Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

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.
Click here for more details

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



Index of tables

  1. Planning
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • John Webster - Osborne Clarke

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Planning clients in South West using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Bond Dickinson LLP’s planning team in the South West handles the full gamut of planning work and is ‘as good as any in the area’. The ‘smooth and efficient’ team handles the planning aspects of large regeneration schemes and is particularly experienced of compulsory purchase order (CPO) work. Richard Guyatt heads the Bristol team and is acting for several local authorities, including Bristol City Council and Bath & North East Somerset Council, on the development consent order in relation to the MetroWest Phase 1 rail project. Kevin Gibbs and Victoria Redman are advising Bristol Airport Limited on consent applications to increase the airport’s capacity and on future planning strategy. Gibbs and Redman act for Linden Homes on planning permissions for large residential developments. In the regeneration space, the ‘thorough and attentiveJonathan Bower is acting for West Berkshire District Council on a number of regeneration projects and is also advising Three Rivers District Council on the South Oxhey regeneration scheme. Taylor Wimpey, Vattenfall, River Island, ESBi and Watford Borough Council are also clients.

The planning team at Burges Salmon LLP plays an integral role in the firm’s strong energy and infrastructure offering. In the contentious space, the group regularly handles judicial reviews and statutory challenges, and has developed considerable expertise in CPO promotion. Gary Soloman heads the department and is advising the Isle of Anglesey County Council on the proposed development of a new nuclear power station at Wylfa, which has involved handling applications for worker and tourist accommodations and CPOs for highway works. Elizabeth Dunn is acting for YTL Property Holdings in relation to a major commercial, residential and infrastructure development at the Filton airfield site. Julian Boswall handles the planning aspects of large energy projects and acts for clients such as Snowdonia Pumped Hydro, Powersite and BRIMS Tidal Array. On the contentious side, Patrick Robinson is representing Imerys Minerals and a landowner client in arbitration proceedings and a subsequent arbitration appeal regarding the sterilisation of mineral assets by underground pipelines. The partners are assisted by senior associates Laura Fuller and Sarah Sutherland.

For some, Clarke Willmott LLP’s South West planning team is among the few in ‘the upper echelon of the market’ and its clients praise the ‘extensive and robust knowledge of all aspects of planning combinedd with commerciality, brilliant communication skills and positive local relationships’. ‘Industry leaderNeil Baker heads the practice and has extensive experience of urban regeneration projects and infrastructure installations. Baker is advising Curo Places on a major regeneration scheme at Foxhill Estate in Bath. Caroline Waller (‘the best planning solicitor in the South West’, according to one client) has been involved in some of the department’s largest residential and commercial development matters throughout 2016 and 2017. Karen Howe handled the application for North Bristol NHS Trust to register part of its land at Frenchay Hospital as a Town or Village Green. On the residential side, Chris Charlton acted for Persimmon Homes Severn Valley in relation to planning issues related to the client’s proposed residential development in the Cribbs Patchway New Neighbourhood. The team has also been involved in petitions against proposals to amend the highly publicised HS2 bill.

Osborne Clarke’s ‘first-class’ planning practice attracts praise for providing service that is ‘of the very highest order’. The group works across a variety of sectors, but is particularly experienced in handling matters related to energy and infrastructure projects, as well as CPO work, residential and mixed-use developments, student accommodations, and retail-related projects. Bristol-based real estate head Neil Bromwich ‘cannot be recommended highly enough’; he is acting for Scottish and Southern Electricity Distribution on the Claydon-Bicester Electricity Connection project, and is also handling a judicial review in the High Court for Marks & Spencer regarding the planning permission for a new store. The team is also assisting QinetiQ with its development strategy concerning a number of sites, and is also handling planning issues for Foresight regarding its portfolio of solar, wind and biomass sites. On the residential development side, the group is acting for Taylor Wimpey in connection with the planning and environmental aspects of a £20m housing and mixed-use development in Bristol, which will include over 4,500 new homes. Senior associate John Webster specialises in CPO issues and is rated for his ‘phenomenal ability to turn work around in seemingly impossible timescales’.

Ashfords LLP’s planning department handles a range of matters for housebuilders and acts in community infrastructure projects, as well as advising on appeals, CPOs and planning challenges. Graham Cridland specialises in residential development, and acted for Devon County Council in relation to the £70m redevelopment of the Exeter Coach and Bus Station, which will include a mixed-use development. Working out of the Plymouth office, Gareth Pinwell prepared and submitted planning objections for Thames Water Utilities against Hertfordshire County Council, regarding the designation of an area of land as a Town and Village Green. CPO specialist David Richardson joined the firm in 2016 from Michelmores LLP and has experience in the retail, energy and waste, public and agriculture sectors. Legal director Duncan Moors also joined the team from Teignbridge District Council. The group has a developing marine planning offering through senior associate Lara Moore, who handles nationwide marine licensing for Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Wainhomes (SW) Holdings, Stongvox Limited, Shelfside Holdings and Bovis Homes are also clients.

Bevan Brittan LLP’s planning team specialises in acting for local authorities and health sector clients, but is capable of handling private sector work as well. Newly promoted partner Kathryn Lawrance leads the practice and advised London Borough of Hounslow on issues arising from the regeneration of high street and waterside areas in Brentford. In the utilities and energy sector, she is assisting Sedgemoor District Council with a Section 106 agreement related to the development of Huntspill Energy Park. Working alongside the property department, the team acted for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust on planning issues related to the £200m redevelopment of St Mary’s Hospital at Paddington. Lorraine Neve joined the planning team in 2016 from South Gloucestershire Council and has extensive experience of local government planning work.

Clients of Davitt Jones Bouldunreservedly recommend’ its planning lawyers for their experience of public procurement contracts and planning agreements. Robin de Wreede is a ‘first-class’ solicitor with strong public sector relationships; he is advising The Royal Parks on all planning aspects of the new London Cycle Super Highway. De Wreede also provides ongoing planning advice to a list of local authorities. New recruits include Malcolm Iley, who joined the firm as a group director in 2016; Andrew Taylor, who joined from Pitmans LLP; and Sophie Philippon-Thomas, who joined the firm from Freeths LLP. Mark Brumwell left for a legal position at the Environment Agency, and John Qualtrough joined Dechert LLP in 2017.

The planning team at Michelmores LLP is well known for advising public sector clients in relation to planning objections, neighbourhood planning and public law ultra vires issues, and also has expertise in marine licencing and costal development. Department head Mark Howard has ‘unrivalled knowledge in the area’ and is ‘excellent at thinking outside of the box’. Public sector clients include Cornwall Council, which Howard is advising on negotiations with the developers of a large development comprising housing, retail space, a hotel and community space. Howard is advising NDCI Limited on multiple planning applications to North Devon District Council for the development of residential and live/work developments in North Devon. Howard’s other highlights included advising The Met Office on the potential impact of wind farm developments on the client’s weather radar, and acting on planning matters for Yelverton Properties Developments, South Devon College and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council. Andrew Oldland QC splits his time between the London and Exeter offices and has handled a number of marine and coastal planning permission matters.

Stephens Scown LLP fields a ‘friendly and highly professional team’ that attracts praise for its ‘pragmatic approach’. The department handles a wide range of contentious and non-contentious planning matters and has particular expertise in the mining and minerals sector. Christopher Tofts has ‘thorough, in-depth knowledge of the planning system’ and provides ongoing planning advice to the firm’s mining and mineral clients, which include Wolf Minerals, Strongbow Exploration and Imerys Minerals. Similarly, Tofts is advising Greener for Life in relation to planning and environmental issues associated with its 19 anaerobic digestion plants throughout the South West. Other key figures include Sarah-Jane Williams, who acted alongside Tofts in multiple judicial reviews in 2016 and 2017; and the ‘exceptionally able’ David Corsellis, who is acting as an advocate in multiple public planning inquiries. Burcombe Haulage and Portland Stone Firms are also clients.

The planning department at TLT has wide-ranging expertise in the renewables, retail and leisure and housing sectors, and also handles CPOs and work involving community assets. Headed by Katherine Evans and working in close co-operation with the firm’s real estate team, the planning department is handling the planning aspects of InfraRed Capital Partners’s disposal of the Twin Rivers Wind Farm. In another key matter, Evans is advising Peabody Trust on planning issues arising from several residential and mixed-use development schemes, and is advising London Borough of Enfield and New Ladderswood LLP in relation to a major regeneration project. On the contentious side, the planning team is acting for a public body in relation to compensation claims following the compulsory acquisition of land for a highly publicised transport infrastructure project. Other key clients include Persimmon Homes, WHSmith, BBC and British Solar Renewables.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s planning department has ‘excellent knowledge of relevant documentation and of the local market’, with a noted specialism in residential development. The group’s clients primarily comprise national housebuilders such as Taylor Wimpey, Crest Nicholson and Linden Homes; in a highlight, the team acted for Taylor Wimpey on multiple section 106 Agreements across the UK in 2016. Rated for her ‘well-thought-out advice on a range of planning matters’ and for her ability to ‘understand and appreciate the commercial context’, Anne Harrison acts for commercial developers and NHS trusts, including North Bristol NHS Trust and University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust. The team’s other clients include public sector clients such as Somerset County Council.

The Exeter-based planning department at Foot Anstey specialises in supporting large housing developments and also advises on judicial review claims and other contentious planning issues. Practice head Tim Taylor is representing Ocado Group in a CPO compensation claim regarding the impact of Crossrail 2 on the client’s property. Other 2016 highlights included advising Berkeley Homes on section 106 agreements for multiple housing developments. The team also handles planning agreements in connection with large housing developments for Cornwall Council, Torridge District Council and Exeter College. Taylor is singled out for his expertise advising nightclubs facing closure due to noise complaints, with past clients including Ministry of Sound in London, Eddie’s in Haverfordwest and Sugarhouse in Lancaster. The team also handles infrastructure planning and has advised Devon County Council in relation to highway planning agreements.

Thrings LLP’s ‘knowledgeable and effective’ planning department has experience of contentious and non-contentious planning issues, acting for both individuals and corporates. Headed by Alex Madden, the department has been especially active in the residential and commercial development space. Madden is advising Cherry Tree Farm Campsite on its planning position in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, following an investigation by North Devon Council. The team also advised Aggregate Industries UK on the section 106 agreements in connection with an extension to a sand and gravel quarry in Gloucestershire. On the contentious side, Madden represented a landowner client in a High Court matter concerning a disputes planning permission for the construction of a wind turbine. The ‘pleasant and professional’ Rosalyn Trotman is also recommended.

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards)’s planning and infrastructure team regularly handles education and local government work. In an illustration of its specialist pipeline capability, newly promoted partner David Bird (who leads the practice) is acting for two cross-country pipeline operators in relation to the crossing of their pipelines by HS2. He is also providing ongoing advice to Seabank Power in relation to pipeline encroachments, and is assisting University of Bristol with the planning aspects of a student walkway and pedestrian area at a site now used as a major road and bus route. Daniel Hall specialises in CPOs and was promoted to senior associate in 2016, and Thomas Ewings joined the team after a career in transport planning.

GC Diversity and Inclusion Report

In partnership with...

International comparative guides

Giving the in-house community greater insight to the law and regulations in different jurisdictions.

Select Practice Area

Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments in South West for Planning

  • 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

Legal Developments in the UK

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to

Press Releases in the UK

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to