-based business within a large Grade II listed farmhouse in a rural area close to Reading, has now been given planning permission to build a special outbuilding which will support the growth of the well-loved local business.
The approved plans are for the creation of a single-storey L-shape outbuilding which will keep the appearance of a traditional barn; being reflective of the rural location and countryside setting. The purpose-built structure will include accommodation in the roof space and compromise of a kitchen, storage and open-plan workshop area at ground floor level.
When preparing this application, ET Planning sought pre-application advice from Wokingham Borough Council. As there is currently no clear definition within the Core Strategy of a rural enterprise, the Council was sceptical as to whether this development was diverse and sustainable and therefore in keeping with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
ET Planning quickly recognised that it would be imperative to demonstrate as part of the formal application that the proposals would provide a sustainable rural enterprise which would not result in detrimental harm to the setting of the Grade II listed building, or be tantamount to encroachment of built development within the open countryside.
The application went on to reference the importance of the NPPF to this case and in particular Paragraph 83 which specifies that “planning policies and decisions should enable the sustainable growth and expansion of all types of business in rural areas, both through the conversion of existing buildings and well-designed new buildings”.
ET Planning also detailed the sustainable benefits associated to the growth of the business such as the business owner residing at the farmhouse and thereby reducing their need to travel, as well as the provision of employment for the local community, and that the site also hosts destination car chargers for customer use.
The approved planning permission for this site demonstrates the council’s agreement that a new building will support the continued growth of the business and that the plans are compliant with national and local policies.
The approved plans are not only ‘the icing on the cake’ for The Cake College but also for other local businesses operating within a countryside location as they can now also be determined as a rural enterprise.
More information on The Cake College can be found at https://www.thecakecollege.com/