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Freeths - Law firm

Planning Consultancy

Market leading team providing clients with a navigable path through the planning system

Planning consultancy expertise

Our team of experienced Chartered Town Planners has an extensive track record of advising on and promoting a wide range of sites and schemes through the planning system. Our team is based in our Nottingham and London offices and operates nationwide either independently or with our planning and environmental law teams.

About our planning consultancy expertise:

  • Clear and commercially minded advice on development potential including portfolio reviews and development appraisals
  • Preparation and submission of planning applications and other approval processes
  • Strategic land advice and site promotion
  • Public consultation and stakeholder engagement
  • Project management of large multi-disciplinary teams in the preparation of planning applications and Environmental Impact Assessments
  • Impact assessments and sequential analysis for retail and leisure schemes
  • Planning appeals including expert witness at Public Inquiries, representation at Informal Hearings and preparation of Written Representations appeals
  • Community Infrastructure Levy and Planning Obligation advice

Key contacts

Mark Harris

Mark Harris

0345 404 4102

Paul Brailsford
Partner, National Head of Planning & Environment

0345 050 3676

Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners testimonials

“A close-knit team that works well over differing geographical locations. A wide range of services are on offer and they complement their other teams well, such as real estate and construction” – Legal 500

“The Freeths’ planning team is well led, conscientious, and goes the extra mile for their clients”  – Legal 500

“This team has an extremely wide ranging skill set” – Chambers & Partners

“Very professional, very knowledgeable and worked hard to support us, providing us with prompt advice and a very responsive service overall” – Legal 500

Planning consultancy project examples

Our planning consultancy team operates across the country and has an extensive track record of advising on a range of developments and sectors. Below are examples of schemes and sectors we have advised on and are active in at present.

Sevenoaks town centre
We were successful in securing full planning permission in Sevenoaks for a mixed use development delivering new homes, public realm and retail space.

The proposal comprised the demolition of a vacant 1960’s building in office and retail use on the High Street, Sevenoaks and redevelopment to provide 104 new homes, 3 retail units and an underground car park. Given the prominent location of the site within the Conservation Area with adjacent listed buildings the challenge here was to maximise the opportunity to increase the density of development in the town centre whilst realising Council objectives for new high-quality new public realm along the High Street, and a dedicated pedestrian route linking the High Street to the Kaleidoscope Arts centre as part of the town’s cultural quarter. We led the design team and negotiations with the local planning authority through pre application discussions, public consultation and stakeholder engagement and preparation and submission of the planning application. Working closely with Officers and key consultees we were able to ensure that the proposal evolved to take account of heritage and townscape constraints and ultimately secured planning permission for a multi storey development (up to 6 storeys) in only 19 weeks. Wider advice here included CIL mitigation and prior approval to address employment protection policies.

Cranswick Country Food, Suffolk
We secured planning permission in 2018 for Cranswick Country Foods to deliver a brand new processing facility comprising 20,405 square metres of floorspace on a 10.87ha site at the Eye Airfield Industrial Estate in Suffolk.

The site was located in the Countryside, but on the edge of Eye Airfield, which was designated for employment development. Freeths successfully argued that policies in the Local Plan, which was from 1998, were out of date in respect of employment land allocations and as such the presumption in favour of sustainable development as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework was engaged, The scheme received planning permission in April 2018 and the client opened the facility in November 2019.

Spittlegate Level, Grantham
We advised Carta Real Estate on the promotion of 22 hectares of land for industrial use as part of the wider Grantham Southern Gateway allocation as proposed in the review of the South Kesteven Local Plan. The team advised on planning strategy from the outset including the approach to significantly increasing the size of the allocation to meet identified regional and national operator requirements, the scope of associated evidence, discussions with the local planning authority culminating in an agreed Statement of Common Ground in support of the increased allocation which was submitted as part of the Examination, and representation at the associated hearing sessions. The site was allocated for development on adoption of the Local Plan and we have subsequently advised on the preparation and submission of an outline planning application for 1 million sq ft of development. Key areas of advice through the development management process included negotiations regarding associated infrastructure requirements with the local highway authority and National Highways; and addressing key issues such as visual impact and heritage impact. Planning permission was granted in 2022 and the team is now advising on the submission of reserved matters.

Mere, Wiltshire
Freeths secured full planning permission for a 70 bed care home for Country Court Care Homes Limited in 2022 on land adjacent to Quarryfield Industrial Estate, Mere.

The site, which sat outside the settlement boundary of Mere, formed part of 3ha of wider land that was allocated in the Wiltshire Local Plan for employment development and had outline planning permission for B1/B8 development. The development for a care home, which is not an employment use, was therefore contrary to the adopted development plan. Freeths successfully argued that despite numerous planning permissions and extensive marketing, the wider land had not delivered any employment development or created any jobs. The proposal struck an appropriate balance in bringing forward development which creates jobs, whilst at the same time meeting an identified need for elderly accommodation and as such demonstrated that there were strong material considerations that outweighed any non-compliance with the development plan.

Ingatestone, Essex

Freeths advised Hallmark Care Homes on the dual promotion of land at Ingatestone, Essex for removal from the Green Belt and allocation in the emerging Local Plan and Neighbourhood Plan for employment generating uses; and the preparation and submission of a planning application for office headquarters, centre of excellence and care home. The team advised on strategy throughout appearing at the Local Plan Examination and leading negotiations with consultees such as the County Council (including demonstrating that expensive highways improvements to the A12 were not required), dealing with design and health impact issues and concluding a legal agreement with regard to health care contributions, traffic regulation order requirements and travel plan monitoring. Planning permission was granted in summer 2023.

Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire
Freeths secured reserved matters approval in 2022 for two phases of residential development (300 dwellings in total, 150 per phase) in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire.

Outline permission was received in 2017 and 2018 respectively and the reserved matters submission sought compliance with the conditions on these permissions to deliver a phased development which was acceptable to both the client and the Local Planning Authority. The principles of the layout were based around ensuring that the development was well integrated with the public open spaces within and adjoining the site. The integration of POS and street trees into the layout delivered a strong character for the development and the legibility of key routes for pedestrians, cyclists and car users ensured these spaces were well defined, attractive and safe.

Land at Market Square, Basildon
Freeths advised on the successful promotion of a full planning application for the redevelopment of an under-used town centre office and retail block for a mixed-use tall building comprising of up to 492 storeys of Build to Rent apartments in blocks of up to 17 storeys with flexible commercial use on the ground and first floors. We were responsible for setting the planning strategy, engaging with Basildon Borough Council in pre-application discussions and the preparation of the planning application including an Environmental Impact Assessment. Despite planning officer support, the scheme had to be approved via a Public Inquiry at which we provided Expert Witness services and co-ordinated the preparation of other expert evidence.

University of Portsmouth
Freeths had advised on a range of development and asset management/enhancement schemes as part of the University’s day-to-day operations and its Campus masterplan. This has included securing planning permission for a new tall academic building on the edge of Victoria Park in the City Centre together with a range of changes of use, building extensions and signage schemes. This role has involved working closely with the University’s Estates team, design teams and Portsmouth City Council.

Nottingham City Centre
Freeths advised the landowner and secured planning permission and listed building consent for the conversion and extension of a vacant City Centre retail property to purpose built student accommodation on the upper floors. The scheme involved close negotiations through the pre-application process with Nottingham City Council on the principle of the proposed use and the design and heritage implications of the conversion and extension works. This led to a resolution to grant planning permission within 13 weeks.

Wilford Lane, West Bridgford
Freeths advised Wilford Lane Developments on the preparation and submission of a hybrid planning application for mixed use development on land previously acquired by Sainsbury for a new food store. The proposal comprised a Lidl food store, gym, public house, drive thru restaurants, retail units, 200 apartments and 75 retirement living apartments. We led discussions between the design team and both the local planning authority, local highway authority and Environment Agency satisfactorily addressing issues raised by consultees including the sequential approach, retail impact, highways impact and complex flood risk modelling. The potential for maximising the development potential of the site whilst balancing arboricultural and ecological constraints amongst others was agreed with Planning Officers who recommended that planning permission should be granted. Whilst Councillors refused planning permission at Committee we advised on the preparation and submission of a planning appeal which was ultimately successful and planning permission was granted along with an award of costs. The team has subsequently advised Keepmoat on reserved matters for the residential element of the development which were approved in autumn 2022.

Advising Fitzwilliam Trust Corporation and Commercial Development Projects on the redevelopment of related cluster sites in Malton and, to date, securing planning permission for circa. 400 new homes, 200,000 sq ft of office, general industrial and storage/distribution floorspace along with new livestock market, agricultural business centre and petrol filling station along with associated infrastructure. The team has advised the various development partners on these proposals since 2013 including submission of outline planning applications with Environmental Impact Assessment, involvement in the Local Plan process and specific advice on Local Development Order and Environmental Impact Assessment issues. We have also submitted applications for reserved matters for Linden and Broadacres. Land for a further 300 new homes is now also being promoted through the current local plan review.

Whatever your planning issue or opportunity is, we can help you. Get in touch with us on 0330 100 1014 or contact us online >

Meet the team

Planning Consultancy Lawyers

Paul Brailsford

0345 050 3676

Mark Harris

Mark Harris

0345 404 4102

Mark Bassett

0345 030 5748

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Freeths are a leading national law firm with 13 offices across the UK. If you have a query about our services or just want to find out more, why not give us a call?

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