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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 > West Midlands > Real estate > Planning > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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Who Represents Who

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DLA Piper UK LLP’s team is led by ‘exceptional planning solicitorTrevor Ivory, who has expertise in large-scale development and infrastructure projects. Ivory’s strengths include ‘an excellent knowledge of compulsory purchase issues’, and he is advising Chester West and Chester Borough Council on the promotion of a compulsory purchase order to acquire the remainder of a site that forms part of the Chester Northgate regeneration scheme. Ivory is also highly experienced in handling planning appeals, and in one example is acting for West Midlands Metropolitan Authorities Pension Fund in connection with an appeal against the refusal of planning permission for a 1,000-home sustainable urban extension in Redcar and Cleveland. In another highlight, the team is advising Connolly Homes on planning for a residential development to the east of Milton Keynes for 350 new homes. Senior associate Amy Truman is ‘superb and thorough’ and has a particular focus on complex urban extensions, while associate Jim McAvan, who is also recommended, has been assisting London-based Howard Bassford with various transport-related infrastructure mandates.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s ‘outcome-focused’ team continued to be busy on a range of energy, infrastructure and residential projects. Practice head Paul Maile, who is highly recommended for ‘s106 and legal strategy advice’, successfully represented Wainhomes (North West) in relation to an s106 planning agreement with Rochdale Borough Council for 88 dwellings at land west of Hollins Lane; and in another significant residential mandate, Maile was instructed by Cherwell District Council to draft the s106 agreements required to facilitate the release of planning permission for up to 6,000 units at the North West Bicester Eco-Town in Oxfordshire. The team’s varied caseload also took in advising Severn Trent Water on compulsory purchase orders following plans to carry out repair works and maintenance to the Elan Valley Aqueduct, and acting for new client ENI UK in securing protective provisions in the development consent order (DCO) for the proposed East Anglia Three Offshore Wind Farm.

Gowling WLG provides a ‘proactive and reliable service’ to private and public sector clients such as St Modwen and Rugby Borough Council. Head of practice Andrew Thomas, who is a ‘great strategist’, is advising Goodman on the proposed DCO for the strategic rail freight interchange at Etwall near Derby; and in another highlight, the same lawyer acted for Greater London Authority in the first use of its compulsory purchase powers to acquire land to enable the regeneration of the Southall Gasworks site. In the development space, the team is instructed by North Whitely Consortium in connection with a planning application for 3,500 houses in North Whiteley, Hampshire. Below partner level, other names to note are ‘great organiser’ Graham Wrigglesworth, who assisted Thomas with the DCO for Palm Paper’s gas-fired power station at its industrial complex, and the ‘conscientious and personableToni Weston, who has considerable experience in compulsory purchase and compensation matters.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s ‘very thorough approach pays for itself by avoiding significant omissions or mistakes down the line’. Practice head Rebecca Warren leads the firm’s national development offering and has particular expertise in major residential and mixed-use developments. Her recent work includes acting for Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council and Hampshire County Council as joint landowners of Manydown, West Basingstoke on the planning for 10,000 homes, and advising Countryside Properties (Bicester) on the strategic release of a site at South West Bicester. On the infrastructure side, senior associate Heidi Slater is assisting London-based Robbie Owen in advising TfL on its £1bn highway project for a new dual carriageway road tunnel under the River Thames, next to the Blackwall Tunnel. The team is also adept at handling contentious work, and Warren successfully acted for Gallagher and other joint landowners of the Gavray Drive site at Bicester in relation to an s113 statutory challenge of the Cherwell Local Plan.

According to one client, because FBC Manby Bowdler LLPacts for local authorities as well as developers and landowners, there is a depth of understanding and an independence of thought that gives the best chance of achieving a desired outcome’. The practice handles a full range of development matters, including development proposals and advising on the strategy for promotion of land, as well as planning enforcement measures and judicial review. One particular area of expertise is agricultural proposals, where the team advises on the technical problems of Class Q barn conversions, farm diversification and farm redevelopment work. Key players include senior partner Niall Blackie, who ‘has long experience of providing thoughtful and focused advice’, and is commended for his advocacy both in relation to planning appeals as well as public inquiries; and ‘careful but pragmatic’ associate Suzanne Tucker, who wins praise for her ability to negotiate s106 agreements. Blackie provided successful representation in an appeal allowing planning for an isolated home in open countryside.

Gateley Plc’s ‘extremely professional, efficient and reliant team’ continued to be busy on planning matters for housebuilders such as BDW Trading, Bloor Homes and Taylor Wimpey. In one example of work, senior associate Matthew Scudamore is acting for Keepmoat Homes on an s106 agreement for a brownfield site in Leeds. Besides handling Town and Country Planning Act agreements, Scudamore also has expertise in advising on town and village green matters, rights of way, highways and compulsory purchase matters, and he successfully acted for Richborough Estates in defending a multiple rights of way claim from local residents affecting a proposed development site. The practice was afforded further depth by the hire of assistant solicitor Melissa Huree from Shakespeare Martineau LLP. Manchester-based Andrew Piatt leads the team.

Knights Professional Services Limited lead on planning projects for national developers, the financial services sector, public sector organisations and providers of sport and recreation facilities. Andrea Bruce has particular expertise in mineral developments, including dealing with mineral estates matters such as advice on mineral ownership and removal of electricity apparatus, while Rob Pattinson is an experienced advocate and has been involved in numerous planning challenges in the High Court. The team includes a number of chartered town planners, including Carl Copestake, who handles planning applications across sectors such housing, retail, commercial and leisure, and also regularly serves as an expert witness at public inquiries and hearings, and Ben Weatherley.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s ‘fast-growing’ team acts for landowners and developers and local planning authorities on a full range of work including s106 and other planning and highway agreements, infrastructure projects and judicial reviews and challenges. ‘Hugely experienced’ national head of planning Simon Stanion advised the ExtraCare Charitable Trust on the s106 agreement relating to a 261-unit retirement village on land adjacent to Haslucks Green Road, Shirley. Leicester-based real estate head John Edmond leads on DCO work. The team was considerably developed below partner level, with the hires of Leenamari Aantaa-Collier and Louise Portman from The Wilkes Partnership, and energy specialist Ian Graves from Zyda Law; according to one source, Portman is ‘as bright as they come’. Clients of the practice include Barratt Homes, Blaby District Council and the National Grid.

Shoosmiths LLP is ‘very good at getting key legal documents completed within tight timescales’, and the team continued to handle a good mix of public and private sector work: recent examples include representing Tendring District Council on a series of planning appeals before the Secretary of State relating to the St Osyth Priory Site in Essex, and advising IM Properties on its s78 appeal to secure around 750 houses on a site in Lichfield. While the practice is particularly noted for its planning litigation work (both in terms of judicial review, statutory challenges and planning enforcement matters), it also handles a volume of non-contentious mandates and is providing strategic planning advice to Maximus Strategic Stafford in relation to bringing forward an urban extension on the outskirts of Stafford. The practice is led by Tim Willis, who ‘combines a supreme legal brain with a razor sharp wit’ and includes senior associate Anna Cartledge, who regularly advises on compulsory purchase orders and in relation to HS2.

Wright Hassall LLP’s ‘proactive and committed team’ has ‘particular expertise in tricky enforcement matters raising difficult legal or factual issues’. Solicitor Pritpal Singh Swarn, who leads the team, is ‘exceptionally personable and very experienced’, and is advising Worcestershire County Council on a number of mandates, including the impact and mitigation by planning agreement of development on land at the back of a hospital site. In other examples of work, Singh-Swarn assisted AC Lloyd with a stopping-up order, utilising Highway Powers to overcome health and safety and security issues, and also advised Wycombe District Council on the use of compulsory purchase orders for housing regeneration. Besides an active public sector following, the team also has considerable experience advising housing associations such as Orbit Group and Two Rivers Housing Association. Solicitor Ben Arrowsmith left for an in-house position at Cherwell District Council.

Zyda Law’s ‘excellent’ practice is well known in the market for advising on planning for major energy projects. Recent highlights include advising EDF Energy on bespoke building regulation applications for Dungeness B and Torness, and assisting Dounreay Site Restoration with its application for DPF2 planning permission for phase three of the decommissioning programme (relating to retrieval of high-level radioactive waste stored on site) for the Dounreay nuclear reactor. Name partner Paul Zyda is the main contact.

Ian Graves joined Shakespeare Martineau LLP.

At Ansons, consultant David Anderton regularly appears as an advocate in planning hearings, and is representing Lichfield District Council in its application for a planning enforcement order based on concealment in the erection and occupation of a dwelling. In another example of work, Anderton acted for an appellant in a written representation’s appeal against an Enforcement Notice issued by Wolverhampton City Council alleging the raising of land to form a patio within a domestic curtilage. The team also handles non-contentious work and recently acted for developers in relation to a number of s106 agreements for the development of large residential housing sites.

Beswicks Legal’s practice is led by Iain Johnston, who continued to be highly active advising landowners and businesses on compulsory purchase issues arising from the High Speed Rail scheme. Johnston’s work also takes in planning applications, planning appeals and call-ins, High Court challenges and judicial review, and drafting and negotiation of s106 agreements and other infrastructure agreements.

At Harrison Clark Rickerbys, senior associate Rosalind Andrews has ‘superb knowledge in the ever-evolving planning field and is able to condense complex arguments and synthesise legal judgments for the lay person’. Andrews has particular expertise in residential developments and remained active in this sphere in 2016, successfully defending Crown House Developments in an s288 challenge brought by Wychavon District Council to the grant of planning permission by the Planning Inspectorate. The team’s varied caseload also took in judicial review, village green inquiries, planning enforcement hearings, and s106 agreements. Key clients include Malvern Hills District Council, Lloyds Bank and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire.

At Lanyon Bowdler, David Brammer provides ‘concise and prompt advice’ to a range of developers, landowners and educational institutions, and in 2016 he was busy on a variety of contentious instructions: as well as representing a Warwickshire farmer in a judicial review of a decision to grant residential development for a barn adjacent to the claimant’s farm, he also assisted a local haulage and transport business with a planning enforcement appeal and public inquiry relating to a brownfield site. On the non-contentious side, Brammer is advising a private family trust developing housing on former agricultural land in Herefordshire, including associated planning advice and an s106 agreement.

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Legal Developments in West Midlands 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

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