Real_Estate

Planning Law

It might sometimes seem as if the planning laws in the UK are designed to make things difficult for everyone, including local planning authorities and developers. However, our specialist planning and environmental law team can help you to navigate through the system.

We have extensive experience in all aspects of planning and development related law, including:-

Advice on complicated planning-conditional acquisitions;

When seeking to acquire land (or sell) on a planning-conditional basis, expert advice is necessary to minimise risk, including consideration of:-

  • The proposed timescales for dealing with planning, and when it is reasonable to extend these;
  • Careful consideration of potential onerous conditions;
  • Deductible expenses, including CIL and s.106 and the risk of “double dipping”;
  • Viability and affordable housing;
  • The threat of judicial review, and what it might mean for your deal.

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Assisting with planning applications;

A stitch in time may save nine, and in that context there are many reasons why it may be best if we acted as your agent when making a planning application:-

  • An application may result in a planning permission with onerous conditions, which could have been negotiated away;
  • An application may result in the need for s.106 planning obligations, and early involvement can save both time and money; and
  • An application may result in a refusal and the need to consider reapplying, or lodging an appeal, or both, and timely advice would be at a premium.

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Dealing with all aspects of planning and listed building appeals;

The remedy for a refusal is to appeal. We can:-

  • Advise on appeals against refusal (or non-determination), including advising on the prospects for the appeal;
  • Handle every aspect of the appeal process, including advising on the process (written representations, hearing or local inquiry) representing you during the appeal (including advocacy) and co-ordinating other experts, if needs be; and
  • Advise on the nuances of appeal decisions, including challenge if needs be.

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Advising on heritage law, including listed building consent applications and appeals;

The protection of heritage assets has implications for the entire planning process. We can assist:-

  • By helping with listed building and conservation area consent appeals;
  • By suggesting ways to mitigate the impact of proposals on designated heritage assets such as listed buildings, scheduled monuments and conservation areas, and non-designated heritage assets such as “locally listed” buildings; and
  • By representing you if you are prosecuted for alleged criminal offences arising from legislation.

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Advising on enforcement notice problems;

The use of enforcement powers can give rise to criminal prosecution, and the use of Proceeds of Crime Act powers. We can:-

  • Seek to negotiate away problems;
  • Assist in applications for Certificates of Lawfulness;
  • Deal with enforcement notice appeals; and
  • Represent you in criminal proceedings.

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Negotiating section 106 planning obligations;

The introduction of Community Infrastructure Levy led many to assume that the s.106 planning obligation regime (providing for legal obligations to be entered into to mitigate the impacts of development) would disappear. Instead, the regime has had renewed importance, used in relation to financial contributions to infrastructure, public open space, affordable housing and other matters. Limitations on the use of planning obligations are set out in the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010; they must be (1) necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms, (2) directly related to the development, and (3) fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development. All those with an interest in the land – including mortgagees – are usually required to join in, which can give rise to problems and delay. We can:-

  • Negotiate and draft s.106 agreements;
  • Deal with the concerns of secured lenders who are being asked to join in; and
  • Deal with variations of existing agreements, under s.106A of the Act.

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Advising on development plan concerns; and

We can advise on:-

  • Promoting your land through the SHLAA or development plan process;
  • The implications of allowing others to promote your land; and
  • Objecting to strategic proposals.

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General advice on all related aspects of development law, including highways agreements, rights of way and compulsory purchase.

We can help with planning due diligence exercises, and can advise on:-

  • All types of agreements for works in the highway or for the adoption of new highways;
  • Rights of way issues including stopping up and diversions;
  • Environmental assessment and environmental warranties;
  • The impact of restrictive covenants on planning;
  • What to do if threatened with compulsory purchase;
  • Village greens and commons;
  • The implications of rights of light;
  • The potential use of permitted development rights as an alternative to a full planning application; and
  • Community Infrastructure Levy problems.

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Have a Question? Get in touch

If you would like to know more about our planning law services please contact Philip Kratz at pkratz@gscsolicitors.com, phone 020 7822 2222.


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