Cumbria’s only accredited planning law expert has been appointed as a specialist assessor by the Law Society of England & Wales.
Doug Claxton from Burnetts in Carlisle and Whitehaven will now be one of a panel of independent assessors who evaluates applications from solicitors and legal executives to become accredited planning lawyers.
Doug, who has himself been an accredited member of The Law Society’s Planning Law scheme since1997, was recently re-accredited for a further five years. He is the only accredited planning member in Cumbria.
In order to become accredited under a Law Society scheme, lawyers have to demonstrate that they have spent at least 300 hours working exclusively in their specialist field for each of the three previous years. To support his accreditation application, Doug highlighted his success on cases such as the Berrier Hill Wind Farm, the Haverigg footpath inquiry in November 2011 and the rejection of a proposed wind farm at Cumwhinton.
Doug said, “When I look back over the last three years, I have been involved in some of the county’s biggest planning stories so it was not too difficult to find examples to demonstrate my experience. The Lake District National Park, Hadrian’s Wall and the outstanding beauty of Cumbria are some of the factors which make planning particularly tricky in our region, but I think that forthcoming changes to planning law and better organised objectors mean that, in the future, any development of any size is going to face problems at the planning stage.”
Doug completed his solicitor training at Carlisle City Council before joining Burnetts in 1974. He has been a partner at the firm since 1979.