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Planning Consultancy

A market leading team focused on 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 representation appeals
  • Community infrastructure levy and planning obligation advice

Key contact

Paul Brailsford's Profile

Paul Brailsford

Partner, National Head of Planning & Environment

More about planning

Planning consultancy project examples

  • Sevenoaks town centre

    We secured full planning permission for a mixed-use development of a key high street site delivering new homes, public realm and retail space. The proposal comprised the demolition of a vacant 1960’s building and redevelopment to provide 104 new homes, retail units and an underground car park. As the site is in a prominent location within a conservation area with adjacent listed buildings, the scheme involved a careful balance between optimising density, whilst realising council objectives for new high-quality new public realm and a dedicated pedestrian route to provide links in the town’s cultural quarter. We led the design team and negotiations with the local planning authority from pre-application discussions, public consultation through to the promotion of the planning application to a positive outcome.  

  • Cranswick Country Food

    We secured planning permission in 2018 for Cranswick Country Foods to deliver a brand new processing facility comprising 20,405 square metres of floor space 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 NPPF was engaged.  The scheme received planning permission in April 2018 and the client opened the facility in November 2019.

  • Spittlegate Level Grantham

    We advised on the promotion of 22 hectares of land for industrial use as part of the wider Grantham southern gateway allocation in the local plan. We advised on the planning strategy from the outset including the approach to significantly increasing the allocation’s size to meet identified regional and national operator requirements. We worked with the local planning authority and appeared at the examination hearing sessions. The site was allocated and we have subsequently advised on the preparation and submission of an outline planning application for 1 million sq.ft of development through to planning permission being secured in 2022. This included negotiations regarding associated infrastructure requirements with the highway authority and National Highways and addressing key issues such as visual impact and heritage impact. 

  • Country Court Care Homes

    We 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 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. We 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 employment generating development, whilst at the same time meeting an identified need for elderly accommodation.

  • Hallmark Care Homes

    We 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. We 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

    We secured reserved matters approval in 2022 for two phases of residential development totalling 300 dwellings in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire. Outline permission was received in 2017 & 2018 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 public open space 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.

  • Market Square Basildon

    We advised Orwell Real Estate 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. This included close working with council officers, the scheme architect (SWAP Architects) and the wider project team. 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.  

  • Fitzwilliam Trust Corporation

    We are advising Fitzwilliam Trust Corporation and Commercial Development Projects on the redevelopment of related sites in Malton. To date, we have secured planning permission for circa. 400 new homes, 200,000 sq ft of office, general industrial and storage/distribution floorspace along with a 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 currently being promoted through the local plan review.

  • University of Portsmouth

    We 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. We also advise on emerging planning policy that relates to the university’s activities and objectives. This role has involved working closely with the university’s estates team, design teams and Portsmouth City Council. 

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  • Nottingham city centre

    We 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. 

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  • Wilford Lane Developments

    We advised Wilford Lane Developments on a hybrid planning application for mixed-use development. The proposal comprised a discount 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 and wider consultees addressing a range of issues. The potential for maximising the development potential of the site whilst balancing its constraints was agreed with planning officers who recommended the scheme be approved. Whilst councillors refused planning permission at committee we advised on an appeal.  This was ultimately successful and permission was granted along with a costs award. We have subsequently advised Keepmoat on reserved matters for the residential scheme which was approved in autumn 2022. 

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Our accreditations

We are celebrating another year of accreditations and rankings.


  • “Outstanding level of knowledge on niche environmental topics”.

    The Legal 500

  • "They stand out because they engage with the client in more detail and more than anyone else I know. It is very important to build a relationship w...

    The Legal 500

  • "The Freeths’ planning team is well led, conscientious, and goes the extra mile for their clients."

    The Legal 500

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