We provide specialist advice and consultancy in the following areas:
  • Planning Applications; preparation and submission, negotiation with local planning authorities.
  • Advice on listed building and conservation area issues.
  • Preparation of initial planning audits and development strategies.
  • Appeals by written representations, informal hearings and public inquiries, including appearing as an expert witness.
  • Advice on enforcement matters, as well as in relation to Lawful Development Certificates.
  • Advice on the content and assistance with negotiation on Section 106 Agreements.
  • Land Promotion; all aspects from initial site appraisals and briefs to the setting out of a clear strategy.
  • Representations to Development Plan Documents/Local Plans: providing advice to developers and landowners on the appropriate strategy for the promotion of individual sites or seeking to change restrictive policies.
  • Assistance with co-ordinating project teams throughout the stages of the planning determination process, including the appointment of teams of specialist technical consultants and direct instruction of barristers to present cases at Public Inquiries.
Michael Fearn
Services provided by

Michael Fearn


Advice to property owners and investors

Planning advice can be an effective asset management instrument. The value of property assets can be safeguarded or even increased if an asset is managed proactively. Changes of use, extensions or redevelopment can all increase value, but will invariably involve some need for planning input.

Those holding property as a long-term investment should always engage in the development plan process. On some occasions, this may involve only a ‘watching brief’ and reviewing the content of emerging plan documents in order to assess what impact they might have upon any future development or investment prospects for the property asset.

Advice to developers

We also regularly undertake initial site appraisals for some clients so that they have a better concept of what types of issue are going to be relevant in any subsequent planning application.

A particular specialism is the advice we provide to the community sector which includes uses such as schools, places of worship and charities. The land use implications of such uses can be significant and often, particularly where the proposal involves an extension of an existing activity, may need justification in relation to Government policy on sustainability. For instance, for historical reasons the siting of a school may not accord with locational policy which seeks to guide major generators of traffic to locations served by public transport.

Other land use issues regularly encountered by this sector include conflict with residential amenity due to activity at weekends or holidays, parking, noise and arguments about Local Planning Authority land use policy relating to protecting employment land.

Advice involving heritage assets

As the number and extent of conservation areas increases and buildings are regularly added to the list of structures considered to be of special architectural or historic interest, the chances are that issues relating to heritage assets are likely to be involved in an increasing number of planning cases. Although the dimension of historic interest can enhance value it does mean that a case becomes more complex.

The Local Planning Authority will require additional information about any proposal before registering the application and is likely to scrutinise the design more closely.

Advice on lawful development & enforcement

The Planning System has become increasingly complex, with regular changes to National & Local Government policy and the legal background and ever greater demands for information in relation to the making of applications. However, because of this complexity, sometimes works are carried out, or a use commences, which should have had permission, but inadvertently the client has not obtained the necessary authorisation.

On other occasions, perhaps for the purposes of securing mortgage finance, when there is no record of planning permission having been granted, certainty is required and it is prudent to obtain a lawful development certificate.