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.


Developing in Wales – Is Welsh Government making it Mission Impossible?

March 19th, 2024

It does seem at times that Welsh Government is on a mission to use the planning system to make repurposing of existing commercial space in Wales more difficult. We only need to look at a few recent changes to give credence to this view. Biodiversity Net Benefit was embraced by Welsh Government some years ago […]
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Biodiversity Net Benefit – Has Wales jumped the shark?

January 4th, 2024

While the new requirement to demonstrate a net gain in biodiversity continues to make the planning headlines in England, the concept of securing biodiversity benefits through the planning system been part of the planning framework in Wales for quite some time. Section 6 of the Environment (Wales) Act as long ago as 2016 set out […]
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Thanks to Class E, do we now need Plan B?

March 31st, 2022

The September 2020 changes to the Use Classes Order (“UCO”) as it applies to England took a scythe through the relatively settled system of managing uses.  It created a stripped-back system that, on its face at least, was intended to reduce the bureaucracy of changing the use of property or buildings, especially those in commercial […]
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Finding policy documents; its a game of hide and seek!

November 1st, 2021

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? I had always thought this an esoteric concept, until I spent many hours trying to discover information about an area designated as a Conservation Area last week and undertaking a similar exercise this week trying […]
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The rise of the shed

March 15th, 2021

Everyone loves a garden shed. A plain, low cost multi-purpose space that that can meet pretty much whatever needs you throw at it. Storage? Bring it on. A workshop? Of course. A refuge from screaming kids during lockdown, equipped with a bar and pinball machine? Quite possibly. Thanks to the unlikely triumvirate of Brexit, Covid […]
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The Welsh planning system – Playing the fiddle while the Welsh economy burns?

February 23rd, 2021

It has been apparent for some time that while the Government in England has been attempting to support the development industry and encourage new housing by making the planning system less onerous, the Welsh Government has taken an entirely different approach in the arena of planning. Adopting the strategy of Nero, they appear to have […]
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Conspiracy theories

December 17th, 2020

At a time when conspiracy theories abound, let me start another one: Local planning authorities are actively hiding their development plans and guidance documents in the deepest recesses of their websites to induce madness amongst the development sector. It’s true. Everyone is saying it. Well I am, anyway, after my week so far. On Monday […]
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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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