BSc Planning and Real Estate / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Planning & Property Law

Course unit fact file
Unit code PLAN30072
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


A core element of any professionally-accredited town planning degree course is to understand the nature and operation of the statutory land-use planning system, and the administrative and regulatory framework in which it operates. The main focus of this course unit is on the legal framework and processes within which the planning process operates. It therefore provides an introduction to the legal framework that structures and regulates decision-making concerning land-use and the environment. The intention is to give a general appreciation of the system and the legal principles on which it operates, and also to help develop an awareness of the inter-relationships between legal processes and planning practice, especially in the area of development control. This involves an understanding of the legal concepts, processes and techniques which have evolved and the ways these have been applied in this field. A significant part of the course therefore involves developing a practical understanding of the working of the development management and control process, as well as its overarching legal and administrative framework. The course unit will also provide an introduction to aspects of property law such as land ownership, buying and selling property and compulsory purchase.


1. To acquire an understanding of the English legal and administrative framework within which policies and decisions relating to land use are made and implemented;
2. In the context of planning and property law, to develop further an appreciation of the nature of legal processes and legal reasoning, and the methods by which law is created, is interpreted and evolves;
3. To examine the inter-relationship between legal processes and planning processes and to cultivate a critical attitude in respect of both processes.





Legal, administrative and policy frameworks


The concept of development

Do I need planning permission? (workshop)


Development control procedures I (planning applications)


Development control procedures II (determining the application)


Development control procedures III (conditions and obligations)


Land Law - ownership and third party rights


Buying and selling property


Compulsory purchase and compensation


Planning appeals and inquiries


Enforcement of planning controls


‘Mock’ Planning Inquiries


Problem Based Learning (PBL) Exercise, revision and feedback session


Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, workshops, ‘mock’ planning inquiry; student presentations


Knowledge and understanding

An understanding of the operation of the UK planning system and the concepts and operations of English planning law.

Intellectual skills

An understanding of legal arguments and justification in planning law

Practical skills

An ability to generate simple planning law arguments

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Developed further competence in report writing and oral presentational skills.

Assessment methods





1.    Group project work – ‘mock’ planning inquiry exercise 

2000 - 2500


Written feedback within 15 working days

2.    Group presentation & contribution to inquiry



Immediately after presentation and subsequent written feedback within 15 working days


3.    Exam

2 hours


Marks will be made available within 15 working days of the assessment and verbal feedback is available on request after examination


Feedback methods

Written feedback on ‘mock’ planning inquiry evidence report; immediate verbal feedback via workshops / seminars throughout module; individual feedback on examination performance on request.

Recommended reading

Cullingworth, B. and Nadin V. (2014) Town & Country Planning in the UK (15th Edition), Routledge, London.

Bowes, A. (2019) A Practical Approach to Planning Law (14th Edition) Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Galbraith, A. et al. (2011) Galbraith’s building and land management law for students. (6 Edition), Butterworth-Heinemann: Oxford.

  Sheppard, A., Peel, D., Ritchie, H. and Berry, S. (2017) The Essential Guide to Planning Law: Decision Making and Practice in the UK, Policy Press, Bristol.

Wood, D. et al. (2011) Law and the built environment. (2 Edition), Wiley-Blackwell: Chichester.

Department of Communities and Local Government (2012) National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), DCLG, London.

Other relevant Government policy and legislation (e.g. Localism Act 2011; Planning & Compulsory Purchase Act, 2004, Money-laundering Regulations 2017);

Latest developments in UK planning system and processes, including web-based resources: and

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Seminars 14
Independent study hours
Independent study 166

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Mark Baker Unit coordinator

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