Thrings seminar brings together experts to chart the landscape of development around Bristol

February 1, 2024

Businesses working in the development sector in and around Bristol must learn how to overcome a range of obstacles if they want their schemes to go ahead, an event staged by law firm Thrings’ city office has heard.
These include understanding the influence of local and national policies as well as an awareness of broader social and economic issues. 

Around 100 professionals from across the planning, development, property and construction sectors came together at The Development of Land seminar, with a range of experts speaking on the latest trends and the legal landscape.

Opening the event in Bristol’s Watershed media hub was keynote speaker Prof Chris Willmore, South Gloucestershire Council cabinet member for planning, regeneration and infrastructure, who discussed the process and thinking behind the council’s new local plan.

Prof Willmore, pictured below, who is also a barrister and academic at the University of Bristol, explained the wide range of factors that fed into the process.

These included the need to keep aware of political and policy changes at national and local level and the importance of addressing the social, economic and transport issues that communities face by prioritising the likes of sustainability and affordable housing.

Thrings construction team partner Natalia Sokolov then spoke on how to make sure construction contracts were effective – examining all stages in setting up robust, flexible contracts.

The latest changes in planning – such as the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act, Biodiversity Net Gain, and the new National Planning Policy Framework – and their impacts on development were then showcased by Thrings planning and environment team senior associate Lorraine Neve.

Recent case studies on the legal obstacles faced on development sites were then discussed by Michael Tatters and Simon McIlroy, partner and legal director respectively in the Thrings’ property litigation team.

The event closed with a brief-yet-detailed guide to overage – an agreement that a buyer will pay extra if and when certain events happen – by Thrings legal director Rebecca Dixon, which provided practical tips on how to interpret agreements and on managing the various triggers to overage.

Thrings head of development of land Ros Trotman described the turnout from development sector professionals as fantastic, especially as they came ready to engage.

She also said Prof Willmore’s talk had been “very insightful, offering a unique perspective into the topic at hand from a local government perspective”.

Ros added: “Keeping on top of the changing landscape of development can prove quite a challenge for those in the sector, with new policies being introduced and laws amended at regular intervals.

“It is important for colleagues in the sector to be aware of the moving parts and we hope today’s seminar has been a helpful update for those in attendance.”

Thrings’ development of land team is made up of experienced specialists in all aspects of the built environment working with landowners, developers and businesses.

Thrings also has offices in Bath, London, Lydney, Romsey, Ross-on-Wye and Swindon.

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