Overview Can we help?

Planning law continues to be complex, you only need to see the news headlines concerning housing developments or new business parks to see how planning rules can affect them.

The areas where we provide specialist advice and can act on your behalf include:

We have a team of planning law specialists devoted to helping you get the planning decisions you need.  With many years experience, acting for developers and local authorities we know how to advise businesses and to work with all the relevant parties to achieve the right results, as quickly as possible.

 

 

Our Clients

Our business clients range from, larger scale developers through to small house builders completing perhaps two units per year.  The common factor is that to complete their development they need to navigate their way through the complex planning requirements and do so in a way which can preserve the profitability.

We also help local authorities to progress projects within the legal framework thus satisfying their responsibilities and balancing these with the commercial pressures of developers.

When dealing with Local Authorities, having experience in advising them can also help with developer clients.  Major developments not only involve the Council legal and planning teams, they also involve their “client departments” such as affordable housing and open space adding time and complexity to negotiations.  Our knowledge and understanding of process helps us to manage clients’ expectations and set out clear and reasonable timeframes.

We can also provide an important extra resource for local authority planning officers, providing expert advice and support across a wide range of issues.  

What makes us different?

Vicky Stoodley who heads up the planning team is a planning specialist, rather than a lawyer who includes planning on their CV alongside their day job as a property lawyer. In doing so she offers her considerable expertise to all our clients and also to our property lawyers.  Planning law is complex and ever changing, one of those political footballs used to generate headlines and also unfortunately confusion.

Property developers as you would expect, need certainty in their plans too support large scale, long term developments.  Our planning team, through their expert knowledge and experience matched with the right negotiating approach can give them this certainty

Expert support

With many projects, a number of experts are involved, ranging from the architect to the ecology and transport consultants.  We can support and coordinate the team, helping to drive the project forward and find the solutions that work for all.

In this specialist area it is important to build relationships and share knowledge and experience and our approach is both collaborative and supportive.

We are ranked as a leading firm in the South East for Planning in Chambers Legal Directory 2016 and Legal 500, with Vicky ranked as a Leading Individual in both publications.

Payment options

Payment options - Corporate/Commercial transactions

Introduction

We are often asked by clients what options they have to pay our invoices, particularly where they may not be able to immediately raise the money to do so.  We have set out below the options available.

If you find yourself unable to pay any invoice, we ask that you contact us immediately; we can only help if we know there is a problem.  Rather than having to pursue you for unpaid invoices we would much prefer it if we can agree a solution which satisfies both you and us before it becomes a real issue.

Interest on late paid invoices

Do remember that if you fail to pay any of our invoices within 14 days of receiving them, you will be charged interest on the outstanding balance from the date of the invoice to the date of payment at the County Court interest rate on judgement debts applicable from time to time.  This is currently 8% per annum. 

FIXED FEES OPTIONS

Most corporate/commercial transactions are charged on a fixed or estimated basis so you know exactly how much the transaction will cost you.  However, these type of transactions typically involve significant amounts of work over relatively short periods of time and we therefore need to agree with you how and when we will receive payment.  For these transactions you have two options:

Option 1 - Staged Payments

For nearly all corporate/commercial transactions we will suggest that we break up the payment of your bill into a series of agreed staged payments.   We find this is particularly useful where you are instructing us to handle a transaction for a fixed fee in excess of £3,000.

We will agree the dates and amounts of the payments in advance and send you reminders a week before each payment is due.  This is usually done over 3 stages.  The first payment will usually be payable by you towards the beginning and the second one around two-thirds of the way through with the final payment falling due on completion of the matter.

We will still issue you with our invoice in the usual way at the end of the matter which will confirm our fixed fee, what payments we have received from you and what your final payment is.

If you do not meet one of the agreed payments, we shall be entitled to stop working for you until the payment has been made.

What will this option cost?

Assuming you make the payments as agreed and settle the final payment within 14 days of the invoice being raised then this option will cost you nothing and allows you to easily budget your financial commitment to us.

Option 2 – Payment on account

For some corporate/commercial transactions we will suggest that we break up the payment of your bill into two stages.   We find this is particularly useful where you are instructing us to handle a transaction for a fixed fee between £1,000 and £3,000.

We will ask you for half of the fee at the beginning of the transaction on account of our fees with the other half being invoiced at the end of the transaction.  We will still issue you with our invoice in the usual way at the end of the matter which will confirm our fixed fee, what payments we have received from you and what your final payment is.

If you do not meet one of the agreed payments, we shall be entitled to stop working for you until the payment has been made.

What will this option cost?

Assuming you make the payments as agreed and settle the final payment within 14 days of the invoice being raised then this option will cost you nothing and allows you to easily budget your financial commitment to us.

ONGOING FEES OPTIONS

On occasions we may need to agree a more open-ended billing arrangement where a matter is likely to be spread over a long period of time in which case we shall give you a general estimate of your likely costs and shall then raise an invoice at the end of every month.  These invoices will capture all chargeable time spent by your team of lawyers working on your instructions.  They will therefore vary from month to month to reflect the amount of work we have undertaken on your behalf.

Option 1 – Pay as you go

You can opt to pay our invoices every month from your cash resources.  These will be for varying amounts and you will therefore need to be able to pay whatever those amounts are from month to month.  We accept a number of payment methods:

  1. By debit or credit card (no fees).  To do so please either visit one of our offices or telephone the accounts team on 01622 698049 who will be pleased to process your payment;
  2. By electronic bank transfer.  Our account details are: Lloyds Bank, 3rd floor, Black Horse House, Medway Wharf House, Tonbridge, Kent, TN9 1QS.  Sort code 30-95-37 .  Account No. 00005763.  Please ensure you quote your invoice number and matter reference (taken from your invoice); or
  3. By sending a cheque with your name, invoice number, and matter reference (taken from your invoice) clearly written on the back to our accounts team at Monckton House, 72 King Street, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 1BL.

Money on account

We ask you to pay some money on account of the charges and expenses we expect to incur at the beginning of the matter and may ask for further payments on account as we progress.  When we put these payments towards your invoice(s) we will send you a receipt.  We will offset these payments against your final invoice but it is important you understand that your total charges and expenses may be greater than any advance payments you may have made.  If you do not make such a payment on account when asked to do so, we shall be entitled to stop working for you until the payment has been made.

What will this option cost?

Assuming you pay the invoice(s) within the 14 day period, there is no cost for this option.

Option 2 – Monthly standing order

If you would like the certainty of knowing how much you will be paying towards your legal costs each month then we can consider accepting a regular monthly payment by standing order.

We will still issue an invoice each month so you know how much you are being charged.  The invoice will confirm what fees have arisen that month, what payments have been received from you and what your carried forward balance is.

We will agree with you what a reasonably acceptable monthly payment would be based on our experience of the type of matter and will review that arrangement with you every 3 months.

It will be a specific requirement that you maintain the standing order for as long as it takes to pay off all our invoices and any interest that has accrued.  If you fail to keep up these payments then the full outstanding balance of all unpaid invoices plus interest will become payable by you immediately. 

We shall also be entitled to stop working for you until the payments have been made.

What will this option cost?

You will be charged interest on any outstanding balance from the date of the invoices to the date of payment.  Your monthly payment will be applied to the oldest balance first and any interest which has arisen on that balance so your interest costs are kept to a minimum.

Can we help?