Franck Buors, lawyer: “It has become more difficult to challenge a real estate project”

Franck Buors is a lawyer, specialist in town planning.
Franck Buors is a lawyer, specialist in town planning. ©Adèle Le Berre.

In Quimper, as in other large cities, groups of local residents challenge the projects of public or private developers. This type of litigation seems to have multiplied in recent months. How do you explain that ?

The elected officials want to densify the habitat in the heart of the city and produce a large number of dwellings. This political will is reflected in the PLU, the local urban plan, which defines these major orientations. Building permits are submitted according to this PLU.

If a promoter’s project complies with it, the City cannot oppose it. Otherwise, it may expose itself to recourse by the promoter. In Quimper, as there is not much free land left, we find ourselves with developer projects in residential areas such as Kerfeunteun.

Do the promoters anticipate the risk of recourse by local residents?

Private promoters include an envelope in the event of recourse in their financing plan. They sometimes prefer to avoid litigation (and the resulting delays) and pay compensation to local residents. This is possible when the opponents are few.

The sums are variable, it can go up to 150,000 euros. The local resident withdraws his appeal. On the other hand, this amicable negotiation is not possible for public promoters.

It seems that it is more and more complicated for local residents to contest a project before the courts.

Indeed. First, it is more difficult to challenge a project. From now on, it must be demonstrated that the real estate project disturbs the conditions of enjoyment and habitation of one’s property: loss of sunshine, loss of value of one’s house, loss of privacy… This generally limits the number of complainants to direct neighbours. This was not the case before.

In addition, the promoter can now claim damages in the event of abusive appeals. This hinders the residents. Another measure limits legal action: local residents’ associations can act if they exist prior to the filing of the building permit. If this is not the case, the residents must go there alone.

Promoters can also make changes to the project during the appraisal.

Yes, it is possible in some cases. This avoids having to start the building permit application all over again.

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In practice, are these appeals successful?

The projects carried out by private or public promoters are very elaborate. It’s not easy to get them canceled. But it is possible, for example when demonstrating the presence of a protected species in the field, such as the Quimper snail.

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