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Planning, Zoning & Consents

We are the No.1 largest planning and environment team in the UK and the most experienced planning legal experts with a global reach. Our practice of 50 specialist lawyers leads in the delivery of major development and infrastructure planning permissions.

'Pinsent Masons delivers exceptional market knowledge and innovative legal solutions. Their connections help deliver planning permissions in London and across the UK faster'

Our success is due to a refreshingly focused approach to the development and infrastructure markets. We are leaders in London, and operate nationally in the UK and internationally.

We are market leaders in Development Consent Orders (DCOs) for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPS). 

Read our latest DCO updates

We have a track record in helping to connect and support international and UK developers and investors.

We have cutting-edge knowledge of planning law, best practice and the market. We help develop law and policy with Government. We are closely involved in Government reviews and industry bodies, and are well networked with both politicians and their advisors. We can lead strategy from the front. 

We treat confidentiality very seriously, whilst helping you deliver.

For promoters, we help deliver planning permissions faster. We have successfully advised on the largest strategic development projects in London and the UK. In the UK, our national network of offices, combined with our London HQ, enables us to provide local knowledge on a national scale, close to the market. Internationally, we have advised on development and infrastructure projects in the Far East, Middle East and in continental Europe.

For planning decision-makers, we help defend planning decisions and promote development plan policies and zoning robustly. We are leaders in advising local authorities and other public bodies in promoting regeneration and infrastructure schemes. We are closely involved in the 'bigger picture' for the  local government reform agenda in the UK, including the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), Tax Increment Finance, Enterprise Zones, ESCOs and MUSCOs, Community Land Trusts and Community Interest Companies, and the localism and growth agendas.

Key market sector areas

Real Estate:

Housing/Residential – advising on major housing/residential schemes in London and across the UK e.g. six of the top ten London housing projects exhibiting at MIPIM, Northstowe new town near Cambridge, Sherford new town in Devon.

Mixed-Use – advising on major mixed-use schemes e.g. the London 2012 Olympic Park, Earls Court redevelopment in London.

Industrial/Logistics – advising on major industrial and logistics schemes e.g. freight logistics facilities in Somerset.

Offices & Business Parks – advising on major office and business park schemes, including corporate HQs e.g. Omega business park, Earls Court offices, IM Properties business park.  

Urban Regeneration – advising on major brownfield redevelopments e.g. Welwyn Hatfield town centre, Meden Valley regeneration scheme in Nottinghamshire, Nuneaton and Bedworth regeneration scheme.

Estate Asset Enhancement – advising major estates on obtaining planning permissions and listed building consents to improve asset value e.g. Portman and Grosvenor Estates. 

Sports Stadia & Events Venues – advising on major sports stadia and events venues e.g. advising on all London 2012 Olympic Park sports venues, Wembley Stadium, Olympia events and conference venue.

Retirement Villages & Care Homes – advising major retirement village and care home providers in relation to development projects

Energy:

Nuclear Industry – leading advisers on new nuclear build and decommissioning for operators, the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and local government.

Renewables – advising promoters of on-shore and off-shore windfarms, tidal and marine schemes, solar farms, and on UK Renewable Obligations Certificates (ROCs), Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

Conventional Power & Carbon Capture and Storage – advising on the promotion of gas and coal fired power stations and carbon capture and storage facilities.

Oil & Gas – advising on gas storage projects, new pipelines, oil and gas interface with off-shore windfarms, shipping and navigation and radar interference.

Retail & Leisure:

Retail – advising food and non-food retailers on new store and extension programmes (including mezzanines), development plan allocations, the UK National Planning Policy Framework, and new shopping centres.

Hotels & Tourism – advising several hotel operators on new hotel developments, including listed building conversions.

Leisure – advising on new and extended casinos, leisure/health and fitness clubs, pubs and restaurants, and sports stadia projects.

Manufacturing and Services:

Electronic Communications – advising telecommunications operators and data centre promoters in relation to obtaining permission and lawful development certificates for new broadcasting, telecommunications and data centre sites.

Waste, Minerals & Quarries – advising waste, minerals and quarry operators and local authority waste and minerals teams in relation to waste.

Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals and Hi-Tech – advising chemical, pharmaceutical and hi-tech companies in relation to new manufacturing plant extensions and office HQs.

Automotive & Engineering – advising automotive and engineering companies on new, or extensions to, manufacturing facilities, office HQs and technology parks.

Government/Public Sector:

Compulsory Purchase and Compensation – advising on compulsory purchase order promotion for acquiring authorities, ranging from local authorities to Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project promoters as part of Development Consent Orders in the UK. We also advise on compensation claims, objections and the operation of the Crichel Down Rules.

Local Authorities – advising local authorities across the UK on major development and infrastructure projects, development plan promotion (including advocacy and evidence base for hearings), Community Infrastructure Levy, section 106 planning obligation agreements, section 278 highways agreements and involvement in Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects including Local Impact Reports and advocacy at hearings. We advise on the relationship of major development and infrastructure with ESCOs and MUSCOs, Community Land Trusts and Community Interest Companies.  

Government Disposals & Acquisitions – advising on Government disposals and acquisitions of major land and asset deals, including Central Government and Homes and Communities Agency programmes. 

Healthcare – advising NHS Trusts and private hospital providers on new hospital projects across the UK.

Universities – advising Universities on new campus development, including accommodation and masterplan proposals across the UK.

Schools – advising on new schools programmes across the UK.

Emergency Services – advising emergency services in relation to major development and infrastructure projects, including funding for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects. 

Transport:

Roads & 'Park and Rides' – advising on major new road projects, including widening and bus lane provision, as well as park and ride provision nationwide.

Rail & Trams – advising on major new rail schemes, stations and tram projects, including Transport and Works Act and Parliamentary Bill promotion and objection.

Airports – advising on major new UK and international runway extensions, terminal building expansions, masterplan policy allocations, increase in retail and leisure floorspace, transport and noise mitigation schemes, including Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project promotion and objection.  

Ports – advising on major new port and harbour proposals in the UK and internationally. 

Innovation and Service Delivery Excellence 

We have an exceptional focus on market knowledge and political connections to ensure a successful outcome.

"Pinsent Masons has cutting edge legal experience, their lawyers are exceptionally well connected and they have a tremendous determination to get the job done."

We have won Innovation Awards and we strive for service delivery excellence and cost efficiency.

Our work is underpinned by a legal services support team who have helped us focus on streamlining processes to ensure cost efficient and speedy service delivery. We utilise cutting edge project and financial management tools for all matters, employing our bespoke "Smartplan" software. This, coupled with our investment in knowledge management technology, ensures that we access knowledge and experience across the team at the press of a button and deliver advice to you as cost effectively and speedily as possible. This helps us to achieve cost and quality certainty.

In the UK, our regional offices work alongside our London practice to form a nationwide team. This enables local market knowledge and reduces your costs by providing legal experts with local knowledge on your doorstep.

Outside of the UK, we work closely with our network of international offices and partner law firms.

Please contact us to discuss how we can help you.

Our expertise includes:

  • Comprehensive strategic advice on policy allocations and zoning, viability, and bringing development sites forward. This includes urban renewal, urban extensions, new settlements and greenfield sites.
  • Advice and strategy on major infrastructure and energy projects, including specialising in Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs).
  • Promotion of major commercial and residential development schemes.
  • Compulsory purchase and compensation advice, including certificates of appropriate alternative development and application of the Crichel Down Rules.
  • Legal robustness health checking of planning applications (including Environmental Impact Assessment) and committee reports to guard against legal challenge.
  • Legal robustness health checking of planning policy (including Strategic Environmental Assessments).
  • Negotiating and drafting planning agreements and associated infrastructure agreements.
  • Appealing or challenging decisions, or defending appeals and challenges, in the Courts.
  • Heritage issues including listed buildings and conservation areas advice.
  • Highway, rights of way, town and village green issues.
  • Climate change issues – Code for Sustainable Homes, BREEAM, flood risk management and mitigation, and drainage.
  • Taking or defending enforcement action. 
  • Lawful development certificates.
  • Advice relating to advertisement consents.
  • Environmental and contaminated land advice.
  • Advocacy at public inquiries and hearings.