Law firm strengthens planning team amid a rise in cases


FBC Manby Bowdler is strengthening its planning team following a rise in enquiries from landowners and developers.

Mark Turner is qualifying into the Town and Country Planning department of the award-winning firm which is currently seeing an uplift in work following high profile planning case successes.

The appointment comes as the firm expects a surge in enquiries following a landmark judgment which could see dozens of planned housing developments in Shropshire axed or reviewed.

The ruling which followed a case will have far-reaching implications for many councils, but particularly for decision-making at Shropshire Council, according to Planning Solicitor-Advocate Niall Blackie.

Mr Blackie, Senior Partner and head of the team, said: “We'd like to congratulate Mark for achieving his qualification as a solicitor, which strengthens the expertise within the team which is currently seeing an uplift in case work.

“The recent Judicial Review, which focused on the Government's affordable housing policy, followed by our recent appeal success concerning a development in north Shropshire, has already resulted in an increase in enquiries.

Associate Suzanne Tucker successfully represented a landowner wanting to develop 17 homes in Norton in Hales, near Market Drayton, at a planning appeal against Shropshire Council last month and the team believe the case could open the door to a flood of appeals.

Mr Blackie added: “This was a very important case that will have an impact on planning decisions and appeals in Shropshire. The inspector found that the reason for refusing the development was ‘evidently vague’ and that it would deliver social and economic benefits for the village.

“Following this successful appeal, and the earlier landmark ruling, we are expecting more developers and landowners who have been refused permission to seek legal advice on their chances of winning an appeal. FBC Manby Bowdler has a very experienced planning team and the recent qualification of Mark Turner has further strengthened the service we can offer to our clients.”

Mr Blackie said that developers should always seek legal advice if they perceive a planning decision to be unfair.

“As the Norton in Hales case illustrated, you shouldn’t always take a planning authority’s decision as final. There can be direct conflict between national and local planning policy and this can give grounds to appeal a decision.

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