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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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United Kingdom > South East > Real estate > Planning > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Planning
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1
    • Salvatore Amico - Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors
    • Joanna Lilliott - Holmes & Hills

Blake Morgan LLP has a strong record of acting for major housing developers on planning matters, and is also becoming increasingly active in the advice to large corporate clients, such as global food entities. The firm, which has an in-house team of planning consultants, is particularly strong in contentious judicial reviews. Guthrie Mcgruer, who leads the practice, has experience of handling statutory challenges under the Town & Country Planning Act.

Practice head(s):Guthrie McGruer

Key Clients

Euro Foods Group Limited

Welsh Ambulance Service Trust

Public Health Wales

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Oxford Preservation Trust

Cooper Estates Strategic Land Limited

Metro Bank PLC

Vitacress Salads Limited

Amber Builders Ltd

Lunar Stockton S.A.R.L.

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust (WAST) in relation to the proposed Nuclear Power Station at Wylfa Newydd in Anglesey, protecting WAST's interests in ensuring the satisfactory provision in the Development Consent Order process.
  • Acting for Amber Builders Limited on an appeal against the refusal by the Environment Agency to grant an Environmental Permit for the spreading of 47,000cu.m of soil on a former waste tip in Berkshire.
  • Acting for Euro Foods Group Ltd relating to a £7m compensation claim against Transport for London following compulsory acquisition of land for the Crossrail scheme.
  • Successfully negotiating a planning permission for Metro Bank to use a former shop unit in the centre of Oxford for their banking operations.
  • We acted for Cooper Estates as Claimant in a judicial review of the decision of Wiltshire Council to register an area of land owned by our clients as a Village Green in order to thwart development of the site.

Blandy & Blandy LLP's planning and environmental practice has a track record of assisting clients with obtaining planning permission on particularly complex or controversial developments. Property developers, private landowners and education institutions all feature on the firm's varied client roster. Simon Dimmick advises clients on the planning aspects of significant acquisitions and disposals. Practice head Karen Jones is a specialist in regulatory enforcement matters.

Practice head(s):Karen Jones

Other key lawyers:Simon Dimmick

Key Clients

University of Reading

R Collard Limited

Reading Borough Council

Englefield Estate

Hargreaves  Property

Bewley Homes PLC

Bloor Homes Ltd

Palmarium Properties Limited

Cassini Developments Limited

Cove Construction

Charterfield Homes Limited

Fairfield Parish Council

Work highlights

  • The firm advised a client on strategy and negotiation with objectors and progress and procedure in the context of a Diversion Order under s257 Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
  • Assisting a client with enforcement notice appeal proceedings arising out of a completed development of ten luxury apartment suites.
  • Represented the University of Reading in an appeal against the refusal of a planning application for the construction of 826 new student bedrooms, cafeteria/bar, bin and bike stores, sub-station and energy centre, together with a new access link and landscaping.
  • Advising a developer on grounds of challenge and the prospects of success for judicial review of a local planning authority decision to grant planning consent for a rival development site where Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) requirements were not imposed.
  • Handling deed of discharge of s106 undertakings where an historic restriction designating part of a residential curtilage as land not available for development had not been adhered to and the local panning authority itself had granted permission in breach of this.

The 'friendly and approachable' planning and environment team at Cripps Pemberton Greenish has extensive experience of working with residential developers in the housebuilding sector. In addition, it handles the planning aspects of major development projects in the retail, leisure and renewable energy sectors. The firm has also had an increase in judicial review work. Practice head Jason Towell and Beth Gascoyne are 'experienced, knowledgeable and unflappable'.

Practice head(s):Jason Towell

Other key lawyers:Beth Gascoyne

Testimonials

'A keen eye for detail, high professional standards and a thorough knowledge and understanding of all aspects of planning and property law'.

 

Key Clients

Wates Developments Limited

Liberty Property Trust UK Limited

Barratt Homes

Persimmon Homes Limited

Berkeley Homes (Eastern Counties) Limited

Trenport Investments Limited

Aylesford Heritage Limited

Town and Country Housing Group

Jones Homes Limited

Bovis Homes Limited

Hermes CMK General Partner Limited

Home Office

Work highlights

  • Section 106 agreement for 1,500 dwelling development at Bicester, for Wates Developments and Redrow Homes.
  • Section 106 agreement for Liberty Property Trust UK Limited. 2,750 homes mixed use development at North Horsham.
  • Advised Persimmon Homes and Bovis Homes on section 106 agreement for 400 dwellings in Northfleet.
  • Advising Trenport on variation to large industrial park, Eurolink V at Sittingbourne.
  • Advising the Home Office on a section 106 agreement for 161 new dwellings at a former police training centre in Harrogate.

DMH Stallard LLP fields three in-house planners, who are able to advise on all types of strategic planning issues. In addition to handling a steady flow of section 106 agreements, and highways and infrastructure agreements, the group acts for both claimants and defendants in planning-related judicial reviews. In addition, it distinguishes itself with its specialist knowledge of heritage issues. Heidi Copland heads up the team, which includes Chloe Karamian; both practitioners are 'experienced and tactical thinkers'.

Practice head(s):Heidi Copland

Other key lawyers:Chloe Karamian

Testimonials

'Good understanding of the real issues on the ground'.

'The team has particular experience dealing with complex planning litigation in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal'.

'This is the go-to firm for Judicial Review and statutory review'.

'Daniel Frisby and Heidi Copland have an outstanding approach and are always well prepared with advice'.

'Heidi Copland and Chloe Karamian are both exceptional; they will always go the extra mile for a client'.

'Heidi Copland is very experienced, pays attention to detail and knows the rules'.

'Chloe Karamadian is an exceptional junior talent - a really good legal brain'.

Key Clients

Crest Nicholson

Brighton & Hove Albion FootballClub/The Community Stadium Ltd

Albemarle Shoreham Airport Ltd

Hollamby Estates (2005) Ltd/LowerHerne Developments Ltd

Countryside Properties

Crawley Borough Council

Lewes District Council

Welbeck Strategic Land

Keepmoat Homes

Park Lane Homes (South East) Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acted for Crest South on its infrastructure work and advised it on s106 Water Industry Act matters and on a footpath diversion issue.
  • Acting as lead planning consultants and legal advisors on the proposed development of land to the north of Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club’s Training Ground at New Monks Farm, Lancing.
  • The firm is acting as legal adviser to Hollamby Estates/Lower Herne Developments on a strategic housing allocation on land within their ownership.
  • Instructed by Crawley Borough Council on a number of matters, including s106 agreements and related advisory work on a large-scale residential development.
  • Act for Countryside Properties on a number of highways and infrastructure matters, including agreements under sections 38 and 278 of the Highways Act 1980 and s104 of the Water Industry Act 1991.

According to one client, Holmes & Hills' planning enforcement work is 'particularly strong'. In addition, the firm regularly advises clients on planning policy, applications and civil planning injunctions. It also defends against criminal prosecutions at the magistrates' and crown courts. Senior solicitor Joanna Lilliot is experienced in handling complex s106 agreements and highway agreements. Steven Hopkins is the head of the team, which includes consultant David Whipps, who has both contentious and non-contentious planning experience.

Practice head(s):Steven Hopkins

Other key lawyers:David Whipps; Joanna Lilliott

Testimonials

'The planning team at Holmes & Hills are extremely knowledgeable and provide an extremely efficient and professional service'.

'The team covers every aspect of legal work relating to town planning with expertise and professionalism'.

'The firm has particular experience and expertise in the criminal aspects of this practice, which is not common amongst planning teams'.

Key Clients

Pelham Structures Limited

Thorpe Hall Leisure

Babergh District Council

Braintree District Council

Colchester Borough Council

East Cambridgeshire District Council

Forest Heath District Council

Harlow District Council

Mid Suffolk District Council

St Edmundsbury Borough Council

Tendring District Council

Andrew Martin Planning

Work highlights

  • The firm successfully overturned the conviction of Smart Planning Limited for the alleged offence of wilfully obstructing a local authority planning officer from entering a listed building to carry out a site inspection.
  • The firm is acting on behalf of the land owner and the occupiers of a house boat and mudberth/mooring to provide advice and act as advocate at a planning inquiry in respect of an appeal against an enforcement notice.
  • Acting for Pelham Structures Limited on an unusual claim for a statutory review of a decision of the Secretary of State (SoS) for Transport pursuant to Section 247 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 to quash an approval of The Stopping Up of Highway.
  • Assisting Braintree District Council with negotiating a s106 agreement for a residential development of up to 1600 dwellings.
  • Assisted Colchester Borough Council with securing a s106 agreement on a conversion of a grade II listed building and adjoining sites.

The planning practice at Irwin Mitchell is particularly highly reputed in mixed-use regeneration schemes involving former brownfield land, where it expertly bridges the gap between planning and development. The group, which is led by Carl Dyer, has recently had an increase in work from clients in the retirement living sector. James Pavey has expertise in contentious planning matters. Another key figure is Nicola Gooch, who is knowledgeable about the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and town and village green issues.

Practice head(s):Carl Dyer

Other key lawyers:Nicola Gooch; James Pavey

Key Clients

One Lansdowne Road Limited

Hanbury Properties (Chichester) Limited

Roffey Homes

Globalrange Limited

Landlink Estates Limited

Welbeck Strategic Land II LLP

Store Properties

Retirement & Care Village Partners

Seaward Properties Limited

Jaspar Group

Work highlights

  • Provided Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) advice and negotiated a s106 agreement for One Lansdowne Road Limited – a £600m flagship regeneration scheme in Croydon.
  • Providing strategic highways and planning advice to Hanbury Properties (Chichester) Limited, including on expansion of the site and CIL, as well as negotiating the planning agreement.
  • Advising Roffey Homes on its flagship redevelopment of 'Bayside', a key gateway development site in Worthing.
  • Advising Globalrange Limited on the CIL strategy for the site, negotiating the s.106 Agreement and assisting with due diligence and other matters following the grant of planning permission.

Shoosmiths LLP's highly regarded planning group, which undertakes a mix of public and private sector work, is highly active in residential development mandates involving the promotion of Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG). In addition, compulsory purchase order (CPO) matters are another area of strength, with the group generating work from boroughs and city councils. Kirsten Hewston, who leads the team, is the name to note for strategic residential development. Planning and infrastructure specialist Tim Johnson departed for Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP in September 2018.

Practice head(s):Kirsten Hewson

Testimonials

'A very strong planning team'.

'Kirsten Hewson is an incredible lawyer with superb judgement'.

'Grace Mitchell displayed a keen interest and swift ability in picking up new subjects and complex areas of law; she is very capable'.

Key Clients

Buckland Capital Limited

Grainger PLC

Altitude London

Bellway Homes Limited

Frontier Estates Limited

Churchill Retirement Living Limited

Hallam Land Management

Ashfield Partnership

Meyrick Estates

Kier Living Limited

Landlink Estates

Arun District Council

Adur & Worthing Councils

Alfred Homes

Lagan Homes

Nottingham Enterprise Zone Development Company Limited

Stratland Estates Limited

Southern Grove

St Joseph Homes

Work highlights

  • Acting for Buckland Capital Limited in relation to the promotion planning application for 6,000 residential units at Welborne Garden Village in Hampshire.
  • Acting for Grainger Plc on the Aldershot Urban Extension, with work including deeds of variation to the s106 agreement, the structure and funding of the management company for the SANG proposals and highway agreements.
  • Advised Altitude (Ascot) Limited on its successful appeal against refusal of planning permission for residential development in the Green Belt.
  • Acting for Bellway Homes Limited across a number of its divisions nationwide; role includes drafting and negotiating Section 106 Agreements, s106A Deeds of Variation and Highways Agreements
  • Acting for Frontier Estates Limited on the acquisition, planning and development of sites for care homes and extra care housing for the elderly.

The 'all-round excellent' town and country planning team at Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors is experienced in handling s106 agreements, and is equally strong in contentious matters. The scope of its advocacy work includes local plan, s78 and enforcement appeal inquiries. Salvatore Amico, who recently made partner, heads up the group. Rob Jameson is also a name to note.

Practice head(s):Salvatore Amico

Other key lawyers:Rob Jameoson

Testimonials

'The planning team at Attwaters Jameson Hill has a wide range of experience in both plan-making and decision-taking planning cases including planning enforcement'.

'The team is highly competent and very well versed in planning laws and precedents; it is also very responsive and communicates well with clients'.

'Rob Jameson always provides clear, understandable advice in a timely manner'.

Key Clients

Wellingborough Council

Dacorum Borough Council

North Northants Joint Planning Committee

Cheltenham Tewkesbury and Gloucester Councils

Maldon District Council

Northamptonshire County Council

Three Rivers District Council

Broxbourne Borough Council

East Northamptonshire District Council

South West Herts Authorities (Dacorum, Hertsmere, Watford and Three Rivers councils)

LW Developments Limited

Beverley Homes

Work highlights

  • Provided site development advice to Hamilton Development Group  in relation to an alleged breach of conditions attached to a planning consent.
  • Represented MMSO Ltd as the successful appellants in an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate over a large (58 dwelling) mixed development unit in Fore Street, London, which had been refused planning permission by Enfield Council.
  • Representing local pressure group Stop Bengeo Quarry in its opposition to plans for gravel extraction in Bengeo, north of Hertford. The matter is proceeding to an inquiry.
  • Acted for the four South West Herts Authorities of Dacorum, Hertsmere, Watford and Three Rivers in their representations to the St Albans Local Plan Inspector that St Albans had not complied with the statutory duty to cooperate.
  • Advised Dacorum Council on the Site Allocations and Development Management DPD.

BDB Pitmans's planning department is led by Christina Daniels, who specialises in the planning aspects of residential and mixed-use developments. Daniels also has expertise in highway rights of way, village green and assets of community value work. The team also negotiates and challenges section 106 agreements, provides strategic planning advice on large sites and advises on CIL. Elsewhere, it supports the firm's real estate practice with the planning aspects of major development contracts.

Practice head(s):Christina Daniels

Key Clients

Cala Group Limited/Banner Homes Group Limited

Redrow Homes Limited

Countryside Properties (UK) Limited

Highwood Group Limited

Bewley Homes PLC

Millgate Developments Limited

Shanly Homes Limited

Ashill Land Limited

Oakford Homes Limited

Fairview Homes Limited

Vanderbilt Homes Limited

Troy Homes Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting jointly for Highwood in renegotiating the s106 Agreement for a 700 unit development including affordable housing, employment land and various other facilities.
  • Acting for Redrow Homes Limited on the negotiation of s106 planning obligations and associated deed of variations and infrastructure agreements together with providing bespoke planning advice across a number of the client's sites.
  • Acting for new client Fairview Homes Limited on various highway and infrastructure matters, including advice on rights of way stopping up and diversion orders and section agreements for the provision of highways, sewer and electricity infrastructure.
  • Acting for Banner Homes/CALA in the Court of Appeal in connection with an appeal against the listing of one of their sites as an Asset of Community Value by the local District Council.
  • Acting for Bewley Homes PLC on the negotiation of the variation of two s106 agreements to secure the delivery of SANG land to allow development on two site to proceed.

The planning group at EMW Law LLP recently secured work in relation to a number of new development projects. Other core areas of activity for the team included planning due diligence in the context of site acquisitions, planning applications and s106 agreements. The team also represents clients at planning appeals and examinations. Marco Mauro, who heads up the practice, has more than twelve years of planning experience.

Practice head(s):Marco Mauro

Key Clients

Inter MK Ltd

Bovis Homes

Paul Newman New Homes

Santander UK Plc

Milton Keynes YMCA

Deichmann-Shoes UK Limited

Marlborough Oasis Developments Ltd

Rectory Homes Ltd

Grand Union Housing Group Limited

Stonewater Housing Association

Work highlights

  • Advising Bovis Homes on a s106 agreement to secure additional development.
  • Advising Marlborough Oasis on a planning application relating to a mixed- use development for over 5000 new dwellings.
  • Ongoing advice to Inter MK Limited on all planning related aspects of this diverse and complex project to achieve the delivery from scratch of ultimately a 32,000 seat capacity football stadium with associated enabling development.
  • Assisting Grand Union Housing Group with planning due diligence associated with its acquisition of a number of affordable housing sites in Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire.
  • Assisting Toolstation with planning due diligence as and when required in relation to the acquisition of new premises nationwide.

Harold Benjamin's planning work is a core part of its property development practice. The firm assists with the planning aspects (including planning agreements and section 106 work) of high-value residential and commercial development projects. Practice head Huseyin Huseyin specialises in planning and development aspects of social housing and affordable housing schemes.

Practice head(s):Huseyin Huseyin

Key Clients

Groveworld Ltd

East London Regeneration South (ELRS)

Martin Grant and Taylor Wimpey

Consortium – Berryfields Aylesbury

Trustees of Derby Hall Christian Assembly

Europa House

Kaz Hotels

Work highlights

  • Acted for East London Regeneration South (ELRS) SPV on the negotiation of a s106 agreement for delivery of the residential, commercial and social housing and the railway pedestrian access from Hackney Station.
  • Acting for Martin Grant and Taylor Wimpey on the last phase of a four site plan development, which began in 2000. The firm prepared the s106 planning application for the client in relation to site four in Kings Way, Bedfordshire.
  • Acted for Kaz Hotels on the purchase of the site at Goldhawk Road for the client's new hotel development. The firm assists the client with the acquisition of the site, planning and construction of the hotel.
  • Handling promotion and option agreement for 8 – 15 sites for a private client.
  • Assisting landowner with preparing promotion agreement and advising land owner on future development of the site.

Knights plc's planning group generates work from national property developers, as well as clients operating in the financial services, sports and recreation industries. In addition, it acts for public sector entities. Deborah Ceadel is a key contact at the firm, which advises on s106 agreements, planning applications, land disposal strategies and planning appeals.

Practice head(s):Deborah Ceadel

Lester Aldridge LLP's planning department is led by housebuilding specialist Tom Alder. Although the team is particularly well-known for acting for residential developers, it also advises clients in the ports, marinas and care sectors. Areas of expertise include negotiating planning and infrastructure agreements, as well as CIL advisory work. On the contentious side, the team advises clients on judicial reviews.

Practice head(s):Tom Alder

Testimonials

'The team is very approachable and provides excellent advice and support on projects'.

'Tom Alder and Lucy Stevens provide a high quality service while remaining friendly and maintaining a strong team-wide work ethic'. 

Key Clients

McCarthy & Stone

Bargate Homes

C&G Properties Plc

Poole Harbour Commissioners

Lymington Harbour Commissioners

Big Yellow Self Storage

Cavanna Homes

Work highlights

  • Advising Bargate Homes Limited in respect of a residential scheme of approximately 120 units in a rural location which went to public inquiry.
  • Advising a harbour authority on the extent of its permitted development rights.
  • Advising Cavendish & Gloucester Plc on its proposed development of up to 500 homes with associated local centre in rural Dorset.
  • Advising McCarthy & Stone Retirement Lifestyles on a judicial review brought by the client against a local planning authority.
  • Acting for McCarthy & Stone Retirement Lifestyles on the negotiation of the terms of complex infrastructure agreements, including a Cell Development Agreement and Heat Supply Agreement, to enable connection to the Monkerton District Heating Scheme in Exeter.

Whitehead Monckton's client roster includes residential developers, local authorities, regional retailers and private landowners. The firm's strength in the agriculture sector ensures that it is a first port of call among clients on farming-specific planning issues. Associate director Vicky Stoodley, who heads up the team, undertakes the full range of planning work.

Practice head(s):Vicky Stoodley

Key Clients

F D Attwood & Partners

Jenner Contractors Limited

Work highlights

  • Assisted F D Attwood & Partners with a s106 agreement for the development of up to 450 market and affordable dwellings with associated access, estate roads and residential open space. The application was a renewal of the previous permission won at appeal.
  • Assisted Jenner (Contractors) Limited with s278 and s104 agreements for the development of 51 age- restricted affordable housing units.

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