An irreverent look at some of the hot topics in planning. All commentary is given in good faith but does not constitute advice! For specific help on planning matters, please contact us.


The new Class E Use: Beware the dangers of swinging a scythe with blurred vision….

July 23rd, 2020

Sir Humphrey has been busy!  Dominic Cummings’ fingerprints are all over the latest change to the Use Classes Order (UCO) in England.  In one stroke, all uses previously considered “town centre” uses, so those within Use Classes A1, A2, A3 and B1 but also indoor sport, recreation and fitness, health facilities and creche facilities now […]
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Crossing the threshold

January 9th, 2019

It is well established in national planning policy, through both the original NPPF and now NPPF2 (at paragraph 89) that development plans must indicate a proportionate, locally-set threshold for assessment of the impact of new retail development and if it does not, then the national threshold of 2,500 sq m applies. The National Planning Practice […]
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I’d like to accord with the Development Plan – but what is it?

September 28th, 2018

Local authority planners, have oft been criticised for being out of touch with the communities they are supposed to be planning. This criticism is well founded in some regards. Take development plans. In the good old days, unless you were metropolitan enough to have an unitary borough, each area had a strategic (structure) plan and […]
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No need, no go.

July 12th, 2018

Has Welsh Government’s love of the anachronistic retail “need” test finally killed the retail development market in Wales? The struggling retail development and investment market in Wales has been dealt another blow this week in the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Waterstone Estates Limited v Welsh Ministers and Neath Port Talbot County Borough […]
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CIL – Time for a re-think?

January 11th, 2017

When CIL was launched in 2010 it was fanfared as the substitute for Section 106 agreements. Councils would be both incentivised by the possibility of great riches to fund infrastructure and limited in the way they could use Section 106 agreements for such matters. Developers in return would have a clear understanding of the size […]
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Development Management Changes #2 -Validation and amendments

April 12th, 2016

Following the recent changes to the Development Management system in Wales, there is now a requirement for LPA’s to notify applicants of any reasons why their application is considered invalid. The applicant can appeal against this non-validation of an application to Welsh Government (via PINS). The appeal must be submitted within 2 weeks of the […]
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Development management changes in Wales #1 – Time to make an exhibition of yourselves!

February 25th, 2016

On 16th March a range of significant changes to development management procedures come into force in Wales. These form one component of a wider raft of changes introduced by the Welsh Government in the Planning Wales Act (2015), all with the apparent overarching objective of encouraging growth in Wales, through delivery of a more effective […]
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Going our own way… but in what direction?

February 11th, 2016

An e-mail from a planner in England enquiring about the rules in Wales in respect of permitted development has brought to the fore just how different the planning system operating presently in Wales now is from that operating in England. While we all operate a 1APP system for application forms, the similarities seem to end […]
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Retail policy in Wales… moving forward to the 20th Century

November 26th, 2015

WG has recently held a consultation into proposed changes to Chapter 10 of Planning Policy Wales and Technical Advice Note 4, relating to retail development in Wales. In recent times the retail sector in Wales has all but stopped. The number of retail schemes in Wales that have been cancelled or abandoned provides evidence of […]
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So, what’s the use?

August 12th, 2013

We planners like things to be orderly. Forget shades of grey – the majority of planners (and particularly those in local authorities) seem to see things as black or white. To such people, then, the use classes order (UCO) is veritable manna from Heaven. With one stroke, just about any activity can be classified into […]
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