Claims arising from negligent planning advice

We were instructed by a homeowner in a claim against an architect who had wrongly advised that proposed works would constitute “permitted development” and as such planning permission was not required for an extension to her property. In fact, following construction, the local authority imposed an Enforcement Notice, requiring the extension to be removed.

Our client sought advice from a barrister under the Direct Access scheme, but the advice was materially deficient and failed either to get the Enforcement Notice removed or to recover any sum of money to cover the costs of building and then demolishing the extension, as required by the Enforcement Notice. The barrister also missed a key date, meaning that the claim against the architect became time barred and could not be pursued.

We were instructed at that stage, to salvage the situation. We liaised with a specialist planner on the merits of the underlying decision, and worked with them to successfully secure permission to retain the existing structure, and have the Enforcement Notice withdrawn, therefore meaning that the extension did not need to be demolished and, for the first time, the client was able to sell or re-mortgage the property at its true value, unaffected by the Enforcement Notice.

We then pursued a professional negligence claim against the barrister on the basis of his negligent advice, and secured a favourable settlement from the barrister’s professional indemnity insurers prior to court proceedings being commenced.

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