Planning is an area that can have a profound effect on our surroundings and lives.
Our Planning Solicitors, led by ex-local authority lawyer Bob McGeady, act for local authorities, local residents, developers, and landowners advising on all aspects of planning law from applications to appeals. We deal with large and small-scale developments on behalf of planning authorities, landowners, objectors and also developers. The work includes planning appeals and enquiries, planning agreements, affordable housing and environmental impact assessments.
Section 106 Agreements
Section 106 agreements enable the release of a planning permission. They can be highly complex and are subject to statutory tests in order to be valid. Our team can provide assistance in ensuring that relevant issues are dealt with efficiently and robustly.
Where a planning application has been submitted, adjoining landowners may wish to object. How to object and the relevant grounds for objection are matters that require experience and careful consideration. One objection dealing with relevant issues will carry more weight than 100 objections that do not deal with the planning issues. We can use our extensive network of other professionals to bring in other expert assistance where required.
Enforcement Action and Certificates of Lawfulness
Sometimes development is undertaken without planning permission and this only comes to light when the property is being sold or a new operator takes over and uses the site in a different way, giving rise to objection. A complex investigation may be required to establish whether what has been done has become lawful or to advise landowners or objectors as to what pressure may be put on local authorities to take action. Where various time periods have expired, it may be possible to show that the development has become lawful and is able to continue. This is an area of law where Ashtons Legal Planning Consultant, Bob McGeady, is recognised as a leading national authority, conducting training courses for various training providers.
Appeals and Public Inquiries
Local authorities do not always get it right and appeals are available against their decisions. A clear strategy as to how the grounds of appeal should be framed and pursued is essential. Bob McGeady has only ever lost two public inquiries where he has been the advocate – and yes, he has done more than two!
Cases can end up in the mainstream courts either as a result of a criminal prosecution for breach of various notices. Timely advice as to the options available can save time and cost. A realistic assessment of the case and how it should be pursued will be provided in clear and concise terms.
Local authority decisions can be challenged by judicial review. This will be in circumstances where there may have been some procedural error or the decision is irrational or unreasonable. Our Planning Solicitors act for applicants for judicial review, local authorities who are subject to such challenges, and third parties who get caught up in an application as they are the applicant for planning permission. Our initial review of a case takes a no nonsense approach, assessing the prospects for success.