Bringing you thought provoking opinion articles from our experts and the recent news from within our Planning & Development division.

Featured article from the new edition of Planning & Development Insite

Gone are the days when off-site construction meant wobbly portakabins and micro homes created from shipping containers.  And just as the pace of change has picked up, so has the desirability.

Garden offices and studios pods are of increasing popularity, especially as the cost of stamp duty often exceeds the cost of the new room. A pod in the garden could also be used as a good Airbnb revenue-raising venture, while congested school sites could erect a new sound-proofed music room or light-filled art studio in a matter of days.

More recently, the UK holiday market has been transformed by the exponential rise in the popularity of yurts and shepherds’ huts. In the near future we expect to see luxury pods sited in locations specified by their guests. For example, a secluded area with a fantastic view one week, or closely situated to accommodate groups of friends the next, perhaps with catering and home entertainment pods as part of the temporary cluster.

Unsurprisingly pods are likely to be popular with event organisers too. In fact, a prototype unit designed by The Future Bureau has been bought by a wedding venue operator and is to be installed as a bridal preparation suite.

It is no coincidence that the increased interest in modular construction coincides with a skills shortage in the construction industry, demands for a reduction in construction waste and a need for increased speed, efficiently and profitably. The technological revolution is also a factor, as robots and CNC-controlled technologies could be used in manufacturing.

Probably the greatest potential benefit of pods is their ultimate flexibility. This includes the ability to transport them, orientate them to the sun or shade, put them into storage when not in use or reinvent them.

The planning situation is not straightforward as inevitably owners will want to site pods in potentially sensitive environments. However, in some areas, the units could be sited on a temporary basis, for up to 28 days a year, without the need for planning permission.

Where planning permission is required, various technical assessments may be necessary to consider the impact of the development on, say, local ecology, the landscape, heritage and highways.

It has been said that future property development won’t be built, it will be manufactured. While The Future Bureau is currently concentrating on the hospitality industry, it has one eye firmly on the wider opportunities offered by modular construction, especially in terms of affordable housing.

Certainly the time has come to ditch the pre-fab comparisons and embrace the substantial benefits that modular construction brings.

Peter Edwards is a partner at Carter Jonas and a chartered town planner with over 30 years’ experience. He provides planning and development advice to private sector clients.

This article was first published in Planning & Development Insite Summer 2019 edition, click here to download the issue.

Carter Jonas in the news

Carter Jonas, acting on behalf of Deloitte LLP for a site in London Borough of Tower Hamlets on the instructions of Jones Day, have seen the successful defence of the Council’s challenge to the High Court. The challenge attempted to overturn an inspector’s decision to allow the unlawful demolition of three houses in a conservation area. 

A successful conclusion has been reached for the client following the lengthy enforcement battle in which Deloitte, in their role as administrators, were required to appeal the enforcement notices despite not being responsible for the unlawful demolition of the properties. Carter Jonas provided expert planning witness services to the appeal procedure in November 2018, which was supported by an indicative redevelopment for the site. The key elements of the case related to heritage matters and public benefits; the buildings were of low heritage value and their demolition amounted to less than substantial harm at the very lowest end of the spectrum. 

The case was the culmination in an enforcement battle with LB Tower Hamlets, which took action against the unlawful demolition of three dwellings in a conservation area. The appeal against the enforcement action was successful and, following a challenge brought by the Council, the Inspector’s enforcement appeal decision was upheld by the High Court. The key elements of the judgement related to heritage matters and public benefits, with the conclusion being that planning benefits do not have to be certain to be material.

For further information, please contact a member of our team:


David Churchill
Partner, Planning & Development
020 7518 3348

Carter Jonas, acting on behalf of a landowner, has secured full planning permission for a brownfield site on Howard Street, located in Oxford city centre.

The land comprises of 15 garages with considerable residential development potential due to their location in the city centre and existing infrastructure and services. The planning application sought to gain approval for the demolition of the garages and the erection of three single storey buildings. Each building will provide one or two bed dwellings, with the provision of an amenity space, bins and bike storage.

Key to securing the planning permission was the principle of development. Oxford City Council received a number of objections during the consultation period relating to the loss of garages. The garages are privately owned and therefore could be taken out of use without any planning permission being required. There is no local policy that seeks to retain or protect buildings of this type and according to the Oxford City Council, they are not considered community assets in planning terms. The access to the existing garages is also narrow and unlikely to be able to accommodate modern vehicles. The emerging local plan for Oxford City Council seeks to limit the opportunities for parking within the city, this is to decrease car use. Therefore, the removal of the garages is in line with the overriding principles of the emerging plan and specifically Policy M3. There were also a number of other constraints to overcome, including the houses being used for multiple occupation.

For further information, please contact a member of our team:

Huw Mellor
Partner, Planning & Development
01865 255166

Our northern development team has agreed to sell a residential development site in Wakefield, which comprises of around 28 acres.

Acting on behalf of the landowner, our team initially agreed terms for an option agreement with a development consortium, before successfully negotiating the sales price following receipt of planning permission. The land forms part of the ‘Cityfields’ urban extension, which has delivered a new relief road to the town, alongside a proposed 375 hectare high-quality mixed use development to the east of Wakefield. 

For further information, please contact a member of our team:

Daniel Sherwood
Associate Partner, Planning & Development
0113 203 1067

Our experts acted on behalf of Future Generation to manage a planning application for a 154 bed purpose built student development scheme.

154 bedroom student development scheme granted planning permission

This involved obtaining pre-application planning advice from the Council, consulting local residents and the design and conservation panel, and working with the project team and architects to refine the scheme design and to gain the positive support required for planning committee. We assisted the applicant by managing the application at post submission stage, and addressing consultations and issues as they arose to help to navigate the application to a positive determination. This included negotiations with conservation officers over the effects of the development upon the setting of a Grade I listed chapel, and engagement with policy officers to demonstrate that the development would meet the demands of a specific Higher Educational Institution. The scheme recently received a resolution to grant planning permission at planning committee on the 2nd October 2019.

For further information, please contact a member of our team:

Colin Brown
Partner, Planning & Development
01223 326826

The next edition of Planning & Development bulletin will be published in November 2019, however you can keep up-to-date with our latest firm wide developments on the News & Events of our website.

@ James Bainbridge
James Bainbridge
01865 404437 email me about James
@ Nick Taylor
Nick Taylor 
Partner - Head of Planning
020 7016 0733 email me about Nick Taylor
@ Colin Brown
Colin Brown
Partner - Head of Planning and Development Division
01223 326826 email me about Colin
@ Steven Sensecall
Steven Sensecall
Partner - Head of Planning in the Southern Region
01865 297705 email me about Steven
@ John Webster
John Webster
Partner - Head of Planning and Development North
0113 203 1063 email me about John

James is Chairman of Carter Jonas.  Formerly Head of the Planning & Development Division, James advises clients on proposed development projects throughout the south of England with nearly 30 years of experience in residential and mixed use development.  This includes site identification, project management of planning and development strategies, valuation and viability appraisals, marketing and sale of development opportunities. He has specific expertise in option, promotion and other development agreements, joint ventures and landowner equalisation agreements. James has been involved in sites ranging from new settlements to city centre regeneration and smaller provincial and rural schemes, and also provides expert witness and independent expert valuation services for dispute resolution.

I can provide advice on:

Nick is a chartered town planner and development surveyor with over 25 years' experience, gained across the residential, commercial, retail and industrial sectors for corporate, institutional and private landowners and developers. He has worked at CBRE and Drivers Jonas Deloitte. His professional experience is in three main sectors – Strategic Land / Projects, Retail / Mixed-Use and Central London. Strategic Projects / Land involves the promotion of land for commercial and residential development for landowners and developers. Retail / Mixed-Use schemes are a blend of edge of centre and town centre mixed-use schemes with food stores and other uses, often residential. This sector includes regeneration and waterside schemes. Central London focuses on projects from Canary Wharf to Hammersmith and Camden down to Wandsworth, Southwark and Lambeth.

When he isn’t working, Nick can be found playing golf (increasingly badly) and spending time re-stocking and emptying his wine cellar to indulge his passion for wine.

Colin is a Partner and was appointed Head of Planning & Development Division in November 2020, he is based out of our Cambridge office.  He has over 25 years’ experience of planning consultancy and has a broad sphere of work.  He acts for a wide range of private, institutional and developer clients and has worked on significant planning applications and appeals.

He regularly instructs Counsel, and has appeared at a number of Local Plan examinations and in Section 78 and other appeals where he has often given evidence.  He carries out much land promotion work and has a strong track record of delivering planning consents taking projects through their entire process from site identification to construction on site.  

Away from work, Colin is Chairman of the Cambridge Forum for the Construction Industry and of the Cambridge branch of networking group, Interact.  He is also Chairman of the Dining Rights Committee at the Hawks’ Club, a sporting club in the City for Cambridge University sportsmen. He is a regular, if poor golfer, a keen cyclist and a committed, but somewhat less dangerous skier than he once was.

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Steven is Partner and Head of Planning Southern Region and is based in our Oxford office.

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John is Head of the Leeds office and the Planning & Development Team North. John advises clients on proposed development projects throughout the North of England.  He has over 30 years’ experience in residential and commercial development acting for private, corporate, institutional, charity and public sector clients.

This includes site identification, project management of planning and development strategies, valuation and viability appraisals, marketing and sale of development opportunities.

John has specific expertise in Options, Promotional Agreements, Joint Ventures and Conditional Contracts, acting mainly for landowners.  John has been involved in projects such as new settlements, to city centre regeneration, provincial sites, large commercial developments and site sales.

The Development Agency team are currently instructed on 6,500 acres in 150 locations across the North West, Yorkshire and the North East.

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Planning Insite 2020
Planning & Development Insite | Winter | 2020
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