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Led by the ‘exceptionally approachableNeil Collar, Brodies LLP’s team deals with matters ranging from early strategic advice on projects, through to planning inquiry advocacy and Court of Session appeals. A particular area of strength is in drafting s75 planning obligations. Clients include City of Edinburgh Council, Airvolution and Tulloch Homes. Karen Hamilton is recommended. Kevin Graham joined from City of Edinburgh Council, where he was an in-house planning solicitor, while Robert Seaton departed to become a Scottish Government appeal reporter.

Burness Paull has a particularly strong offering in the housebuilding sector; in 2015, Craig Whelton represented Mactaggart & Mickel in its successful planning appeal for 650 houses plus a new primary school in south east Edinburgh. Elaine Farquharson-Black’s team also handles planning issues for energy sector clients such as 2020 Renewables and Total E&P, and advises promoters and objectors on compulsory purchases. It also undertakes planning-related court litigation. Margaret Bochel joined the firm from Aberdeen City Council in 2015.

CMSAnn Faulds is handling planning and compulsory purchase procedures in connection with the redevelopment of the Buchanan Galleries shopping centre. Trudi Craggs specialises in the planning aspects of large-scale public infrastructure projects and commercial developments. Robin Hutchison, an expert in energy infrastructure planning and consenting, joined from Pinsent Masons LLP in 2015.

Shepherd and Wedderburn undertakes a significant amount of work in the residential development arena; Ewan MacLeod is advising EWP Investments on its 1,000-house development at Armadale, West Lothian. The firm’s energy and retail sector capabilities see it act for clients such as ScottishPower, RWE and Sainsbury’s. Scott McCallum and Fraser Mitchell are recommended.

Anderson Strathern’s practice advises on the planning aspects of projects in the retail, energy, infrastructure and housing sectors, among others. Clients include INEOS, Dandara Group and South Ayrshire Council. Alastair McKie is assisting Buccleuch Estates and Hermitage Action Group with opposing a planning application for a wind farm development in the Scottish Borders.

DLA Piper Scotland LLP’s team fields three Law Society accredited specialists in planning, including Sandy Telfer. Telfer draws planning work from the housing and retail sectors, and also has particular expertise in onshore unconventional gas. Michael Greig is advising Dawnfresh Farming on the planning status of its fish farms. Consultant John Watchman is another key individual.

Martin Sales, who joined from DWF in 2015, leads MacRoberts LLP’s team. It handles a wide range of matters, such as compulsory purchase orders (for acquiring authorities and objectors), planning advice on wind energy projects, and retail planning applications and appeals. Sales acted for Partnerships for Renewables in its application for consent to develop an s36 wind farm in Cloich Forest, Peeblesshire.

Morton Fraser’s strong following of public sector clients includes Transport Scotland, for which it undertakes public inquiry work. Douglas Milne represented Historic Environment Scotland at a planning appeal challenging Inverclyde Council’s refusal to grant permission for the development of Inverclyde Wind Farm. The firm also has a significant private sector client base, handling mandates from Tesco, Intu Properties and Stewart Milne Group, among others. Kenneth Carruthers is recommended.

Pinsent Masons LLP handles a broad cross-section of planning mandates in areas such as retail, energy and infrastructure, and commercial and residential real estate development. Gary McGovern, who made partner in 2015, is advising Duddingston House Properties/Calton Hill Hotel on the planning aspects of the proposed redevelopment of the former Royal High School, Edinburgh. Jennifer Ballantyne, Gordon McCreath and Rodney Whyte are other key names.

Moray Thomson, who joined DWF from MacRoberts LLP in 2015, heads the firm’s planning practice, which undertakes a significant amount of work related to energy and energy infrastructure. Thomson advised ScottishPower Renewables (UK) on the extension to a wind farm at Hare Hill. Martin Sales moved to MacRoberts LLP.

Davidson Chalmers LLP’s June Gilles, who has ‘an excellent, unflappable manner’, advises on issues across a wide range of development projects, with particular strengths in energy and food retail developments. Caroline Court is another key name in the team, and advises clients such as Urban Wind, Chris Stewart Group and Story Homes.

Gillespie Macandrew LLP’s main contact is Murray Shaw, who has more than 25 years’ experience in planning law, and is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a specialist in the area. Although the practice attracts work across a wide range of areas, it has a particular emphasis on energy and housebuilding.

HBJ Gateley’s planning expertise spans energy, retail, housing and other areas. Practice head Craig Adamson ‘takes the lead on negotiating complex s75 issues with planning authorities’, and Paul Minto is another name to note. Clients of the practice include BT, Murray Estates and Berwickshire Housing Association.

In addition to acting for Scottish planning authorities and regulators, Harper Macleod LLP advises developers active in renewable energy projects, as well as residential, commercial and retail developments. Peter Ferguson acted for Cairngorm National Parks Authority and Highland Council at a public inquiry concerning a proposed 31-turbine wind farm.

Ledingham Chalmers LLP’s David Scott acts for clients such as residential and commercial developers, planning authorities, landowners and objectors. Scott’s wide-ranging expertise includes planning agreements, development plans, compulsory purchase matters and appeals. Kirkwood Homes, John Gordon & Son and Carlton Rock are among the firm’s clients.

Work for commercial developers and housebuilders is a mainstay of the practice at Maclay Murray & Spens LLP. ‘Extremely knowledgeable’ Gillian Simpson has expertise in compulsory purchase matters, appeals, judicial reviews and negotiating complex planning agreements. Simpson successfully concluded an s75 planning agreement for Robertson Homes in connection with its proposed development of a former hospital site in Bothwell.

In 2015, Fraser Gillies’ team at Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP advised 2020 Renewables on various matters, including its planning appeal associated with the proposed Inverclyde Wind Farm. The firm also acted for other renewable energy sector clients, such as RWE Innogy UK, RES and Partnership for Renewables. Andrew Wilson and senior associate Melanie Kane are also recommended.

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Legal Developments in Scotland for Planning

  • Parking rights: here to stay? Consent might be the surprising answer 

    In the field of the acquisition of easements by prescription, little has caused more consternation over the last decade or so than the question of whether a right to park cars can be acquired by twenty years user as of right. The types of property capable of being adversely affected range from individual residential units all the way up to major development sites. The establishment of such a right can have a devastating impact on the value of the burdened land.

    - Falcon Chambers

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