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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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The ‘excellentBrowne Jacobson LLP has a strong transactional focus and is especially adept at handling work on the intersection between planning and environmental law, such as the planning aspects of the Habitats Regulations. Joint practice heads Richard Barlow and Laura Hughes form the heart of the practice, with associate planner Stephen Coult providing key support. In addition to advising Wm Morrison Supermarkets on various arrangements required for the opening of a new supermarket on the site of the former Abergavenny Cattle Market, the team also assisted North East Derbyshire District Council on its Local Plan, involving advice on the anticipated changes to the National Planning Policy Framework. Other clients include the Homes and Communities Agency, City of Lincoln Council and Defence Infrastructure Organisation. Anita Bradley left the firm.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s ‘excellent’ team is ‘renowned and very well-respected’ for its ‘extensive knowledge’ and ‘strength in depth’. The house-building sector generates a significant portion of the group’s caseload, but the team also excels in advising clients from the education, energy and healthcare sectors. The practice is led by ‘top planning solicitorSimon Stanion, who splits his time between Birmingham and Leicester and whose ‘excellent tactical judgment and great client manner’ makes him ‘wonderful to work with’. Other key figures include the ‘knowledgeable, thorough and approachableAbigail Walters, associate partner Richard Thurling and John Edmond, ‘a giant of the Midlands planning scene’ who ‘possesses tactical wisdom that others could only dream of’. ‘Efficient’ associate partner Paul Wakefield recently led advice to Barratt David Wilson Homes on the development of a sustainable urban extension in Cambridge, the Darwin Green. Avant Homes joined North West Leicestershire District Council and Cadent Gas on the client roster.

Noted for its ‘commercial awareness’ and ‘pragmatism’, Freeths LLP ‘provides an excellent level of service’. The group specialises in large-scale developments, with clear emphasis on residential, retail and commercial mixed use, including town centre and urban regeneration projects. ‘Very experienced’ practice head Christopher Waumsley, noted for his ‘considerable knowledge and experience’, and Paul Brailsford, both chartered town planners, are the main advisers in the mixed solicitor-town planner group. Waumsley’s recent caseload includes advising Newton Nottingham on complex section 106 negotiations involving requirements for a bridge over the A46 dual carriageway, new schools and other community facilities. Barratt David Wilson Homes, IOM Consortium and Henry Boot Developments are also clients.

Gateley Plc’s ‘very good’ team primarily acts for clients from the housing industry, including large national developers and regional specialists. Local centre schemes, commercial use work and car fleet storage are other areas of strength. Andrew Piatt leads the team from Manchester, with the ‘extremely thorough and logicalRobert Waite, whose ‘knowledge of planning law and application to real projects is immense’, and associate Gareth Davies as the main Nottingham advisers. The duo recently acted for Bloor Homes on the planning conditions to deal with mine water, a Community Infrastructure Levy exemption and a section 106 unilateral undertaking regarding a legacy site at Station Road Deepcar Sheffield with a planning permission for housing.

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