Planning, Highways and Environment

Our experts have years of experience in representing all parties in the development process. The team work on every aspect of planning and highways law, from tackling issues with development to negotiating agreements for works to be carried out. Our team has been recognised by Chambers and Partners, and the Legal 500 for its expertise.

Skyscraper building by the water

Key contact

Rosalind Andrews

From developers and landowners to local authorities, banks and community groups, I work closely with all types of clients to help obtain planning permission, advise on legal agreements or planning designations, or tackle applications that may affect their property.

Meet the team

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Expertise in planning, highways and environment

We advise on every aspect of planning and highways law, from negotiating planning or highways works agreements and guidance over the threat of compulsory purchase to providing help tackling legal issues that may be preventing development. Where necessary, we’ll also challenge unlawful planning decisions in court or assist you to defend against enforcement action.

We’ll work with you to get a full idea of your end goals from the start. That way, we’ll spot any issues that could affect future development of your land and deal with them quickly and efficiently.

Our expertise also covers biodiversity net gain – creating and improving natural habitats – and harnessing naturally-occurring phosphate in order to assist in plant growth.

Helping with planning, highways and environment

Our specialist team works with commercial and residential developers, landowners, investors, social housing bodies, banks and other lenders, charities, private clients, local residents’ groups, local planning authorities and other public sector organisations on a range of development schemes.

  • Planning strategy advice, including legal support with planning applications and appeals, interpreting permitted development rights and Community Infrastructure Levy liability
  • Interpretation of planning permissions and conditions, and advice on safeguarding planning consents
  • Drafting and negotiating section 106 agreements and unilateral undertakings
  • Bringing and defending legal claims including judicial reviews and statutory challenges
  • Planning enforcement issues and Certificates of Lawfulness
  • Promoting or objecting to Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs), Development Consent Orders and Transport and Works Act Orders
  • Advising on CPO compensation rights and maximising compensation including applications for certificates of appropriate alternative development, blight notices and references to the Upper Tribunal
  • Advice on heritage issues, including in relation to listed buildings, conservation areas, and scheduled ancient monuments.

  • Advising on highways issues including creation, diversion, extinguishment and enforcement
  • Advising on existing or claimed town and village greens, commons, and assets of community value
  • Strategic advice on preventing the creation of public access rights
  • Drafting and negotiating highways and public infrastructure agreements and licences.

Working with our Insurance, Risk and Regulatory team we provide:

  • Advice on statutory nuisance issues, including appealing abatement notices
  • Advice relating to nature conservation, including ecological designations, the habitats directive, tree protection and environmental impact assessments
  • Advising on issues of water pollution, land drainage, environmental permitting and contaminated land, including alleged breaches
  • Advising on the waste regulations, including acting for operators in relation to alleged waste offences
  • Acting for clients in bringing and defending legal claims, including interviews under caution.

We also work with a range of developers, landowners, banks and local groups on a range of development schemes.

Recognition of our work

Investors in People

Investors in People

Recommended for Quality

Recommended for Quality

Legal updates and thought leadership

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Hear what our clients say about us

‘The planning team at HCR were exceptional on a recent complicated matter where time was of the essence. The lead partner was Rosalind Andrews. Even when she was away she followed matters up and ensured that the job was not delayed by her absence. She properly briefed her supporting Associates and Partners at all times and their work was also outstanding. Ros is a Lead Partner who does not shy away from understanding the detail’

‘Very personal service, lateral thinking, time spent diligently’

‘Hewitsons are the most efficient and trustworthy company I’ve come across Their knowledge, professional attitude and eager to help makes them one of the top companies around In my opinion no other company comes close to the positive approach and professionalism this company holds.’

‘Throughout my dealings with HCR Hewitsons I feel as though I have a personal relationship with each of the practitioners who then work seamlessly together to offer me a comprehensive service which my company demands.’

‘HCR Hewitsons is a true team they provide the most suitable person to undertake the work at hand while retaining the personal touch. We always have a direct point of contact Who would in the traditional sense be called our personal solicitor. When required we are able to call on the vast wealth of knowledge and experience from a firm like HCR Hewitson’s staff who join in with the core team’s support structure.’

‘Outputs are always delivered on time to meet our needs, with staff going over and beyond at times to help achieve a given goal. As a team we have nothing bad to say about them, everyone is polite and caring while still willing to advise us if the path we want to take is not the norm. As a team, they work so well together so no matter which solicitor we are dealing with at any given moment from whichever office they work out of we feel as a client secure that our best interests are being met.’

Legal 500 2024 – Planning, Highways and Environment

When a couple were looking to sell their property, they found that historic s106 obligations – which can restrict the development or use of the land – limited its occupation. By having these obligations removed, the value of the property would be increased. At this point, they turned to Laura Greenman, Partner in the Planning, Highways and Environment team for help.

Laura worked closely with her clients’ planning consultants to prepare the necessary submissions to successfully seek the removal of the s106 tie.

While this was initially met with some resistance, Laura engaged with the council and was able to convince them that the tie was no longer necessary and could be set aside.

Following the council’s decision to remove the s106 obligations, Laura’s clients’ provided this testimonial:

“We just wanted to thank you for your excellent professional services in obtaining this result; without you we would not have achieved this positive outcome and we are very grateful. We will make sure we recommend you to everyone.”

Restrictive obligations removed thanks to Planning, Highways and Environment Partner’s expertise

Planning, Highways and Environment Senior Associate Brendon Lee was recently praised for his work negotiating a resolution with a local planning authority. Brendon’s client, a developer, contacted him after it was subject to enforcement action for allegedly cutting down some trees in contravention of a tree preservation  order (TPO). These orders protect individual and groups of trees for public amenity.

The enforcement action included prosecution by the local planning authority. However, Brendon’s expertise, knowledge of planning, and negotiating skills led to the withdrawal of the prosecution.

Following this successful outcome, the developer said:

“We enjoyed working with Brendon and with his extensive knowledge he was able to achieve a positive outcome for us. He’s always very contactable and an efficient communicator. We would be happy to use his services again.”

Brendon is looking forward to working on similar cases in the future.

Prosecution avoided thanks to “extensive knowledge” of Senior Associate

Buying land only to find that it was considered to be highway by the local council was a real blow for Brendon Lee’s clients Ollie and Francesca, but Brendon was able to retrieve the situation for them and secure them a reduction on the purchase price too.

He was able to have the highway rights over the land removed, which enabled the couple to use the land freely and to fence it off if they chose.

Ollie said: “I would like to say a huge thank you for dealing with this issue for us. The reality on our side is that we were pretty stressed and worried about the situation when it first arrived. With your assistance you’ve taken away all that stress and made this a simple process.”

Planning expertise rescued clients’ land purchase

A regular client of Jane Mayglothling was purchasing a listed property. During the conveyancing process, Jane spotted several title defects that could have led to her client being liable for costs or disputes once they had taken ownership.

Jane ensured the client was protected with a series of policies, while the Planning, Highways & Environment team contributed concise and helpful advice to add to the protection in risk areas. The client commented: “Good to work with you and the team at HCR again. They have been invaluable over the years; thank you very much.”

Protecting the purchaser of a listed property

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