Planning & Environmental Law

Planning & Environmental law

Our experience encompasses the full range of planning related issues, including:

We have experience of advising local planning authorities, including Planning Case Officers, Members and Planning Committees.

Are you an individual or a member of an ‘action group’ that wishes to object to a particular planning application?  If so we can:

  • help you prepare your formal objection;
  • advise you on strategies to have a ‘delegated authority’ matter called-in and be considered by the Planning Committee; and
  • appear on your behalf at the formal/public meeting of the Planning Committee to articulate and present your issues and concerns.

We have experience of providing training for the Members of local authority Planning Committees, aimed at improving the quality and ‘robustness’ of the decisions being made and of reducing the number of successful appeals and challenges.

If you are a house builder or property developer, we can advise you as to whether the local planning authority’s required ‘contributions’ and ‘triggers’ are appropriate.

We have significant experience of the obligations and triggers associated with ‘enabling development’

In these more austere times local planning authorities rely ever more heavily on developers to fund a wide range of community benefits, from affordable housing to new dustbins.

The local planning authority might also seek to charge for the time it spends monitoring that the correct payments have been made.

If you are a bank or other secured lender on a property, we can advise you in relation to any Section 106 Agreement (or Unilateral Obligation) affecting the land that is the subject of your charge to ensure you do not inadvertently become liable for the obligations.

If you are a commercial developer or a ‘self-build’ enthusiast, we can advise and assist you in applying for exemptions to CIL payments and assist you to avoid inadvertently triggering your liability.

We have extensive experience of planning enforcement issues (including applications for warrants of entry to property) and of dealing with prosecutions in the Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court (including advocacy, where appropriate)

We have extensive experience of advising local planning authorities in relation to applications for Certificates of Lawfulness – reviewing the supporting evidence and recommending the grant or refusal of the application.

We have very successfully advised and represented both commercial and residential property owners who believe their current use may no longer be the subject of planning enforcement action (e.g. the change of use of land from agricultural to domestic garden, the non-compliance with an agricultural occupancy condition imposed on a dwelling built in the countryside; the conversion of a single house to several flats etc.).

If you are considering the purchase of a property, or if you are funding the purchase of a property, you need to be sure about its permitted use.  Can the property be used or occupied as you intend?

We can help you check the situation and avoid you falling foul of the local planning authority.  Our experience includes ‘green energy schemes’, including wind turbines, solar photovoltaic (‘PV’) and anaerobic digestion (‘AD’) plants

Has the local planning authority threatened or already served a notice on you?

We can advise you on the options now open to you.

We have extensive experience of dealing with urgent works and repairs notices in both high value and high profile cases.

Our experience includes:-

  • liaising with other interested parties (e.g. Historic England);
  • ensuring the required local authority ‘formal decision making process’ has been correctly followed; and
  • drafting and formally serving the notices.

Other professional advice and assistance

Planning and environmental matters can often be multi-faceted and sometimes require additional input from other professionals.

Sometimes the best way forward may not be a planning appeal but the submission of an amended planning proposal.

If a planning matter requires separate advice (e.g. from an architect, a planning consultant or a surveyor) we are able to make appropriate recommendations based on our experience.

Our Fees

When advising you or carrying out any work on your behalf, we shall always respect the confidentiality of your situation and put your best interests first.

Moreover, our focus shall always be on giving practical and pragmatic advice which is ‘results orientated’ and intended to deliver a positive outcome and, ideally, a cost effective solution.

As the firm is regulated by the SRA we are, in any event, required to inform you how much the work shall cost, or how the cost shall be calculated, and to give you a clear explanation at the end of the matter (and at any time on request).

If the nature of the work allows it, we shall provide you with a fixed fee at the outset.

If, however, the range of issues and potential complications in a particular matter make a fixed fee practically possible, then:-

(a) the work shall be carried out in accordance with a strategy and/or timetable agreed with you; and

(b) the fee charged shall be on a simple ‘time spent’ basis.

In both circumstances, whether charged on a fixed fee or on a time spend basis, the fee shall reflect both the value of the matter to you and the degree of skill brought to bear in dealing with it.