As for many industries, it has been a busy 18 months for our planning, highways and environment law team.
Planning law moves quickly to keep pace with both political changes and changes to the way we live and work. Brexit has implications for the previously European environmental laws, and Covid-19 has changed the retail High Street, use of workspaces, the way we use infrastructure due to reduced commuting, and the way we use our own homes – to name but a few!
Our team gets involved in lots of different projects. In Worcester we are currently working on new housing developments which will deliver £20m of highway improvements, a country park, a new primary school, and will fund improvements to GP surgeries throughout Worcester.
We have recently helped a retiring couple obtain planning permission for their Grand Design in North Worcestershire – a future-proofed home in a beautiful setting to enjoy their retirement; the party rooms incorporated into the design mean they don’t plan on slowing down too much once lockdown eases!
Further afield we are currently working on an enabling development scheme to fund the restoration of the historic Grade II* Listed windmill featured in the Jonathan Creek TV series.
We also work on schemes to safeguard and encourage wildlife, including advising the RSPB in relation to securing new habitats for birds across the country. We have recently secured new allotments, meadows, and community orchards through the planning process, as well as a number of renewable energy schemes.
We advise a lot of businesses, including those who are diversifying as a result of the changes that Covid-19 has brought upon us, or agricultural businesses who have found members of the public straying from the routes of public rights of way during lockdowns.
We are also advising many companies and individuals affected by compulsory purchase for new road and railway infrastructure schemes, including HS2.
In addition to working on projects for new development, we are also involved in enforcement matters and in the contentious side of planning, for example where councils or the Planning Inspectorate act unlawfully when granting or refusing planning permission.
We are the only dedicated planning law specialists based in Worcester, and the largest team in the Three Counties, as well having a larger team nationally.