Tuesday, 4 June 2019

A Practical Guide to Planning, Highways and Development - the book and the seminar

I really should have alerted readers of this blog before now to a very useful seminar that Bath Publishing have organised in connection with the recent publication of Tom Graham’s book on “A Practical Guide to Planning, Highways and Development”. This will be held on Thursday 20 June (from 10.00 a.m to 1.00 p.m.) at One Great George Street, London SW1V 3AA, just round the corner from Parliament Square (nearest tube station: Westminster - 2 minutes’ walk). Tickets, which are limited to 100 in total, are selling fast, but there are still some places left, so it’s not too late to book if you contact Bath Publishing as soon as possible to place your order. (See the contact details at the end of this post.) The price is a very reasonable £165 + VAT, which includes a copy of both the print and digital editions of Tom’s book, which together are worth £75. This really is an excellent bargain.

I am honoured to have been invited by Bath Publishing to chair the seminar. After a brief introduction, William Upton QC and Meghan Thomas will present a paper on relevant case law on Planning and Highways issues. After a break for refreshments, we shall then hear from Tom Graham on Drafting Highway Agreements, when he will outline best practice and will reveal some tips and ‘tricks of the trade’. Alastair Mills, who is the author of another recent Bath Publishing book, on Interpreting the NPPF will be our final speaker, covering the National Planning Policy Framework, not only with reference to highway issues but also more generally. We shall then conclude with a panel discussion on questions from the audience. So we shall have a very full morning’s programme, which is bound to be of value to all planning professionals who are concerned in any way with highways in relation to development (and that must surely mean nearly all of us).

Tom’s book itself is an extremely valuable handbook for planning practitioners. The first part of the book contains chapters on the foundations of highway law, highway authorities and the creation of highways, the physical extent of a highway (a rather important consideration), a landowner’s right of access to the highway, including the important topic of ransom strips, and the extinguishment and diversion of highways. We are now into subject matter that is extremely important to developers and their advisers. The following chapters go on to consider the Advance Payments Code, and the relevance of highway issues in relation to planning applications, including Transport Assessments, Transport Statements and Travel Plans, as well as Road Safety Audits, before going on to consider the important topic of Planning Conditions (including the contentious issue of financial contributions). This naturally leads on to a consideration of Planning Obligations.

Those of us who have acted for developers will be well aware of the importance of Section 38 Agreements (requiring the construction of estate roads to an adoptable standard, leading to their adoption by the highway authority). This chapter leads on logically to the subject of section 278 agreements (governing the financing of highway improvements, the need for which arises from the development). These are sometimes seen as an alternative to a section 106 agreement and, as one would expect, this is a topic which is discussed in this chapter.

Further chapters deal with the Land Compensation Act 1973, legislative provisions relating to structures over and under the highway, and the need for a licence if a developer wishes to oversail the highway with a crane, as well as street works licences and scaffolding licences.

Finally, the book contains annotated extracts from the Highways Act 1980 and the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, and some very helpful precedents for drafting relevant documentation, such as Planning Obligations, section 38 and section 278 agreements, among others, as well as the necessary bonds to secure performance of such agreements.

In my view, this is an absolutely essential handbook for everyone advising developers where highways issues have to be considered (and surely this means 99.9% of all developments). Even greater value will be obtained if you can also attend the seminar on 20 June.

To book your place (or simply to order the book, if you can’t attend the seminar), visit the Bath Publishing website - href="http://bathpublishing.com"> (or telephone 01225 577810)