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Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP attracts praise for its β€˜very responsive and pragmatic advice’, and is active across a range of planning and non-contentious environmental work, with an emphasis on compulsory purchase matters. It continues to advise Mayfield Development Partnership on the real estate, planning and site assembly aspects of the Mayfield regeneration scheme in Manchester; and is advising The London Borough of Barnet on the redevelopment of the Brent Cross shopping centre and the regeneration of Cricklewood, which involved two public inquiries relating to the first two compulsory purchase orders made for the scheme. The team is also advising The Bluemantle Group and Horwich Vision on planning and environmental matters relating to the regeneration of the former Loco Works site at Horwich, Bolton; and is advising Lendlease on the planning and compulsory purchase aspects of the extension of a shopping centre in Solihull. Key figures include the β€˜brilliant’ Elizabeth Shepherd, who specialises in non-contentious environment matters and health and safety mandates; and legal director Jane Southworth, who also handles non-contentious environment matters and β€˜demonstrates an in-depth understanding of the practical and legal issues involved’. Also recommended are senior associate Catherine Henney, who focuses on environmental work; Richard Lloyd, who heads the planning team and is experienced in large regeneration schemes involving compulsory purchase; principal associate Matthew Collings, who has particular expertise in compulsory purchase and compensation matters; and Michelle Moss, who is noted for her β€˜excellent’ expertise in compulsory purchase matters.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s β€˜first-class planning and environment team’ handles a range of development planning, energy and infrastructure projects, as well as contentious and non-contentious matters across the utilities, waste, chemicals and advanced manufacturing sectors. Highlights for the planning team included advising the London Borough of Croydon on the proposed redevelopment of Fair Field Halls in Croydon for residential housing and a new cultural and educational hub; acting for the University of Sheffield on the proposed expansion of its advanced manufacturing research centre on the outskirts of Sheffield; and assisting HIMOR (Carrington) with the redevelopment of the former Shell refinery at Carrington. On the environmental side, the team continues to defend United Utilities in a claim brought by Manchester Ship Canal Company, and is acting for Yorkshire Water in several contentious and regulatory matters. β€˜Exceptional’ team head Mike Pocock stands out for his expertise in highways and compulsory purchase matters. Senior associate Melanie Grimshaw and associate Elizabeth Wiseman are also recommended for planning matters. Legal director Claire Gregory heads the environmental team and has β€˜excellent knowledge’ of contentious and non-contentious waste and water sector matters, as well as handling the environmental aspects of transactions and developments. Alison Messenger left the firm in 2016 for an in-house role.

Clyde & Co LLP has a β€˜bright, knowledgeable and hardworking environmental law team that pays close attention to the detail of any case’. The team is noted for its expertise in environmental crime and civil litigation, and advises on environmental issues arising from corporate and property transactions, as well as matters involving emission trading schemes, renewable energy, nature and habitat conservation, permits, planning and licensing, asbestos, environmental taxes, and waste management. Rod Hunt’s β€˜attention to detail and preparation are truly superb’; he has β€˜an outstanding grasp of the tactical nuances of environmental litigation’. Chris Morrison has β€˜an instinctive feel for litigation that cannot be taught’ and is β€˜calm under extreme pressure’. Jason Bleasdale is also recommended.

Shoosmiths LLP’s planning team is praised for its β€˜commerciality’ and β€˜quick response times’. Highlights included advising Vastint UK Services on a compulsory purchase order needed to deliver a mixed-use residential scheme on a large derelict site adjacent to the 2012 Olympic Park at Stratford. It is also advising Peel Holdings on a number of development sites in the North West, including handling a successful challenge against the refusal of planning permission for 600 new houses at Broadoak in Salford. The team is headed by Kathryn Jump and Lisa Tye, who attracts praise for her β€˜consistently great service’. Senior associate Samantha Grange is also recommended.

The planning and environment team at Weightmans LLP is β€˜exceptionally well organised’ and is praised for its β€˜broad depth of knowledge’. Its planning team is experienced in major residential and urban extension projects, with an emphasis on infrastructure and compulsory purchase matters. It is assisting Charnwood Borough Council with the planning aspects of the North East Leicester Sustainable Urban Extension project, and represented a nationwide logistics company in a judicial review challenge against Peterborough City Council’s decision to grant planning permission. Environment team head Simon Colvin has β€˜a very relaxed and conciliatory approach, which ensures positive engagement and outcomes’. Planning head Lee Gordon has β€˜a great strategic vision of what needs to be done, and how to do it well’. Also recommended are consultant Ray Clarke, who is a specialist planning, environment and health and safety practitioner; sssociate Julie Goulbourne, who is recommended for environmental matters and β€˜approaches topics logically’; and associate and environmental practitioner Gillian Hulme.

Winckworth Sherwood LLP’s β€˜exceptional’ planning department is β€˜very active’ in regional and national projects, including handling urban extensions, waterside schemes and energy planning schemes. Other areas of expertise span compulsory purchase, town and village greens, and highway issues. The team continues to advise Peel Holdings on the Β£5.5bn regeneration of the historic former docks on the River Mersey, which is part of the Liverpool Maritime Mercantile World Heritage Site. It also continues to advise the London Borough of Wandsworth on the Β£2bn Vauxhall Nine Elms Opportunity Area (VNEB) regeneration scheme. The team also advises Redrow Homes on a number of development schemes. The β€˜very able’ Colette McCormack heads the team and advises on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious planning and environmental work. She is assisted by senior associate Joanne Hannah, who handles planning, highways, compulsory purchase, town and village green matters.

The β€˜very experienced’ planning and environment team at Aaron & Partners LLP provides a β€˜highly personalised and tailored service’ across the energy, utilities, retail, minerals and waste sectors. Highlights included advising Mynydd y Gwynt and Renewable Energy Holdings on an application for consent for the construction and operation of a wind farm in Mid Wales, and assisting Aldi Stores UK with the proposed development of a site of former social security offices in a primarily residential area. David Harries is an energy specialist who β€˜leads with great style, and has the experience to match’. He leads the team, which includes David Delaney, who β€˜delivers comprehensive and clear advice’ and is noted for his β€˜top-notch’ planning experience; and Richard Forrester, who specialises in mines, minerals and waste planning matters, as well as complex land and agricultural issues, and environmental licensing and regulation. Associate Keith McKinney is also recommended.

Addleshaw Goddard’s environmental expertise covers transactional regulatory and contentious mandates, with an emphasis on providing support to clients in the manufacturing, energy, banking, retail and leisure sectors in regulatory investigations. Nancy McGuire heads the team, which includes legal director Michelle Headridge.

Brabners LLP handles a range of planning and environmental natters, with an emphasis on the social housing, maritime, waste and retail sectors and notable experience in development and regeneration projects. Mersey Docks and Harbour Company, Martin McColl, Neptune Developments and Liverpool Mutual Homes are clients. Claire Petricca-Riding heads the planning and environment team and is rated for her β€˜encyclopaedic knowledge and remarkable tenacity’. Director of planning Kevin Halewood specialises in town planning and highways work.

DLA Piper UK LLP handles a range of planning, highways, compulsory purchase and regulated matters in relation to high-profile projects, particularly in the regeneration, energy and infrastructure spaces. The North West team is acting for Liverpool Football Club and Athletic Grounds on all planning aspects of the club’s expansion scheme for Anfield Stadium, and is advising Cheshire West and Chester Council on a major strategic town centre regeneration programme. It is also advising Halton Borough Council on the Mersey Gateway project, involving the construction of a new 1.5km tolled bridge across the River Mersey, and associated highway and regeneration works; and is advising National Grid Electricity Transmission on the North West Coast Connections project. Senior associate Sophie Stewart, who was recently promoted, is β€˜hardworking, thorough and has a shrewd understanding of the merits of cases’. She is singled out for development planning and compulsory purchase work, and is increasingly active in infrastructure mandates. Leeds-based Andrew Batterton heads the development and infrastructure planning team. Former team head Kate Creer recently retired.

Clients of specialist environmental law firm ELM Law single out its β€˜experience, deep insights and strong client focus, which makes it one of the leading firms in the environmental arena’. It has notable strength in environmental transactions and insurance deals in the chemicals and industrials, hazardous waste, brownfield development, petrol filling stations and oil terminals sectors. Highlights included advising Malthurst Group on negotiating a remediation agreement with BP related to five petrol filling stations, as well as providing environmental insurance advice and negotiating leases with Asda and Sainsbury’s. It is also advising University of Birmingham on environmental matters related to the purchase of the former Battery Park Site in Selly Oak from Birmingham City Council. β€˜Approachable, creative and solutions-driven’ practice head Keith Davidson is praised for his combination of β€˜extensive knowledge and experience of environmental issues with an ability to explain issues and solutions clearly’.

Gateley Plc’s β€˜knowledgeable and responsive’ planning and environmental team has a substantial track record in High Court litigation, planning appeals, applications, highway issues, compulsory purchase, enforcement issues, and town and village green law matter. It acts for a number of housebuilder clients, and has expertise in retail, residential, energy, infrastructure, hotel, educational and health-related developments, as well as town centre redevelopment schemes. The Co-operative Group, Yorkcourt Properties, Elan Homes, Morris Homes and Bloor Homes are clients. The national planning team is headed by the β€˜bright, shrewd and tenacious’ Andrew Piatt and includes senior associate Mark Iveson and associate Susan Ehlinger, who is β€˜calm, considered and precise in her advice’.

The β€˜proactive, responsive and attentive’ planning team at Hill Dickinson LLP provides β€˜clear and unambiguous advice’ on a range of housing and mixed-use developments, as well as retail, energy and infrastructure projects. It is advising Bamford Property on a mixed-use development in Derbyshire, and is advising Muller Strategic Projects in a High Court challenge against the Secretary of State’s decision to refuse planning permission for a housing-led mixed-use scheme. It also advised Mental Health Care (UK) on its proposals to redevelop the existing care facilities at one of its sites in North Wales. Team head Grant Anderson is a β€˜top-drawer planning lawyer’ and senior associate Lynette Day is noted for her particular focus on housing, retail, infrastructure, rights of way and compulsory purchase matters.

Irwin Mitchell advises on a range of non-contentious and contentious planning work for commercial clients and individual developers. The team also has a growing reputation in planning litigation. Highlights included advising Hollins Strategic Land on a series of legal agreements in connection with a twin-tracked planning application and appeal submission for proposed residential development of land at Dowbridge, Kirkham; acting for Allaston Developments on a challenge to an appeal decision for the development of land at Allaston, Lydney, Gloucestershire; and defending Cairo Properties in a judicial review of the decision to grant planning permission for a 14-storey tower block in Croydon. Recently promoted partner Emily Williams is β€˜an absolute star’, and is β€˜immensely good at handling anything that is thrown at her with great charm and efficiency’.

Squire Patton Boggs has a β€˜knowledgeable’ team that handles a range of complex environmental matters, including civil toxic tort, nuisance, noise abatement, air, water and ground pollution and permit appeal cases in the nuclear, electricity and wind farm industries. The Manchester team works closely with its colleagues nationwide to provide environmental and planning advice and defended Taylor Wimpey UK in a 24-party toxic tort group action brought by residents and personal representatives of former residents. The team also represented Wasteology in an appeal by one of its subsidiaries against a notice served by the Environment Agency to revoke its operator’s environmental permit in respect of its waste management facility. INEOS Shale is another key client. Rob Elvin heads the firm’s UK environment, safety and health practice.

Dyne Solicitors Limited handles a range of environmental matters, with an emphasis in the waste sector. Managing director John Dyne leads on regulatory, defence and advisory work, and also handles environmental, planning and highways work alongside Lewis Denton. Also recommended are associate solicitor Deborah Bond, who leads on contractual and commercial work, and Jonny Bell.

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Legal Developments in North West for Planning and environment

  • Parking rights: here to stay? Consent might be the surprising answer 


    In the field of the acquisition of easements by prescription, little has caused more consternation over the last decade or so than the question of whether a right to park cars can be acquired by twenty years user as of right. The types of property capable of being adversely affected range from individual residential units all the way up to major development sites. The establishment of such a right can have a devastating impact on the value of the burdened land.

    - Falcon Chambers

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