Planning and development

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Legislation and planning policy is constantly evolving and if you are a developer, a landowner or objector, it is essential that you obtain the appropriate advice.

From the initial preparation of a planning application through to third party challenges of a final decision, specialist advice from people experienced in all aspects of the planning process is key.

Whether preparing for an initial application, appealing a decision, ensuring planning obligations are carefully drafted, or complying with enforcement notices or judicial review due to third party obligations, seeking advice from a specialist and experienced team can help you successfully navigate what can be a complex area of law.

What is planning law?

Planning law is a set of regulations and policies that govern the use of land and buildings. It aims to ensure that development is sustainable, meets the needs of communities, and protects the environment. Planning law covers issues such as zoning, building codes, and environmental impact assessments.

Helen Archibald

Helen Archibald

Partner | Real estate, Commercial property, Land development

01483 748541

What planning services do we offer?

We offer a comprehensive service that covers all aspects of the planning process including:

  • Application
  • Appeals
  • Objections
  • Complex section 106 agreements
  • Enforcement
  • Consultation in relation to the formulation of policy
  • Judicial reviews


Preparing an application requires experience and attention to detail. If you are to make the most of a site’s potential for development, close examination of policy and planning issues is essential.  This includes:

  • The impact of local/national planning policies
  • The need to address policy, planning impact and technical issues
  • An understanding of the way in which a planning authority or inspector will examine and respond to the major issues
  • Anticipating and overcoming potential objections and challenges
  • Understanding the significance of planning conditions, obligations and the issues they may cause a developer


If you want to appeal a decision, we can advise you on the following:

  • The overall merits of a development proposal and its chances of success on appeal
  • Whether the appeal should proceed by way of written representations, an informal hearing or a public inquiry
  • The issues that will have to be covered in the appeal and what other professional involvement will be required to ensure success.

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Planning obligations

Planning obligations are regularly used as a method of securing developer contributions and the provision of affordable housing. It is vital that these agreements are carefully drafted. We advise on all aspects of planning obligations including:

  • Compliance with the CIL Regulations 2010;
  • SANG Credit mechanisms;
  • Unilateral Undertakings;
  • Infrastructure agreements including section 38 and section 278 agreements;
  • Renegotiation, modification and discharge of section 106 obligations.

Enforcement proceedings

It is extremely important to comply with enforcement notices as a failure to do so can lead to criminal sanction.

We advise on all aspects of enforcement including:

  • Legal issues on enforcement, including whether a planning breach exists
  • Whether buildings or their use are immune from enforcement action
  • The implications for developers and landowners of enforcement notices, stop notices and breach of condition notices
  • Possible breaches of other statutory regimes, including listed building controls
  • How to avoid, delay or challenge enforcement proceedings by way of appeals
  • The use of planning conditions and planning obligations as a means of overcoming enforcement problems
  • Defence of prosecutions for breaches of enforcement notices.

Judicial review

Planning decisions are increasingly contentious and can lead to third party challenges.

We have extensive experience of taking and defending legal proceedings challenging the grant of planning permission, the dismissal of planning appeals and the adoption of development plan policies and allocations. Our planning team was one of the first in the country to successfully overturn the adoption of a neighbourhood plan.

We can advise on the grounds supporting a legal challenge and how that can be pursued or defended. Prior to a planning application being submitted, we can advise on the best way to negotiate that application and obtain consent so as to minimise the chances of a legal challenge.

We can also advise on the potential for legal challenges on property and development deals which are proceeding by way of conditional contracts or options.

Contact us

We have offices in LondonRichmondSouthamptonGuildfordLymington and Woking, and can offer specialist expert support on a local and national level.

We are here to help

Discover how our expert property lawyers can help you.

Contact our property and land team

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