Hall Of Fame

Next Generation Partners

Planning and environment in East Anglia

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP ‘offers top-notch legal advice without the price-tag of a London firm‘. The firm frequently handles large-scale developments, as well as contentious planning and environment matters. It counts Breckland District Council, Persimmon Homes and Hill Residential among its clients. The practice is led by Tom Newcombe in Cambridge (who ‘always approaches every challenge with a positive attitude‘) and, in Ipswich, Deborah Sharples (whose ‘analytical approach to both prosecution and defence matters is faultless‘) and Richard Eaton. Legal director Nicola Doole and senior associate Chloe Glason, both based in in Ipswich have extensive planning experience. Legal director Nikki Fonseka and senior associate Steven Bell are the key contacts in Norwich.

Practice head(s):

Tom Newcombe; Deborah Sharples; Richard Eaton

Other key lawyers:

Nikki Fonseka; Nicola Doole; Chloe Glason; Steven Bell


‘I have worked with Deborah Sharples for many years in a highly specialised area of environmental management. I have found her to be exceptionally professional, knowledgeable and always well prepared. She is diligent and hard working in the extreme, never missing the smallest detail. Her arguments are always very well presented and questions concise, in depth and directly to the point. She is outstanding in her dealings with clients and witnesses, ensuring that statements are thoroughly prepared and in good time. Her analytical approach to both prosecution and defence matters is faultless.’

‘The Team is locally based, with a strong knowledge base in a range of the issues we face as a development/construction business.’

‘The individuals we work with are responsive, easy to get hold of, and very approachable. They are able to be contacted outside of normal working hours, which is often required due to times when things are required rapidly in order to convey or process critical legal issues.’

‘The team are approachable and knowledgeable. They work efficiently and effectively on planning matters and ensure they are informed and up to date on a project at all times.’

‘Tom Newcombe is my main contact, he is always on his game and works in the interest of the client, whilst remaining honest throughout.’

‘Birketts is a fantastic firm with so many quality people to call upon, whatever your need is. I have worked with a number of Birketts solicitors across several disciplines, and they are the only firm I would trust on my most important projects.’

‘Tom Newcombe has been a fantastic support for me in my larger development projects. Always approaching every challenge with a positive attitude, providing excellent advice and responsiveness when it was needed, and also having a personal touch and genuine desire for me to achieve my commercial goals.’

‘Working on the problem by a team that is knowledgeable and seamless in its operation.’

Key clients

Hopkins Homes Limited

Vistry Group

Countryside Properties (now part of Vistry Group)

Brentwood Borough Council

Breckland District Council

Crest Nicholson PLC

Hill Residential

Mersea Homes Limited

Welcome Break Services PLC

Persimmon Homes

Denbury Homes

Stonebond Properties Limited

Anderson Group

The Broads Authority

Kings Lynn and West Norfolk District Council


Broxbourne Borough Council

Marden Homes Limited

South Norfolk Council

Flogas Britain Limited

Broads Authority

Happy Days Farming Limited

North Kent Farms Limited

Heal Eggs Limited

Constantine Phipps 5th Marquess of Normanby

Strongroom Limited

Davis Commercials Limited

Vale of Glamorgan Council

Work highlights

  • Advised Countryside Properties (UK) Limited / L&Q in relation to the redevelopment of Beam Park Dagenham including up to 2,900 homes.
  • Vale of Glamorgan Council in relation to a complex and long running Definitive Map Modification Order.
  • Acting for world-renowned recording studios in safeguarding it from the noise and vibration threatened by an adjoining development project including bringing injunctive proceedings and judicial review.

Howes Percival LLP

The Norwich and Cambridge offices of Howes Percival LLP play a central role in the firm-wide planning practice, with Jay Mehta leading the local team. Exhibiting 'first-rate knowledge of planning law', the team handles a broad range of issues, including environmental impact assessments and NSIPs. Mehta 'makes light work of complex matters' and director Jamie Childs is 'commercial and pragmatic dealing with s.106 planning obligation agreements'. The practice advises a stellar roster of clients, notably including Flagship Group, Home Builders Federation and Turnstone Estates. Mehta recently assisted Persimmon Homes in concluding planning obligations relating to developments in Colchester, Harwich and Stanford-Le-Hope.

Practice head(s):

Jay Mehta

Other key lawyers:

Jamie Childs


‘Howes Percival LLP combines first-rate knowledge of planning law with high levels of commercial awareness.’

‘Jay Mehta provides us with expert planning advice and is a valued member of our external project team, advising us on all aspects of planning law.’

‘Direct, concise and commercial. Shockingly prompt service.’

‘Jay Mehta, makes light work of complex matters. Jamie Childs is commercial and pragmatic dealing with s.106 planning obligation agreements’

‘Jamie Childs is knowledgeable, adaptive to innovative and new arrangements. Jamie is a great team worker.’

Key clients

Ptarmigan Land Limited

Allison Homes Norfolk & Suffolk Limited

Abel Homes Limited

Home Builders Federation

Luxus Homes Limited

BDW Trading Limited t a BDW Anglia

Endurance Energy Limited

Integritas Property Group

BDW Trading Limited t/a BDW Cambridgeshire

Minster Property Group Limited

Saffron Housing Trust Limited

Tilia Homes Limited

Pentaco Construction Limited

Linden (Linden (Highfields Caldecote) LLP & Linden (Thurston) LLP

Vistry Homes Limited

Suffolk County Council

Persimmon Homes

Taylor Wimpey UK Limited

Flagship Group (including Victory Housing)

Pigeon Group

Endurance Estates

Turnstone Estates

Breckland District Council

South Holland District Council

Braintree District Council

This Land Limited

East Cambs Trading Co Limited T/A Palace Green Homes

Big Sky Developments Limited T/A Big Sky Living

Axis Land Partnerships

Serruys Property Company Limited

NEEB Holdings

Eurovia Infrastructure Limited

Heritage Developments Limited

Laragh House Developments Limited

Enterprise Residential Development Limited

ESCO Developments Ltd

Norfolk Homes Limited

Lovell Partnerships Limited

Hundred Houses Society Limited

Wellington Construction

Bennett Plc

Fleur Developments Limited

Orchard Homes (East Anglia) Limited

Burgess Homes Limited

Building Partnerships Limited

Shockingly Fresh Limited

Crisp Maltings Group / Anglia Maltings (Holdings) Limited

University of East Anglia

Work highlights

  • Advised Persimmon Homes Limited on a number of legal agreements including those relating to a 950 dwelling development in Clacton, Essex and a 665 dwelling development in Caister, Norfolk.
  • Advising Saffron Housing Trust Limited on their flagship development project of 354 dwellings, 91 extra care apartments and additional extra care bungalows proposed in Harleston, Norfolk.
  • Advised the University of East Anglia on the locally controversial Phase 1 of its multi-phase redevelopment of its campus. Planning permission was granted in November 2022.

Mills & Reeve LLP

The ‘incredibly responsive‘ practice at Mills & Reeve LLP assists a varied client base of health and education providers and developers. Practice head Peter Seaborn, who ‘provides well measured advice in an effective and efficient way', maintains a national practice which focuses on the promotion of complex planning and compulsory purchase projects. Seaborn recently advised Railpen on the promotion of a city centre regeneration scheme. 'Organised and efficient' principal associate Caroline Bywater handles strategic planning matters. At senior associate level, Howard Felstead focuses on residential-led strategic development and commercial investment, Hannah Edwards advises on planning and highways law, and Alex Round assists with large-scale strategic land projects.

Practice head(s):

Peter Seaborn

Other key lawyers:

Howard Felstead; Alex Round; Hannah Edwards; Caroline Bywater


‘Really good mix of knowledgeable environmental professionals covers contaminated land, transactions and contentious work.’

‘The team at Mills & Reeve is incredibly responsive to our needs as an organisation. Whether it be a quick legal clarification or a detailed Section 106 they are able to provide a great service at a number of different experience levels.’

‘Peter Seaborn always provides well measured advice in an effective and efficient way. His knowledge of the Cambridge area in particular means that you are confident that you are getting the full picture when it comes to receiving advice.’

‘Caroline Bywater is organised and efficient. Her Section 106 drafting and ability to explain complicated matters to clients is very much welcomed. She has a good rapport with the local authority solicitors helping move things forward.’

‘We have worked with M&R for a number of years and they have invested heavily in not only supporting our needs but also ensuring their team fully understand our business/projects. We chose them originally as they have excellent planning, property and construction teams, are predominantly based outside of London and have excellent experience working with key stakeholders such as local authorities and housebuilders. M&R provide City of London law firm expertise from a regional cost base.’

‘They are exceptionally hard working, personable and invest considerable time in understanding our business and helping us structure transactions and documents to meet our specific business needs. You never feel like you are getting something off the shelf.’

‘The M&R team are extremely knowledgeable.’

Key clients


Marshall Group Properties Ltd

University of Cambridge

Trinity College Cambridge

Taylor Wimpey


O&H Group

Axis Land Partnerships Ltd


Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Work highlights

  • Advising Marshall on the major planning application for Marshall Aerospace’s proposed relocation from Cambridge Airport to Cranfield Airport, comprising the provision of up to 16 hangar bays, offices, workshops and related airport infrastructure.
  • Advising Brookgate Land Limited on the planning application for Cambridge North, a major mixed use regeneration project adjacent to Cambridge North Station.
  • Advising the University of Cambridge on the promotion of its West Cambridge Innovation District.

Ashtons Legal

At Ashtons Legal, the team is praised by clients for providing 'high-quality advice in a quick and friendly manner'. The group regularly acts for clients in appeals against enforcement notices, s106 agreements, and judicial reviews. In Cambridge Amy Richardson advises a number of housebuilders, in addition to commercial and agricultural developers.

Other key lawyers:

Amy Richardson


‘The team provides excellent and timely support to the company I represent.’

‘Amy Richardson has provided an outstanding service to our company for many years. Her knowledge of the process of planning applications, obligations, listed buildings and rights of way is vast and instils great confidence in the advice that she provides.’

‘The practice provides high-quality advice in a quick and friendly manner.’

‘In-depth and broad-based knowledge of all aspects of development projects and disputes.’

‘Ashtons Legal offer us an excellent and knowledgeable service for our land promotion and development businesses all at a reasonable cost and in a friendly manner. We work with lots of other lawyers but no-one else competes with their all round service.’

Key clients

Abel Homes

Scott Adams

Scott Properties Limited

Bracknell Forest District Council

Thurston Parish Council

Godolphin Management Company Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Jaynic Suffolk Park Logistics Ltd in relation to a proposed planning application for a major development on the outskirts of Bury St Edmunds.
  • Advising Scott Properties on a number of section 106 agreements in varying locations including sites for the proposed development of circa 1200 houses on the outskirts of Norwich, 160 houses and a care home in Clacton, and a further care home and 19 homes in Cressing.
  • Advising Godolphin Management Company Limited regarding their needs relating to equine development for their stud, racehorses, show jumping and endurance teams as well as property advice and planning advice in relation to management of their estates, including rights of way advice and private nuisance.

HCR Hewitsons

HCR Hewitsons has a strong firm-wide planning, highways and environment practice in which the Cambridge office plays a central role. The lead partner in Cambridge is Gemma Dudley, who has ‘unrivalled expertise in local authority planning issues‘. She works closely with senior associate Brendon Lee, ‘whose work ethic is second to none‘. The firm frequently handles large-scale development and regeneration projects, and it acts for numerous landowners including farmers, investment owners and landed estates. Dudley acted for Hill Residential Limited in the negotiation of a Section 106 Agreement for an appeal in relation to a development of 576 dwellings in Stevenage.

Other key lawyers:

Gemma Dudley; Brendon Lee


‘Goes above and behind to help, Brendon Lee saved us thousands in a law suit by researching and finding a way for us to move forward.’

‘Hewitsons are the most efficient and trustworthy company I’ve come across Their knowledge, professional attitude and eager to help makes them one of the top companies around In my opinion no other company comes close to the positive approach and professionalism this company holds.’

‘Dealing with Gemma Dudley is always a pleasure. She is responsive, proactive and good at keeping us updated with progress. Also very patient with all my legal questions!’

‘Throught my dealings with HCR Hewitsons I feel as though I have a personal relationship with each of the practitioners who then work seamlessly together to offer me a comprehensive service which my company demands.’

‘Gemma Dudley offers us unrivalled expertise in local authority planning issues, managing to explain complex issues in layman’s terms so we are able to make informed descisions when required to do so.

‘HCR Hewitsons is a true team they provide the most suitable person to undertake the work at hand while retaining the personal touch. We always have a direct point of contact Who would in the traditional sense be called our personal solicitor. When required we are able to call on the vast wealth of knowledge and experience from a firm like HCR Hewitson’s staff who join in with the core team’s support structure.’

‘Outputs are always delivered on time to meet our needs, with staff going over and beyond at times to help achieve a given goal. As a team we have nothing bad to say about them, everyone is polite and caring while still willing to advise us if the path we want to take is not the norm. As a team, they work so well together so no matter which solicitor we are dealing with at any given moment from whichever office they work out of we feel as a client secure that our best interests are being met.’

‘Brendon Lee for us is an outstanding senior associate whose work ethic is second to none and his work output has helped us manage and at times successfully challenge both District and County Councils within our local area. Brendon’s ability to draft legal documents and letters at short notice has been invaluable to help protect our whole community when dealing with national home builders and the bureaucracy behind the local planning system.’

Key clients

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Cambridge Investment Partnership LLP

CIP (Mill Road Development) LLP

CIP (Cromwell Road) LLP

Dene Homes Limited

Downing College, Cambridge

Pembroke College, Cambridge

JCAM Commercial Real Estate Property VII Limited

Great Oakley Farms Limited

Campbell Melhuish and Buchanan Limited

Hill Residential Limited

Turnstone Limited

High Street Homes Limited

Lochailort Fairfield Limited

Clayson Country Homes Limited

Bennell Development Limited

Chartwell Industries Limited

Cobham Road Limited

Golden Waratah Group Limited

Kempston Homes Limited

Long Road Sixth Form College

Mitre Property Development Ltd

Lightdoor Limited

Rock 102 Limited

Scotsdale Hill LLP

Work highlights

  • Acting for Hill Residential in relation to an appeal for a development of 576 dwellings in Stevenage, involving the negotiation of a complex Section 106 Agreement and advice in relation to a Statutory Challenge.
  • Acting for Cambridge Investment Partnership in the negotiation of a Section 106 Agreement for a development of 70 dwellings in Cambridge. The Agreement makes provision for affordable housing, an education contribution, an off-site sports contribution, a health contribution and open space provision.
  • Acting for a private individual in successfully quashing by order, upon judicial review to the High Court, a general vesting declaration made by a Leicestershire City Council in accordance with an empty homes compulsory purchase order.