John Campbell Q.C. is an acknowledged planning law expert. John appears in planning inquiries throughout the United kingdom. To date john has appeared in over 200 planning inquiries. In adittion john has appeared in numerous judicial reviews of planning decisions at both first instance and in the inner House. John has a particular interest in the application of planning law to historic and listed buildings. John is the author of ‘Listed Buidings, Conservation Areas, etc’ in the Scottish Planning Encyclopaedia (W. Green & Son).
The Planning etc (Scotland) Act 2006 was brought into force in 2009. It brings many changes, not the least of which is its emphasis on "front loading" applications and appeals, with the inability to add to or supplement materials which are brought to Committee, or subsequently to appeals to the Scottish Ministers. This makes it specially important to consider teamwork from the beginning, to take good quality advice, and to bring an experienced eye to bear on what is actually possible in these recessionary times. Despite the fine intentions of the legislation, there is really no indication that planning departments around the country have become any less concerned with detail, and so the task of satisfying their growing lists of demands has become more difficult. An experienced advocate who understands the tricky combination of commercial possibilities, funding, strategic layouts and the black letter of the development plan, and can lay out these ideas attractively and coherently, can only serve to help the planning process achieve positive results. Resolute independence of thinking and action takes these tricky matters away from the heat of local politics, or the emotions of being faced with a development one doesn't want. Independent scrutiny can secure the purposes of the development plan or other strategic or local interests without contorting the process. A pragmatic result may in the end only be the best that can be achieved, but if it saves local energy for more important issues, then the work will not have been in vain.
Mediation has a place in planning. Often, discussion at a preparatory stage will yield the conclusion that a developer's ambitions can be tempered by the intelligent and flexible application of policy with greater interest being paid to local concerns, so as to mitigate the perceived effects. Windfarms are a good example, but not the only one. John Campbell has considerable experience of the mediation of opposing interests, to achieve solutions which may not have occurred to opposing parties. Separating the people from the problem, and focussing on the real issues and not the personalities can be so much more rewarding than megaphone diplomacy. Confidentiality, less stress and reduced cost are only three of the advantages which mediation can bring to planning disputes. Much can be written about mediation; it is enough to say that its place in the planning field is only now beginning to be discovered. The search for mutual gain and the achievement of common interests often yields a surprisingly profitable result, and not only in money terms.