Planning

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We are one of the largest planning teams in the UK with over 30 specialist lawyers. We are motivated by a passion to help to create exceptional places and environments and deliver essential infrastructure to meet the UK's demographic and development needs.

Planning shapes every aspect of our lives. The buildings and environments in which we live, work, shop, play and educate the next generation have all been created through commercial enterprise, consultation and the exercise of political power by our elected representatives through the planning system.

Alongside our expertise in real estate we are also leading specialists in energy & infrastructure consenting.

Working for many years across a full range of development and infrastructure sectors gives us deep industry experience and perspective so that we can deliver clear and practical advice on fast-moving projects. We have assisted our clients with obtaining planning permissions and other consents for some of the UK’s largest and most complex schemes.

Our expertise spreads across urban regeneration, housing, retail, data centres, industrial and logistics, hotels and leisure, surplus land and energy and infrastructure. Our aim for every development is to ensure that our client obtains implementable, flexible, bankable and fit-for-purpose consents in accordance with their programme.

In the last three years alone, we have helped our clients to secure planning permissions for:

  • Over 24,000 new homes
  • Over 8m sq. ft. of retail
  • Over 6m sq. ft. of offices
  • Over 4m sq. ft. of industrial
  • 10GW / 1,100 Kms of generation / networks

"It is a large, strong team that works well together on projects, ensuring that work is dealt with carefully and efficiently."

Chambers, 2024

"CMS have very clear and detailed knowledge of planning arguments, legislation and application."

Chambers, 2024

"The team are very pragmatic, with the ability to take an overarching view across a wider project."

Chambers, 2024

"A technically excellent and professional team."

Legal 500

“Clear expertise in their field with a good support network. Their strongest point is that they give very clear advice and do treat the matter personally rather than simply as a remote consultant.”

Chambers, 2017

“They made something very complicated and rushed feel easy. They made it as easy as it possibly could be. As a client, I felt it was a great position to be in."

Chambers, 2016 [Client Quote]
10/11/2023
Driving sustainability in real estate and construction
Contributing to the fight against climate change and creating social value are now priorities for the real estate and construction sectors.   The long-term nature of the built environment means that resilience and sustainability should be considered at every stage if buildings are to be environmentally and socially responsible. This brings both opportunities and challenges for the businesses that create, own or maintain it. They must consider the evolving technical, regulatory and market landscape, to ensure that their investments are future-proofed commercially, as well as environmentally and socially. This section of Bandwidth looks at some of the ESG issues that confront developers and property owners, and how they can incorporate practical solutions into their businesses.
13/12/2023
MEES - are the regulations working?
MEES is a flagship policy to help the UK meet its net zero targets. MEES returns over 50million hits on Google, so it is undoubtedly a widely discussed piece of legislation that should play a major role in reducing the carbon footprint of the non-domestic property stock in the UK. But is there sufficient bite to these regulations? 
Law-Now: Real Estate & Construction Planning
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07/11/2024
Key real estate issues to consider with data centres
The aim of this session is to provide an overview of datacentres and how they operate in a real estate context, but also to go more in depth into a couple of sticky points, such as the meaning of reliability in the datacentre context and to then provide individuals with ample opportunity to ask any questions they may have.
15/10/2024
Impact of changes to registration of overseas entities and other Companies...
This programme of webinars provides a short and incisive review of some key topics relating to real estate, planning and construction in the United Kingdom.  
04/09/2024
What’s new with the Electronic Communications Code?
This programme of webinars provides a short and incisive review of some key topics relating to real estate, planning and construction in the United Kingdom.  
16/05/2024
High Street Rental Auctions: the Government’s response
Summary The Government has published its response following its consultation on the design of its High Street Rental Auction policy. This policy is designed to help local authorities combat the detrimental...
16/05/2024
Biodiversity Net Gain
Mandatory biodiversity net gain has now come into force for developments in England. This webinar will go through the many steps now required of developers and local planning authorities, how landowners can capitalise on the new regime, and key aspects of the regulations that all stakeholders in the development process need to be fully aware of.
14/05/2024
Update on Business rates
Summary  This Law-Now1 summarises some recent developments in relation to business rates following the Spring Budget 2024 and the Government’s summary of responses to the Business Rates Avoidance and...
24/04/2024
The Building Safety Act 2022 and Student Accommodation
This programme of webinars provides a short and incisive review of some key topics relating to real estate, planning and construction in the United Kingdom.  
15/04/2024
Marks and Spencer secures quashing of Secretary of State’s decision to...
The recent judgment of the High Court in Marks & Spencer Plc v Secretary of State for Levelling Up Housing and Communities [2024] EWHC 452 (Admin) has received a lot of attention given its implications...
08/04/2024
Interplay of contractual and statutory break notices under the Electronic...
Summary Actual service of a contractual break notice is not required for termination of agreements under the Electronic Communications Code.The CaseIn ON Tower UK Limited v British Tele­com­mu­nic­a­tions...
23/02/2024
Scottish wildcat group’s challenge to windfarm permission unsuccessful
Wildcat Haven, a community interest company, sought to challenge the decision of the Scottish Ministers to grant permission for construction of a new wind farm at Clashindarroch Forest in Aberdeenshire...
21/02/2024
Introduction to Planning Law (Episodes 1-3)
In this series of Planning Ahead, we address Heritage & Conservation within the Planning System. Over three episodes, Nicola Insley introduces the key concepts planning law, discusses conditions vs s106 obligations and provides an overview of what you might expect from planning decisions, appeals and call-ins.
21/02/2024
Renewable energy consenting series
In this series of Planning Ahead, we discuss the process of consenting for Renewable Energy Developments. Over the course of three episodes, Nicola Insley, and later on Robert Garden, provide an overview of the different Consenting Regimes in the UK, with a particular focus on NSIPs and DCOs as well as key points to keep in mind to avoid application challenges and refusal.