Planning and Infrastructure
Planning and infrastructure is a complex area of the law that is constantly evolving and changing. Our specialist planning lawyers understand the broader commercial landscape and can help navigate these changes, turning potential challenges into opportunities. The combination of our in-depth knowledge of planning law, experience and innovative thinking helps us to unlock development potential and reduce risk.
No planning project is ever the same. We provide high-quality advice tailored to your individual needs. We can also draw on expertise from across the firm including our Real Estate, Construction and Procurement teams as well as our in-house project management service.
Main Areas Of Practice
Our expertise covers all aspects of contentious and non-contentious planning and infrastructure and includes:
Pre-Application Advice and Planning Agreements
Our expert planning team provide pragmatic, commercial strategic advice in respect of all stages of the planning process. We regularly advise on the full range of pre-application, planning and infrastructure matters and processes, as well as all agreements including section 106 agreements.
Strategic Planning and Land Promotion
We provide commercially astute strategic advice in respect of land promotion through emerging local plans, preparing for, attending at and presenting to planning committees, appeals, call-ins, inquiries, hearings and preparing written representations, as well as all aspects of pre-acquisition, pre-submission and post-decision due diligence.
Planning Consultancy advice
The planning consultancy element of our team supplements our legal advisers with planning judgment (and Expert Witness) on balancing, for example, compliance with conflicting Development Plan policies and/or other material considerations, as well as project team coordination, liaison with the local planning authorities involved, all key stakeholders and the local community.
Judicial Review and High Court Challenges
Our team is well-versed at undertaking legal and planning policy compliance audits of planning applications with a view to warding off the risk of challenge. In turn we apply this knowledge when undertaking our own challenges to planning permissions, either by way of judicial review or pursuant to s288/s289 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. A Royal Town Planning Institute accredited Expert Witness is also available within the Planning Team.
We provide advice on all aspects of the enforcement regime including breach of conditions notices, planning contravention notices, enforcement notice appeals, stop notices and certificates of lawfulness, both for existing and proposed lawful uses. This includes preparing and submitting such applications and appeals, including preparation of statutory declarations and associated exhibits/evidence, as part of preparing and submitting applications for lawful development certificates.
Community infrastructure levy
We provide bespoke planning and legal advice on the impact of the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010, such as advising affordable housing providers on the availability of social housing relief, or private developers on subsisting liability.
Compulsory purchase and acquisition
Our team has significant experience in respect of compulsory purchase orders and compensation law. We have acted on a range of compulsory purchase matters including road, rail and flood attenuation schemes as well as large land assembly schemes. A Royal Town Planning Institute accredited Expert Witness for Land Tribunal is also available within the Team.
We advise on all aspects relating to the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Planning regime and Development Consent Orders. We regularly work with specialist lawyers from across our Construction and Real Estate teams to assist in navigating the challenges of complex infrastructure project delivery.
We advise on all aspects of Highways Law including stopping up orders and highway licences. We regularly negotiate section 278 and section 38 highway agreements and are well equipped to provide support to technical consultants and advise on adoption and dedication.
We advise on a range of environment issues, such as minerals, habitats, biodiversity, Environmental Impact Assessments and related EU legislation. We advise on prosecutions for criminal offences and can present tailored commercial solutions to ensure regulatory compliance. We also have significant experience in providing and/or applying for scoping and screening opinions, and coordinating provision of Environmental Statements.
Listed Buildings, Heritage Assets and Conservation Areas
We provide a full due diligence service for clients wanting to understand the existing planning liabilities of a site, including offering bespoke advice on the impact of a conservation area or a listed structure. We have significant experience of preparing planning applications that impact upon heritage assets and assessing the consequences of relevant policies and appraisals. We also have extensive experience of successfully defeating listed building enforcement notices and of persuading authorities to withdraw criminal charges pursuant to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
Assets of Community Value, Town and Village Greens, and Public Rights of Way
We also have experience of representing both owners and authorities in relation to assets of community value, town and village green applications, footpaths and various other public rights of way (etc).
We advise a wide range of clients including: developers, housing associations, landowners, promoters, local authorities, high net worth individuals, investors (including banks), retailers, leisure operators, airports, care providers and various government organisations.
Our planning experts were appointed by the Council of the City and County of Swansea in relation to the regeneration of the Swansea Civic Centre and the city centre redevelopment worth £6 billion in relation to planning and compulsory purchase.
Our team acted for Renewal Group in relation to the £1 billion regeneration of the 30-acre site in Lewisham known as New Bermondsey including compulsory purchase powers.
Our planning experts were instructed by Cooper Estates to assist in the defence of a legal challenge concerning an inspector's consideration of the '10% lapse rate' on the planning authority's 5-year housing land supply.
"Highly collaborative team, working with stakeholders across any particular project to get the best outcome for clients. Extremely diligent – looks at risk from all angles."
- Legal 500, 2022
"I have utilised the services of the Blake Morgan Planning Team for a number of years now. They have consistently provided a thorough and dedicated service to our business. When we have required statutory agreements prepared under tight timescales, the BM team have been excellent at ensuring everything is done in a timely fashion. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them."
- Duncan Morris, Director, Victoria Land Limited
Awards And Accolades
Awards And Accolades
Conservation covenants were introduced by the Environment Act 2021 and can be a useful tool in the environmental change toolkit. This new type of agreement is to be entered into...Read More
Trainee Solicitor Beth Ellis got to grips with what planning is really about when she spoke to Wesley Ankrah and Georgia Bird from Dominvs Group about social value in the...Read More