When the consultation went back to SEPA the initial reaction was not encouraging. With hindsight we would have contacted SEPA about our application before this. We had spoken with them quite a few times prior to our CAR licence being issued, but that licence was based on the original planning appplication - not our current, revised application. The confusion was easily resolved by talking to them but this then raised the question of the proposed phosphate mitigation. As we had submitted a full planning application it had to be assessed on its own merits (having an existing, extant, planning permission answered the question of whether a property could be constructed, but everything else was viewed with fresh eyes).
The original evidence and calculations concerning the phosphate mitigation for the original planning application was filed in 2010. Sadly, after all these years the paperwork was no longer available at SEPA. The original applicant no longer had copies available so we sat down and replicated the calculations and submitted them to SEPA. We hoped this would be sufficient, but they were initially rejected.
The rejection was due to a change in the rules surrounding the mitigation calculations. In 2010 a single upgraded property could be used to provide mitigation for several properties but in 2017 this was no longer acceptable. After making some enquiries we discovered there was a property which could be upgraded in order to provide our mitigation, but before committing ourselves to this route we decided to argue our case with SEPA. We spoke with the person and argued that had we simply decided to build the property in the existing planning there would have been no additional mitigation required and the current CAR licence would have been sufficient.
Thankfully, SEPA proved to be very pargmatic and accepted our argument. Shortly after the planning group at SEPA issued a positive response to their consultation removing the final roadblock to approval.
Having been told by SEPA that they had responded positively we waited for news from our planning officer. When this came it was very positive and after the final approval and paperwork was prcessed we had our planning approval.
Should we ever do this again, we'll ensure we engage with the various regulatory bodies that will have a say at a much earlier point in the process.
Finally, we'd like to thank the staff at the Glenrothes SEPA office for their support and pragmatism through this process. Without them we would likely not have got to this point.