As we end the year, we reflect on our successes and begin to look forward to 2023.

One key success has been providing the necessary support at inquiry or at a hearing and giving evidence. We hope that most of our projects don’t end up at appeal, but, where this is unavoidable, we look to present a sensible, clear and robust case.

Last week Linea Homes very kindly invited me to lunch to celebrate our win at Tavistock Works in London. It was fantastic to see the appeal team again and enjoy a relaxed catch up over a glass of mulled wine. The project consisted of an eight storey residential building where a key objection was ‘its failure to provide amenity space of sufficient size and quality commensurate to the size and layout of the said units’ thus it ‘would result in an over-development of the site detrimental to the residential amenity of existing and future occupiers’. We had designed a series of roof terraces and courtyards, each providing a different character, experience and function, to give residents choice and flexibility. I had to take the inspector through our designs and illustrate the positive features of the scheme and its benefits to residents. I also ensured that I rebutted the objections and provided enough comfort to allow the inspector to make a favourable decision. 

Another success was a small scheme of 15 holiday loges, on the northern edge of Bury St Edmunds. There had been much local opposition and so the hearing allowed us to present the scheme to the public and respond to their objections. It was a welcome debate and landscape was a key component. I was delighted to hear that we had won, because I knew how difficult the preceding years had been for our client, M&D Developments, who focus on the hospitality sector.

My colleague, Jacqueline Bakker, has also fared well and has had two big back-to-back inquiry successes. She is clinical whilst compiling evidence and like a dog with a bone when taking the stand.

So roll on 2023, we are ready to tackle what challenges you bring…