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Planning, the Environment & Compulsory Purchase Designs for living

Planning, the Environment and Compulsory Purchase

Sometimes it can feel like the world, or at least council chambers, are a battleground between those who want to embrace change and those who wish to resist all change. Our planning, environment and compulsory purchase team lawyers help our clients through these difficulties, and we pride ourselves on finding, with the client, the right solution in every case. Our lawyers don’t only advise on planning law – we also advise on UK and European law relating to:

  • planning policy;
  • development management;
  • enforcement;
  • advisory work;
  • advocacy;
  • judicial review and statutory challenges;
  • compulsory purchase.

And we don’t only advise local authorities – we include public bodies and voluntary sector organisations amongst our clients.

We are all experienced and embedded local government lawyers and we understand how planning departments and regulatory committees in District, County and Unitary planning authorities work.

Planning advice

We provide advice by telephone, email, letter and in person. We frequently attend and advise at committee, executive and council meetings, working groups of members and/or officers and attend meetings with applicants and developers with or on behalf of our clients. We work closely with our clients on the preparation and adoption of development plans, in the wording or appropriateness of individual policies, ensuring that governance is dealt with appropriately, and often attend hearings during the examinations in public. Recently we have advised clients on the implications of whether or not to adopt the community infrastructure levy, especially in relation to pooling issues, and where the decision has been to adopt, we have assisted with that process. We also advise on important or controversial decision notices. Currently we are advising on the review of the Joint Core Strategy for Norwich City, South Norfolk and Broadland Councils who are being supported by Norfolk County Council and the Broads Authority. The review will produce both core strategy policies and site allocations.

We have lawyers who are specialised in planning enforcement work and certificates of lawfulness. Some clients are confident enough to make the decisions and instruct us to draft the enforcement or other appropriate notice. Other clients make use of our skills in reviewing large amounts of evidence and advising on the most effective means of enforcement. When this means that an injunction is required we are able to deal with the matter expertly and speedily.

Orders, notices and agreements

We draft and obtain orders and notices, such as planning contravention notices, enforcement notices, stop notices, CLEUDs (certificates of lawful existing use of development) and traffic orders. We also prepare documentation such as statements of case, statements of common ground, proofs of evidence and costs applications for planning and other hearings, appeals and inquiries. In our compulsory purchase work we prepare indemnity and back-to-back agreements and often very last minute agreements with objectors which lead to the withdrawal of objections to a compulsory purchase order.

Developer agreements

An important part of our work involves advising clients on planning applications relating to large or strategic sites, especially in respect of infrastructure provision including whether the proposed infrastructure meets the local plan requirements and the legal requirements of the CIL regulations. We prepare, negotiate and advise on existing agreements made under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 or previous legislation and section 278 of the Highways Act 1980. These have ranged from an agreement to provide one affordable home or financial contributions to infrastructure costs to agreements for the provision of infrastructure and mitigation arising from the development of 5,000 houses and for employment, retail and community facilities.

Case study – Beeston Park, Broadland

Our planning lawyers recently advised Broadland District Council and negotiated the s106 agreement relating to Beeston Park, the largest development in Broadland for some years. The 512 acre site to the north of Norwich will be home to 3,500 homes and two new primary schools, a secondary school, with allocations of up to 16,800 square metres for employment, up to 8,800 square metres for shops, services, cafes, restaurants and pubs and up to 2,000 square metres for community facilities including a health centre, library, community halls, a public park and an energy centre. The development was first considered in September 2013. Outline planning permission was granted in March 2016. The developer agreement includes clauses relating to affordable housing, schools, community facilities and travel. Ben Burgess of Broadland District Council commented, “nplaw’s work on the agreement has ensured that it is sensible, sound and in the best interests of Broadland District Council, which in turn will greatly help to facilitate a high quality, liveable community that will be a credit to the Broadland District”.

Advocacy

Our planning lawyers include highly experience advocates and we represent our clients at hearings, public inquiries and in court on a wide variety of matters, ranging from footpath orders to traveller encampments. We maintain a close relationship with a number of expert planning barristers and obtain advice from and instruct counsel to appear on our client’s behalf whenever this is appropriate.

Judicial Review and Statutory Challenges

It is inevitable that decisions of our clients are sometimes challenged. We work with the client, either to reduce the likelihood of a challenge or to robustly and generally successfully defend it.

Advice related to compulsory purchase orders

The team also contains five specialist compulsory purchase lawyers all of whom have a strong planning background. Where large scale regeneration or extensions to existing settlements are proposed we can advise  from an early stage onwards on the likely requirements of the development plan process, adopted policies and planning permissions which can give the best outcome in terms of justification for any necessary compulsory purchase to enable the regeneration or extension to progress. We can run the compulsory purchase, planning advice and negotiation of a s.106 agreement in tandem to assist in achieving successful projects in short timescales. Click here to see our compulsory purchase order page.

Newsletters and training

We publish free quarterly newsletters (and more frequently when necessary) for our clients and other subscribers outlining legal developments and discussing interesting cases. We hold at least four free public seminars a year for those working in the field of planning and the environment on topical issues such as the effect of the Community Infrastructure Regulations on the use of section 106 agreements, the Housing White Paper, starter and custom build homes, and general updates on planning case law and legislation. We also provide bespoke training to our clients’ members, officers and employees on request.

For further information, please contact
Jane Linley at jane.linley@norfolk.gov.uk or on 01603 223811

 

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Planning & the Environment team