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Our expert team of planning lawyers, chartered town planners and technicians advise clients on the full spectrum of planning law matters. Below are just a few examples of the work the team do.

Examples of our work

Proposed Glamping Site

The client ran a garage and a storage business on a parcel of land within the Green Belt and lived in an adjoining dwelling which was subject of an occupancy condition. The client wanted to diversify their business and to establish a glamping business creating holiday homes out of recycled railway carriages.

The Solution

After pre-application discussions with the Authority and following representations to the emerging Local Plan, two planning applications were submitted. The first application sought planning permission for the change of use of land to form a glamping site for the positioning of 6 glamping pods, use of an existing car park for use in association with the glamping business, use of an existing building as a cycle store, use of an existing shed as a bin store, use of former shop and room in the dwelling as an office and the formation of a pond. The second application sought permission for the variation of the occupancy condition attached to the planning permission for the dwelling.

The Result

The LPA granted planning permission for the glamping site and associated development.  The LPA additionally approved the variation of the occupancy condition attached to the dwelling to additionally allow for occupancy by a person solely or mainly or last working at the glamping business or a widow or widower of such a business.

Barn fell down during conversion into a dwelling

Our client was in the process of converting a barn in a countryside location into a dwelling when it fell down. The planning permission was only for the conversion of the building, not new build, consequently a different planning permission was needed and the existing one could not be relied upon. The possibility of enforcement action was raised by the Council.

The Solution

A planning application was submitted for the demolition of and rebuilding of grain store / dryer building for use as a single dwelling and for the installation of a package treatment plant. The application was partially retrospective and was submitted with a detailed justification. The application was considered by the Council’s Planning Committee with a recommendation of refusal.


Following a verbal presentation to the Council’s Planning Committee approved the application subject to conditions.

Existing Quay Upgrade Works

Our client needed to upgrade an existing quay which was in a poor state of repair to serve adjoining land which was being redeveloped for employment purposes. The works amongst other things entailed the widening of the quay and encroaching into the river.

The Solution

A planning application was submitted for existing quay upgrade works. An application for a Marine Licence had previously been submitted to the Marine Management Organisation.  The planning application was submitted with supportive information justifying the acceptability of the proposed development and the mitigation measures to be provided as part of the development.

The Result

After due consideration the Authority approved the application and granted planning permission subject to conditions. Particular care was taken over the wording of the conditions to enable the development of the quay to continue without the need for pre-commencement conditions to be discharged.

Mixed use development including 370 units in Class C2 use and 210 units in Class C3 use

Outline planning permission had been refused for a comprehensive redevelopment of a site in Hartlepool measuring approximately 11 hectares in area. The reasons for refusal pertained to the loss of allocated employment land in Hartlepool and the impact the proposed development would have on nearby industrial uses, the Council considering it would entail a constraint.

The Solution

An appeal was submitted against the refusal of planning permission. The Planning Inspectorate stated that the appeal would be considered by way of a Public Inquiry.  Subsequently the Secretary of State recovered the appeal for his determination.

The Result

The appeal was allowed subject to conditions and to a Section 106 Agreement.

Change of Use

A public sector organisation acquired a site which previously had been used as a  waste recycling station. The intention was to relocate a maintenance facility / team to the site from their previous base to make way for another development. Planning permission was required as the waste recycling station was a sui generis use, i.e. not in any Use Class and the proposed use a mixed  B1 / B2 / B8 use under the Use Classes Order at the time.  There were pressing time constraints for the relocation to happen.

The Solution

To help smooth the path of an application, discussions were held with the Authority to outline the background to it, the need for the development, to agree the description of the application and the documentation which would be needed to accompany the application.    A planning application was subsequently submitted for the change of use of the site to a mixed B1 / B2 / B8 use.

The Result

Following a discussion in relation to conditions such that the maintenance team could relocate straight into the site without the need for further application to discharge conditions, planning permission was granted enabling the relocation to go ahead.

Objection to Emerging Local Plan

ur client owned a property which had been a station before the closure of the railway line in the 1970s. The existing Local Plan and the emerging Local Plan showed the railway line as a Safeguarded Railway Line. If the railway line was to reopen it would cut through the client’s property and garden entailing a range of impacts considered undesirable.

The Solution

Firstly a Certificate of Lawfulness was obtained confirming the extent of the property’s garden which included the route of the Safeguarded Railway Line. Secondly representations were submitted to the emerging Local Plan objecting that the railway line should not be safeguarded for the reopening of the railway line in the emerging Local Plan, the policy not being sound for reasons including there being no evidence the reopening of the line was deliverable.

The Result

Following a discussion at the Examination in Public it was agreed that it was not sound to safeguard part of the railway line including that part which would affect our client’s property. Proposed modifications were subsequently issued amending the Plan to reduce the extent of the Safeguarded Railway route and in particular deleting the northern portion.

Alleged Unauthorised Development

Our client owned a site in the Green Belt. Planning permissions had been granted for the change of use of the site from garden centre to builders merchants including the recladding of an existing building, erection of open storage unit, external material storage and ancillary car parking. Following the grant of planning permission and the start of works the existing building was demolished and an issue arose as to whether the balance of the permitted development remained extant and in particular if the site could still be used as a builders merchant, the intended use.

The Solution

An application for a Certificate of Lawfulness of Proposed Development was submitted along with supporting evidence seeking confirmation that the permissions remained extant excepting the approved alterations to the building.

The Result

The Local Planning Authority approved the application and issued a Certificate confirming the permissions remained extant excepting the approved alterations to the building.

Breach of Condition

A public sector organisation was unwittingly breaching conditions imposed on a Reserved Matters approval granted in 2008. This breach was drawn to the Council’s attention and their enforcement and planning officers raised the breach with the organisation. An application was submitted to the Council to vary the conditions but after 6 months the application was refused by the Council’s Plans Panel notwithstanding a recommendation to approve the application. Following the decision the Council threatened to instigate enforcement procedures which would have had severe implications for the organisation and those it was responsible for.

The Solution

The planning history was closely investigated and it became evident that a similarly worded condition on another Reserved Matters approval was additionally being breached. Evidence was gathered in relation to how and for how long the conditions had been breached and whether the breaches had become immune from enforcement action due to the period of non-compliance. The evidence suggested it had and an application for a Certificate of Lawfulness for the continued breach of the conditions by not doing as they required was prepared and submitted. Upon receipt the Council agreed to put enforcement action on hold pending the outcome of the application.

The Result

A Certificate of Lawfulness was granted confirming the continued breach of the conditions was lawful. The decision on the Certificate of Lawfulness meant the Council had less control than if they had approved the original application.

Unauthorised Mixed use Commercial / Agricultural Development

Our client had established a wood chipping business in agricultural buildings on their farm, wood being brought into the site, chipped, dried and then taken to biomass plants in the North East and beyond. The Council received complaints about the use and the noise that it was making and threatened enforcement action.

The Solution

A planning application was made for the change of use to mixed purposes. A planning application was also made for the erection of an agricultural building. Both of these applications were subsequently withdrawn and a single comprehensive application was submitted for:

  1. the change of use of part of farm yard and 2 buildings from agricultural use to mixed use agriculture / woodchip production, drying and storage facility (retrospective)
  2. change of use of land to mixed use agriculture / wood store (retrospective)
  3. erection of agricultural building and stackyard, formation of access tracks (prospective)
  4. use of stackyard and associated tracks for mixed use agriculture / woodchip production (prospective).

Objections were submitted by local residents and the Parish Council amongst others which meant the application had to be considered by the Council’s Planning Committee.


The Committee heard speakers on all sides and by way of a majority vote agreed to grant planning permission subject to conditions.

Enforcement Issues

A breach of planning control had been identified. We were instructed to assist by a third party concerned about the breach. A concern was that if the breach of planning control continued, that in due course the breach of planning control would have become immune from enforcement action and that a Certificate of Lawfulness could be sought, in this case use as a Class C3 Dwellinghouse.

The Solution

Following our involvement the Council served a Breach of Condition Notice to prevent immunity from continuing to accrue.

Subsequently a planning application was submitted to the Council seeking to confirm the lawfulness of the use of the building as a C3 dwelling. We were instructed to object to this application and objected on various grounds including having regard to case law that the required immunity period which we considered to be 10 years had not accrued.

Evidence was additionally submitted as to how the building had been used as a holiday home within the previous 10 year period. The Council refused the application on the basis that a 4 year period had not been demonstrated, the Council considering 4 years to be the relevant period.

Subsequently a further planning application was submitted with additional evidence. An objection was submitted against this application based on similar grounds to the first objection. The application was refused by the Council for similar reasons as to the first application.

An appeal was submitted against the refusal of the Certificate of Lawfulness.


The Inspector agreed with our interpretation of the law and stated that, ‘To benefit from the 4 year rule there must be a change to use as single dwellinghouse. If the use of the building was as a single dwellinghouse in the first place the 10 year rule, and not the 4 year rule applies’.

The Inspector went on to reference our submissions and to conclude that the required 10 year period had not been demonstrated. He therefore dismissed the appeal.

Objection to Planning Application proposing change of use

A planning application was submitted to change the use of a dwellinghouse (Use Class C3) to a residential care home (Use Class C2) for up to three adults with learning difficulties. Our client, along with a number of other local residents, was concerned in a number of respects as to the impact of the proposed development.

The Solution

A detailed letter of objection was submitted to the Council and we subsequently spoke against the application at the Council’s Planning Committee. The Council’s Planning Committee resolved to approve the application and planning permission was subsequently granted.

An application for Judicial Review in the Courts was subsequently made. The application was assessed and the case accepted for Review.

The Result

Following acceptance of the case for Judicial Review, the Council advised they would not contest the matter and the planning application was withdrawn bringing the matter to a close.

Removal Section 52 Agreement restricting occupancy to Local Needs

Planning permission was granted in 1990 for the conversion of a barn into two dwellings.  Because of an Interim Housing Policy in force at the time the applicants as part of obtaining the planning permission were required to enter a Section 52 Agreement restricting occupancy to persons with a local need. The Interim Housing policy was subsequently found flawed and was withdrawn. It also became evident that at the time decision making in relation to barn conversions and the requirement to enter a Section 52 Agreement had been inconsistent.

In 1997 a request was made to remove the Section 52 Agreement but was refused.

The Solution

  • Objections were made to the emerging Housing Development Plan Document that the Plan should include a policy on circumstances where there had been an inconsistent application of local needs occupancy restrictions
  • A further request was made to remove the Section 52 Agreement.

The Result

Evidence was submitted in support of the request and at the third Committee meeting where the matter was considered, it was resolved to agree to the removal of the Section 52 Agreement and the Authority subsequently issued the following press release.

“Planning Committee Members at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) yesterday (Feb 13) agreed to lift a 23-year-old restriction on two homes in Hawkswick, near Kettlewell.

 A Section 52 restriction, agreed to by the owners in 1990, on Hawksnest and Holme Barn, limited occupation to people with a local housing need.

 But the current owners, Mick Hawkins, his wife Ginette and sister-in-law Michelle Pickles argued that the agreement was unfair because other barns in the village were converted into homes at the same time without the same restriction.

 They asked for the agreement to be removed and the majority of the Committee Members agreed.

 Speaking after yesterday’s vote, Committee Chairman Harold Brown said: “This was one of the most difficult applications we have had to deal with for many years. The officers’ recommendation was consistent with the Authority’s policy to support and protect housing for local people and that remains a cornerstone of our approach to housing policy.

 However, Members had to balance the absolute importance of retaining local housing in the National Park against the unique circumstances of this case.”

The required legal documentation was subsequently prepared and agreed removing the Agreement.

Private Traveler Site

A traveller owned a parcel of land which at the time was used for stables and a paddock.  He wished to establish a private encampment to compliment the stables on site. An application was made but was refused by the Council. After this decision he moved onto the site in breach of planning control.

The Solution

An appeal was made against the refusal of planning permission and this was considered at a Hearing.

The Result

Having heard the evidence the Inspector allowed the appeal granting planning permission subject to conditions. In addition the Inspector made a costs award against the Council as he found one of the Reasons for Refusal unreasonable.

Subsequently for the same client planning permission was granted following a second application and appeal for an extension to the site such that additional caravans could be accommodated upon it.

Section 215 Notice Served Requiring Alterations to Building

Planning permission had been granted allowing the conversion of a former Pit Head Baths which was Local Listed into a number of flats. The building was subsequently damaged in a fire and fell into a state of disrepair. The Council served a Section 215 Notice requiring either works to the building within a specified period or its demolition. The specified works did not reflect the grant of planning permission and the timescales were not achievable.  The alternative requirement to demolish was not attractive the site being in the Green Belt and in a Conservation Area.

The Solution

Appropriate grounds of appeal were prepared and subsequently an appeal was made to the Magistrates Court seeking amendment to the Section 215 Notice.

The Result

Following negotiations with the Council the original Section 215 Notice was withdrawn and a revised Notice issued. Amongst other things allowed works to take place in accordance with the planning permission such that the client could either make the building good, or progress further and build out the permitted scheme. Timescales for undertaking the works were additionally extended.

Unauthorised Garden Extension

Our client’s property backed on to farm land. They purchased an area from the farmer and placed a number of structures upon it including sheds, greenhouses and a number of planters. In addition they undertook some planting. The Council considered there had been a material change in the use of the land to use as domestic garden and served an Enforcement Use requiring the cessation of the use and the removal of the various structures which had been placed.

The Solution

An appeal was made against the Enforcement Notice on various grounds including that there had been no change of use or therefore breach of planning control. Further grounds of appeal included that without prejudice to the contention that there had not been a breach of planning control, that planning permission should be granted.

The Result

Following the Inspector’s site visit, a letter was received from the Planning Inspectorate advising that in view of case law that had been brought to the Inspector’s attention, he was minded to quash the Notice. This case law found that allotments came within the statutory definition of agriculture. The Council did not dispute the Inspector’s findings and withdrew the Notice before the Inspector quashed the Notice. Subsequently, following discussions with the Council, a retrospective planning application was made seeking planning permission allowing for the retention of the sheds, greenhouses and planters.  This application was approved shortly thereafter.

Personal Occupancy Condition

A temporary planning permission had been granted. This expired and subsequently a permanent but personal planning permission had been granted. The permission was  personal caused problems to the client for a range of reasons.

The Solution

An application was submitted to remove the condition which limited occupation to a named person on the basis that the condition was not reasonable or necessary.  The application was refused, an appeal was submitted and subsequently considered at a hearing.

The Result

The Inspector allowed the appeal finding there was no justification for the personal occupancy restriction having regard to the Development Plan and material considerations.  He awarded costs against the Council finding their decision unreasonable.

Contact one of our specialists to find out how we can help your planning needs

Robin Atkin

Partner | Built Environment

+44 (0) 330 137 3527

+44 (0)771 140 1075

Email Robin Atkin

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Kamran Hyder

Partner | Built Environment

+44 (0) 330 137 3532

+44 (0) 773 052 1967

Email Kamran Hyder

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Andrew Moss

Director (Chartered Town Planner) | Built Environment

+44 (0) 330 137 3507

+44 (0)789 987 8420

Email Andrew Moss

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