Our Planning Team is at the leading edge of developments in planning law to ensure pragmatism and efficiency of advice. The team includes several former local authority in-house lawyers, which means they are well placed to advise all sides of a planning issue in order to achieve objectives.

We work with developers and local planning authorities on a range of issues, along with third parties wishing to comment or object on development proposals including issues relating to compulsory purchase and compensation.


  • Negotiation of planning applications and enforcement
  • Environmental impact assessment
  • Planning obligations/section 106 agreements
  • Compulsory purchase
  • Advising on the Community Infrastructure Levy
  • Lawful use certificates
  • Social housing
  • Planning appeals and public inquiries
  • Local development framework representations
  • Judicial reviews and high court challenges
  • Highways law
  • Listed buildings and conservation law
  • Commons, town and village greens

Recent work

  • Advising the local planning authority in connection with the redevelopment of the Empress State Building in Earls Court, including a section 106 agreement providing off site affordable housing, financial contributions and linking the proposal with the wider Earls Court redevelopment.
  • Undertaking section 288 challenges for developer clients on sites in St Austell, Swindon and Wincanton in respect of both Inspector and Secretary of State decisions and advising a developer in Devon in respect of such a challenge brought by an environmental group.
  • Negotiating, on behalf of a housebuilder client, a section 106 Agreement for 500 home site in Somerset with both District and County Councils including affordable housing and various infrastructure contributions.
  • Advising a social housing company on their acquisition of new affordable housing units on a  multi-developer site at Emerson's Green, Bristol.  The site comprises a 99 hectare urban extension comprising employment, schools, housing, community facilities, transportation infrastructure, and open space. The matter included a the provision of a s106 Agreement that provides for provision of the amenities plus £33million of contributions.   

Planning Enforcement Fund - Ashfords offer a joint fixed fee service for Local Planning Authorities

Ashfords in conjunction with 39 Essex Chambers are offering a joint fixed fee service which enables Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) to take advantage of a new £1m Government fund for securing injunctions in planning enforcement matters.

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Support for the Garden bridge

A new charity, the Garden Bridge Trust, has applied for planning permission for a pedestrian footbridge across the River Thames linking Temple London Underground Station directly with an area of land on the southern embankment in front of ITV Studios.

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10-unit threshold introduced for Section 106 affordable housing + tariff style contributions

On 28th November 2014 the Department for Communities and Local Government ("DCLG") published revised planning guidance introducing a new 10-unit threshold for Section 106 affordable housing and tariff-style contributions aimed at reducing planning costs for small scale and self-build development.

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Adopted Public Highway - Payment of Commuted Sums

Section 38 of the Highways Act 1980 is the usual means by which highway authorities agree with a developer to adopt a road; that is the point at which the road becomes maintainable at the public expense. The traditional understanding had been that the highway authority agrees that provided the road is constructed to a pre-agreed standard by the developer, it will accept the adoption, with the highway authority then becoming responsible for its future maintenance.

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SuDs Consultation: implementation through changes to the planning regime?

As part of the Government’s initiative to implement sustainable drainage systems ("SuDs") the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs ("Defra") and the Department for Communities and Local Government ("DCLG") have launched a joint consultation setting out a possible approach for implementing SuDs, and mechanisms for ensuring their long term maintenance, through changes to the current planning regime.

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Meet the team