Birketts LLP is 'a very strong firm that is regularly doing work that would usually be reserved for City practices'. The planning and environment group works for both private and public sector clients, among them local authorities, minerals and waste companies, and parish councils. The work ranges from large-scale strategic development projects to property litigation. Tom Newcombe in Cambridge and, in Ipswich the 'very client-focused' Deborah Sharples and the 'very knowledgeable' Richard Eaton are the key partners. Senior associates Nicola Doole and Chloe Glason in Ipswich both have in-house experience at local authorities.
Planning and environment in East Anglia
Tom Newcombe; Deborah Sharples; Richard Eaton
Other key lawyers:
Nicola Doole: Chloe Glason
‘Very strong firm that is regularly doing work that would usually be reserved for City practices. A good range of experience and expertise. ’
‘Richard Eaton is very knowledgeable, great fun to work with. Nicola Doole – hard working, efficient. Tom Newcombe provides strong leadership. Deborah Sharples – very client focused and well organised. Chloe Glason is very efficient and fun to work with.’
‘Nicola Doole offers clear and effective advice, with excellent client-side manner. Very approachable.’
‘Deborah Sharples provided all the advice we needed both very promptly and accurately. This was particularly impressive given that we had had no relationship with her prior to this issue. We continue to work with her on related issues, so far with 100% successful results.’
‘Apparent limitless planning law knowledge, flexibility of approach and contactable. Keen to deliver exactly what is needed rather than simply producing a highly legalistic document. Sound advice.’
‘Tom Newcombe is always available to explore issues and explore strategies, welcoming client views and inputs. Clearly continues to reflect on issues and report back even after discussions have concluded. Works hard to produce targeted responses that are fit for purpose, trying to distil complex legal issues down into manageable written material to satisfy all requirements.’
‘The team is highly qualified and experienced and has exceptional specialist knowledge in their respective fields.’
‘The individuals we work with at Birketts are driven, talented, readily contactable and responsive. In particular I would give special credit to Deborah Sharples who has been quite exceptional in both her application, effectiveness and dedication throughout.’
Babergh District Council
Countryside Properties (UK) Limited
Mid Suffolk District Council
Orwell Housing Association
City & Country
Mersea Homes Ltd
Persimmon Homes Limited
Fairfields Farm Produce Limited
Flogas Britain Limited
Trenport Investments Limited
Crest Nicholson (Eastern) Limited
Hopkins Homes Limited
Hopkins & Moore (Developments) Ltd
Stonebond Properties (Chelmsford) Limited
Bloor Homes Limited
Ipswich Borough Council
- Advised a major UK energy supply company in relation to a project to develop a bulk storage facility of national significance and a supply pipeline.
- Advising Countryside Properties (UK) Limited on a major strategic joint venture in relation to the very complex planning of their regeneration of part of Dagenham of up to 3,000 residential units, two 3-form entry primary schools; railway station; supporting uses including retail, healthcare, multi faith worship space, leisure, community uses and other associated infrastructure.
- Advising Commercial Development Projects Limited in relation to a Judicial Review regarding an Asda Supermarket in Leeds.
Howes Percival LLP handles a broad range of planning work that encompasses large-scale project development, advice to housebuilders and land promoters, the negotiation of complex planning obligations and compulsory purchase matters. Among the firm's many recent highlights is its work for Turnstone Estates on two £50m leisure developments in Colchester and Southend. Practice head Paul Wootton (who has 'unparalleled experience and an exceptionally bright mind') and directors Jay Mehta (who combines 'an in-depth understanding of planning law and practice with first-rate client care') and Jamie Childs all work in both the Cambridge and Norwich offices.
Other key lawyers:
Jay Mehta; Jamie Childs
‘Jamie Childs is a high quality individual. I’m impressed with his ability and conscientiousness, not least in the difficult past 12 months. His grasp of up to date legislation and that on the horizon is also noteworthy.’
‘First-rate knowledge of planning law combined with a commercial approach.’
‘Jay Mehta combines an in-depth understanding of planning law and practice with first-rate client care. We highly value his input on projects. ’
‘Paul Wootton and Jamie Childs, whilst very capable in their own rights, also work as a brilliant team. With Paul’s unparalleled experience and exceptionally bright mind having the ability to simply get the answer (let alone the question) before you’ve finished asking, Jamie’s thoughtful absorption covers all bases.’
‘After all his years in the business, Paul Wootton still fizzes with excitement at a new challenge. It’s a joy to see let alone work with. Jamie Childs’ comprehensive consideration makes law text books look light on detail!’
Taylor Wimpey UK Limited
Flagship Group (including Victory Housing)
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
Marden Homes Limited
Serruys Property Company Limited
Eurovia Infrastructure Limited
FW Properties 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
Fleur Developments Limited
Orchard Homes (East Anglia) Limited
Burgess Homes Limited
Building Partnerships Limited
Shockingly Fresh Limited
Crisp Maltings Group / Anglia Maltings (Holdings) Limited
- Advised Turnstone Estates on two £50m leisure developments in Colchester and Southend respectively. Work on both schemes involved a wide range of planning law advice and section 106 negotiations, and support throughout the appeal for the Southend scheme.
- Continued to advise Breckland District Council on a planning application for a 4,000 dwelling mixed use urban extension.
- Advised East Cambs Trading Co Limited T/A Palace Green Homes on the 500 dwelling led mixed use Kennett Garden Village with the planning permission granted in 2020. This work included detailed section 106 negotiations and strategic planning advice.
Mills & Reeve LLP frequently acts for strategic land promoters, investors, institutional and local authority funds, national developers corporates and landowners on planning matters. It handles large-scale national and, increasingly, international projects. A prime example is its recent work for developer Urban&Civic on a 3500-dwelling residential led development in Corby. The team resides in the Cambridge office, where practice head Peter Seaborn, consultant Beverley Firth, who specialises in residential and mixed-use schemes, and experienced senior associate Howard Felstead are among the prominent practitioners.
Other key lawyers:
Beverley Firth; Howard Felstead
Marshall Group Properties Ltd
University of Cambridge
South Kesteven District Council
- Advising the promoters Marshall Group Properties Limited and Endurance Estates Strategic Land Ltd on the promotion of Land North of Cherry Hinton, an urban extension to Cambridge comprising 1,200 dwellings and other commercial and community uses.
- Advising Urban&Civic in relation to a 3,500 dwelling residential led development in Corby.
- Advising Taylor Wimpey on the promotion of a new community at Aylesbury for up to 3,000 dwellings and commercial, employment, community and infrastructure uses.
Ashtons Legal is 'well versed in its area of law, as well as being both practical and creative in seeking solutions'. The firm handles the full range of planning work, including public rights of way, development consent orders and contentious matters. Amy Richardson in Cambridge is the lead partner and brings to bear extensive experience in planning agreements, project development and appraisal, appeals, enforcement issues, defending planning prosecutions and noise abatement issues. Consultant Bob McGeady is a renowned expert in planning and development matters and, though based mainly in Shetland, he also works in the Bury St Edmunds office.
Bob McGeady; Amy Richardson
Other key lawyers:
‘Our representative constantly keeps their knowledge of our local community current, which is crucial to what we do.’
‘Amy Richardson has represented our unique company for many years. She has extensive inside knowledge of our company and has always kept the best interests of our company at the highest level, which is something we value. ’
‘Very efficient and well informed, a leader within the Cambridge area.’
‘Well versed in its area of law, as well as being both practical and creative in seeking solutions.’
‘Seamlessly skilful service.’
‘Bob McGeady and Sam Lees are the planning litigation A-team.’
‘Bob McGeady is excellent and is a great comfort when dealing with tricky areas of planning law.’
Ryedale District Council
Newton Longville Parish Council
Scott Properties Limited
St Chads PCC
Thurston Parish Council
C & S associates
Godolphin Management Company Limited
Farnham Environment Residents & Neighbours (FERN)
Clopton Developments Limited
- Advising Scott Properties Ltd on a section 106 agreement related to the proposed development of circa 1,200 houses on the outskirts of Norwich.
- Ongoing strategy advice for Godolphin Management Company Ltd 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.
- Handled two judicial reviews for Thurston Parish Council relating to the grant of planning permission for sites that had not been included in a recently adopted Neighbourhood Plan in Thurston in Suffolk.
At Greenwoods GRM, lead partner Kathryn Gilbertson has a national reputation for advice on environmental and regulatory matters, ranging from odour and waste management matters to contaminated land issues involving asbestos. Acting for national companies, property developers, SMEs and private individuals, the practice is known for its in-depth knowledge of environmental compliance issues and for its practical advice to high-profile clients on sensitive matters.
- Providing advice to an international data centre operator on the environmental permitting regime and the permits required to enable them to feed in electricity produced through back-up generators into the Grid.
- Provided advice to several landowners on proposed planning developments.
- Advised a social housing provider following service of a statutory nuisance notice. The development used ground source heat pumps. Successful appeal against the notice; and matter was resolved by negotiation.
HCR Hewitsons has a small but highly skilled team in Cambridge that handles large-scale development projects, as well as advising farmers and landed estates on planning matters. Legal director Gemma Dudley, who leads the practice and is 'highly professional, very knowledgeable and eager to help', has more than 17 years’ experience in planning, environment and compulsory purchase matters. She recently advised Homes England on the proposed development of Lodge Hill Camp in Kent. Associate Brendon Lee 'shows a very high level of commitment and knowledge within his field of expertise'.
Other key lawyers:
‘Gemma Dudley is highly professional, very knowledgeable, quick in her responses, and eager to help. It felt that she was empathetic relating to matters in hand and accordingly she was a pleasure to deal with.’
‘Brendon Lee was fantastic, his advice and support was greatly appreciated in our land dispute and he went over and above other solicitors I have dealt with in the past – I couldn’t recommend him enough.’
‘The firm offers a tailored service that met our needs during what can be only described as very difficult times during a global pandemic. The communication systems were flawless and the staff are very knowledgeable and provide a rapid level of service while having to work away from the office. All staff involved in our case were always polite and helpful and as a whole, the team was outstanding in the level of service and support is provided. We have recommended their services. ’
‘Brendon Lee is an outstanding associate within the firm, he shows a very high level of commitment and knowledge within his field of expertise. We found him polite, helpful, and he was able to communicate his points across to us in a manner that was logical and concise. This provided us with a strong feeling of trust in his ability to look after our needs. He is a true credit to the firm and an asset in developing client relationships that will be long lasting. We would not hesitate to call on Brendon in the future.’
‘Strong knowledge of planning legislation, case law, its implications and practical application to development. Responsive, diligent. Work is always to a very high standard and within deadlines. Excellent value for money.’
‘Gemma Dudley is an exceptional planning lawyer. Second-to-none knowledge of planning legislation, case law, its implications and practical application. Clear, thoughtful advice which delivers practical solutions to complex issues. Advice is always presented logically and clearly and gets to the heart of the issue. Quick to grasp the issues and always sees the bigger picture. First-class, always first choice.’
‘We have worked with the planning and environment team over a lengthy period for a variety of matters including planning appeals, planning agreements, site licensing and rights of way. The team has wide experience which underpins sound and clear advice which is appreciated by clients.’
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
The Greensand Trust
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
Knowles Transport Limited
Lochailort Fairfield Limited
Chestnut Inns Limited
The Brooke Hospital for Animals
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
Clayson Country Homes Limited
Rushmoor Development Partnership LLP
Bank Farm Ltd
Rearsby Estates Limited
- Providing strategic and detailed planning and environmental advice to Homes England in relation to the proposed development of Lodge Hill Camp in Kent, including advice in relation to the local plan allocation process and input into the preparation of the application and Environmental Impact Assessment.
- Advising Hill Residential in relation to a development of 576 dwellings in Stevenage, involving the negotiation of a complex Section 106 Agreement.
- Acted for Woolpit Parish Council in judicial review proceedings in the Planning Court (RCJ) in relation to the decision of Mid Suffolk District Council to grant outline planning permission for the erection of up to 300 dwellings and associated development in Woolpit.