As many of you may have seen we have entered this year’s Duck House Trail as part of Bewdley Festival. For those of you who aren’t here because you have seen Mr & Mrs Duck’s Castle Turret in Jubilee Gardens, each year as part of Bewdley Festival, the Duck House Trail is an outdoor art installation. The Duck House Project was an innovative part of Bewdley Festival’s Art Programme in 2015 with the concept being appropriate for a riverside town with a large population of ducks.
Our clients, Mr & Mrs Donald Duck, have relatives within the town. They purchased The Castle Turret in late 2022 as they had visited Bewdley many times to visit their relatives who live on and along the River Severn. They realised how important seeing their friends and family was during their retirement and wanted holiday accommodation that they could use, when visiting, and which could also be let out to pay for the conversion works to the redundant Castle Turret.
Shortly after they purchased it, and started their work, they spoke to their friend in the pub, Daffy, who said that he thought they would need planning permission to convert the Castle Turret into holiday accommodation. Mr & Mrs Duck went online and found Eldnar Consultancy and booked in for a 15-minute “mini-quack” (Contact – Eldnar Consultancy).
It turns out that they did need permission for change of use and that the use of materials for the repairs to the Castle Turret were important as it stood with the Conservation Area. At first Mr & Mrs Duck were flapping their wings in panic as Mr Duck had already dug out part of the roof terrace and started to advertise the accommodation for booking on Quackbnb. Despite this we were able to explain to them that applications can be made on a part-retrospective basis and that this didn’t change how proposals were determined.
We initially provided Mr & Mrs Duck with a fee quote which clearly set out what was needed for the application which was accepted. They also took advantage of our additional support available, so we arranged the necessary surveys which, in this case, included ecological surveys (thankfully they didn’t find any bats) and structural surveys (as the turret had been redundant for some time and structural input was particularly needed for the pool on the roof). We also liaised with an architect to draw their plans and a heritage consultant to get a heritage statement due to the location within a Conservation Area.
Once we had all this information, we were able to complete the application forms on planning portal, write a planning, design and access statement and submit the application for Mr & Mrs Duck. During the application process a site notice (on the side of the Castle Turret) was put up for 21 days during the consultation period.
A couple of neighbours raised some concern regarding the roof and their privacy due to overlooking but we were able to engage with the case officer who agreed that due to the separation distances involved, there would be no impact to residential amenity of surrounding residents. We also agreed some conditions, including one requiring no (more) building works to commence until materials had been approved to ensure the conversion was appropriate for the Conservation Area.
Thankfully Eldnar Consultancy were able to obtain permission from the Council (copy on the side of the Castle Turret!) and even got permission for the rooftop pool and terrace – Mr & Mrs Duck were delighted and can’t wait to use the Turret for visiting their friends and family as well as let it out to gain some income to pay for the works and fund their retirement.
If you are looking for support with your planning related aspirations from permitted development to full applications, appeals and everything in between (Services – Eldnar Consultancy) – we would love to hear from you – you don’t have to be a duck, of course!