Expert Legal Advice about Planning Issues

There are national and local rules that have to be followed by property owners, if they want to carry out building work, or to change how land or a property is used. The Local Authority in the area where your property or land is  situated is responsible for enforcing the planning rules and dealing with any breaches of planning legislation.

Planning issues can arise in relation to property that you own, or property that is owned by others. In either case, it is important that you obtain legal advice at an early stage, as some of the deadlines can be short and the issues can be complex.

Planning permission is required in a wide range of circumstances, including many changes to residential property, new residential or commercial developments, agricultural buildings, solar farms, onshore and offshore wind farms, and listed buildings. 

There are various types of disputes and issues that can arise in planning law:


How to Object to a Planning Application

If you wish to object to a planning application which has been submitted by somebody else, we can help. It is important to consider the rules and planning policies which will apply to the property, at both a national and local level. 

You will need to draft your objection with reference to these policies, and taking into account various factors which can mean planning applications are approved or rejected, including:

  • whether the property or land in question is likely to flood;
  • whether the proposed development would have an adverse impact upon the setting of historical buildings;
  • whether the proposed development is within a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, or an Area of Outstanding Beauty;
  • whether the needs for housing locally has already been satisfied by other developments;
  • the impact upon traffic of the proposed development; and
  • the impact of the proposed development upon the surrounding landscape. 

The more comprehensive an objection is, the more likely it is that it will be given proper and critical consideration by the planning authority.

We can provide assistance with drafting objections to planning applications. We can also liaise with your local councillors and assist you with representation at planning committee meetings.


What are Planning Enforcement Notices?

If work or development is carried out without then necessary consents in place, local authorities can issue and enforcement notice. 

Enforcement notices are addressed to property owners, and can require them to take certain steps in relation to their property, (such as the removal of structures) or to cease a particular use of a property. In these circumstances, the enforcement notice can sometimes be challenged.

If you have received a planning enforcement notice that you wish to challenge, we can assist. 


How to Obtain a Certificate of Lawfulness

Certificates of Lawfulness can be obtained if you have been using your property or land in a certain way for more than ten years, or if you have carried out building work more than ten years ago, without the necessary planning permission. 

You need to apply to your local authority for a Certificate of Lawful Use or Development, and include as much evidence as possible that your use of the land has been going on for over ten years, or the development on the land was carried out more than ten years ago. 

If you are faced with an Enforcement Notice, you can make an application to your Local Authority to obtain a Certificate of Lawfulness.

If you think you are eligible to make an application for a Certificate of Lawfulness, we can assist. 


Appealing Against a Planning Decision

If you make an application for planning permission, which is not approved, it is possible to appeal that decision to the Planning Inspectorate.

You can mount an appeal if:

  • planning permission was refused for reasons which go against the local authority's planning policies;
  • the conditions upon your planning permission are unnecessary, unenforceable, vague, unreasonable or irrelevant; or
  • the local authority has not decided your application within 8 weeks of acknowledging your application.

On major projects, (such as developments of more than ten buildings, or a single building which is larger than 1000m2) you have to wait 13 weeks before appealing.

Expert evidence will often be required to take advantage of the appeal process to its full extent, and we can assist you with the procedures involved.


Judicial Review of Planning Decisions

It is also possible to challenge planning decisions by way of judicial review. Judicial review proceedings must be started very quickly, within just six weeks of the decision you wish to challenge. Under the procedure, you ask a Judge to look at the decision again, to decide whether or not the decision was made reasonably. If not, the decision can be overturned.

These proceedings are complex and you should therefore seek legal advice as a matter of urgency, if you want to start a Judicial Review.

If you have any planning issues relating to your property or a property near to you, do not hesitate to contact us today.


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