December 21, 2020

Planning Law News Update

Due to the current Global COVID Pandemic, this year our specialist team of Planning Law solicitors has been unable to present our Autumn Planning Law Update at our traditional venues across Essex and Suffolk. Although we have all had to become accustomed to using alternative means of communicating remotely since March (after being a little slow out of the blocks even the Planning Inspectorate has caught on), we feel that a large part of the success of the seminars is the personal interactions with and between our clients and professional network.

Therefore, rather than hold a virtual event we have provided our update in written form as an interim measure in the hope that we will be able see you all in person sometime soon!  

In addition to a sea change in attitude towards home- and remote-working, we have also seen important changes in planning including changes to the Use Class Order, proposed reforms of the planning system and the introduction of (temporary) Permitted Development Rights to help tackle the pandemic. And Brexit is just around the corner… The government clearly considers the housing market and new development as key to the economy and to the country’s survival/revival we seek to navigate out way out of the Pandemic.

At a local level there have been developments with Local Plans – some moving forwards, others not – as well as progress with long standing infrastructure projects including the A12/A120 widening scheme.

Lockdown proved to be a busy period for Holmes & Hills with the opening of the firm’s sixth office and now regional head office, the A12 Commercial Hub at J25 off the A12, Marks Tey. 15 new positions were created as part of this growth project, many of which were quickly filled in the spring/summer. Further positions were subsequently created and there remains a small number of vacancies for solicitor positions. Lockdown also saw us launch our new branding - bold yellow stripes should ensure you quickly recognise Holmes & Hills materials in future.      

Many of you will know the A12 Commercial Hub from its previous life as the Food Company. During lockdown we undertook a full refurbishment and fit out to create a modern 14,000 sq ft state of the art office. We have created a variety of agile working and meeting areas for both formal and informal working and meetings with clients and our professional network. The A12 Commercial Hub has excellent transport links and plenty of parking.

Our other five town centre offices will remain open in Braintree, Halstead, Sudbury, Coggeshall and Tiptree. All are within striking distance of the new A12 Commercial Hub and continue to play an integral role in servicing our clients across the region.

In time we hope to be able to invite our clients and professional contacts to the A12 Commercial Hub – in the interim, below is the Holmes & Hills Solicitors Planning Law Update 2020 which includes:

  • Recently recognised as a “Star Associate” by Chambers and Partners, Jo Lilliott reflects upon the Government’s recent consultations “Planning for the Future” and “Changes to the Current Planning System” highlighting key changes in current/future policy
  • Tom McPhie considers “drop in” permissions to large(r) development sides and the recent Hillside Parks case.
  • In a continuation of a topic from last year’s seminar, Sarah Cook looks at the case of Norfolk Homes and the need to “tie in” s106 obligations to s73 permissions.
  • Having recently joined Holmes & Hills from a Local Authority legal team, Ellie Shemming considers changes to the Use Classes Order, particularly new Use Classes E, F and transitional provisions.
  • Lastly, Mike Harman summarises five recent cases/appeal decisions concerning Enforcement Notices, particularly concerning compliance provisions.

I and the team hope that the articles provide an update on important issues as we see them, in the absence of our regular annual series of events. Do not hesitate to contact either myself or the author of the relevant article to discuss matters of interest.

Do you have leg to stand on? Standing to challenge Planning Inspector appeal decisions

Planning Law specialists Steven Hopkins and Edward Green discuss the issues and considerations that need to be factored in when challenging the decisions of a Planning Inspector.


Proposed changes to planning

Planning Law Solicitor, Jo Lilliot discusses key proposed changes to the current planning system published by the Government.


Multiple planning permissions applying to the same site - a case study

Tom McPhie discusses the case of Hillside Parks Limited v Snowdonia National Park and the issue of multiple permissions applying to the same site.


The importance of ensuring an original S106 planning obligation is tied to a new section 73 permission

Sarah Cook outlines the importance of ensuring an original S106 planning obligation is tied to a new section 73 permission using a case study as an example.


Key Planning Law changes - The Use Classes Regulations 2020

Ellie Shemming discusses the changes introduced through the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Amendment) Regulations 2020.


Compliance, compliance, compliance

Michael Harman discusses some recent appeal and Court decisions concerning compliance period – particularly in the context of planning enforcement notices.


Follow the correct procedure or risk a hefty CIL bill

Michael Harman and Ellie Shemming discuss the lessons that can be learnt from the recent appeals concerning liability under the CIL Regulations 2010.


Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020

Sarah Cook, discusses the Town and Country Planning Regulations 2020 and the impact these may have.


S106 obligations receive Court of Appeal endorsement in recent case

Jo Lilliott discusses the recent Court of Appeal case of DP Symmetry and Swindon Borough Council and Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government [2020] EWCA Civ 1331.


Planning Law Solicitors recognised among best in the region for 2021

Holmes & Hills’ specialist team of Planning Law solicitors has once again been recognised by Chambers & Partners as one of the leading sources of advice concerning contentious and non-contentious Planning Law.


Key Contact

Steven Hopkins


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