Planning and Development

David Hill have many years experience in liaising and working closely with local planning authorities and have built up a team with a proven track record in obtaining planning permission. We pride ourselves in being able to provide a strategy and the solutions to not only achieve a result, but to obtain a permission that works on a practical level and maximises value.   

Planning has become more complex with planning authorities requiring the applicant to provide much more technical supporting information. We enjoy a good working relationship with many specialist firms whose advice is often required to allow schemes to progress. Understanding this process and coordinating the professionals is our speciality and is often the key to achieving success.

Drawing on our agricultural roots to provide practical solutions

Our planning team includes members with agricultural backgrounds, and so you can be reassured that planning applications for agricultural development, such as farm buildings, will be designed in a way that works for your holding. As well as surveying the site and creating drawings to the standard required by the local authority, we can provide advice on appropriate building materials and colours specific to each authority.

No project is too big or small; we have extensive experience in applications for a wide range of rural buildings, from stables and sheep buildings to cattle housing with underground slurry stores and rotary milking parlours.  We can ensure that your proposal complies with the latest animal welfare standards and we are increasingly including new technologies into the designs.

The National Planning Policy Framework is supportive of new dwellings in the open countryside that are essential for a rural worker. We have a proven track record in this type of application. Justification must be provided as to the agricultural need for the dwelling. Initially we can provide advice on whether you have sufficient agricultural need, and if this is the case we can provide a professional appraisal in-house to support the application.  

At David Hill our niche is rural property, and we have developed an excellent reputation for barn conversion projects. The planning team have a long established relationship with the planning authorities and have a good understanding of what is likely to be acceptable to the authority, saving you time and money. We can quickly identify which professional reports will be required, such as a structural survey and bat report, and arrange them for you. Most of all our experience and local knowledge mean that we can create a conversion scheme that is practical, cost-effective and sympathetic to any existing buildings and its surroundings.

Increasingly land is being used for equestrian uses which often require ancillary facilities, such as stabling, ménage, horse walkers and feed stores. The majority of these structures will require planning consent, including technically the use of the land for horses. We are able to advise on planning applications and provide the supporting documents required by the local planning authority.

Coordinating the professionals to achieve success

With the cutbacks in Local Authorities more emphasis has been put on the applicant to provide professional information when applying for residential development. This is coupled with the increasing number of reports that are required to validate a planning application, including the mandatory Design & Access Statement. Our planning team can provide most of the required information in-house, and we have an excellent base of professional contacts for documents such as structural surveys, wildlife surveys, arboricultural reports and traffic management analysis.

Our strength is in understanding what will be required from the outset and co-ordinating the professionals on your behalf to ensure that the application is decided on time and within budget.    

At David Hill we don’t just do agricultural based applications, we have worked on new dwellings and residential schemes in rural communities, as well as householder extensions and permitted development.

The countryside isn’t just about farming

Rural property can often have potential for exciting business opportunities, and as farming incomes have dwindled, more people have looked to diversification. We can provide advice on tourism and leisure opportunities that may be available to you. Our team can appraise whether a development project would be appropriate for you and your property and whether it would be compatible with planning policy.

We have an excellent track record of obtaining planning permission for many diversification projects, including holiday cottages, bunk barns, caravan parks, cafes and farm shops. We can even offer project management and you can read about two of our case studies, Gallaber Caravan Park and the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail, on our Rural Property Management page. You may also be interested in our Grants & Subsidies page, which has information on available funding for rural diversification projects.

Assisting to overcome constraints with historic buildings

Listed buildings and those located within Conservation Areas often require additional consents. We are familiar with the legislation and procedures required and can work on your behalf with local planning authorities and other bodies to achieve results. 

Making the most of opportunities

The strategic promotion of development land can often be a long process that requires careful planning with several different parties, including the local planning authority, developers, solicitors and other professionals. We have many years experience of what is required by the local planning authorities and keep up-to-date with the progress of each authority’s Local Development Framework.

Our strength is in coordinating the strategic promotion of land on your behalf, using our contacts to negotiate option and promotion agreements with developers and also take sites through the planning process. Alternatively we can take sites through the planning process on behalf of landowners. Our experience means that we know what to look for, anticipating potential issues, and since 2006 we have become increasingly involved with Town and Village Green Applications on potential development land.


Matthew Binns MRICS,
Caroline Sunter BSc (Hons) MRICS,


David Hill is a trading name of David Hill LLP, a limited liability partnership incorporated in England and Wales with registration number OC385084.
Registered office: The New Ship, Mill Bridge, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1NJ