Planning in London Bar
'The pre-eminent planning set', 'totally dominant' Landmark Chambers has 'unrivalled strength in depth, with an enviable list of senior and junior counsel'. James Maurici QC represented the Secretary of State for Transport in the challenges to the London Heathrow third runway project. In the Supreme Court, Richard Moules represented the local authorities, and 2019 silk appointment Charles Banner QC represented Transport for London, in Transport for London v City of London & Southwark LBC, in which the Supreme Court grappled with the meaning of the word "highway" in the Highways Act 1980. In addition, Stephen Whale represented Ealing Council and Reuben Taylor QC acted for Queen's Park Rangers in a Court of Appeal challenge to a grant of planning permission for the football club's new training ground.
'A leading set for planning', 39 Essex Chambers includes members instructed to assist with all manner of infrastructure and house-building projects. The plans for Heathrow's third runway, and aviation in general, has been a key source of work for the set, with Stephen Tromans QC representing Transport for London and John Steel QC representing Heathrow Hub; Steel also advised Plymouth City Council on the re-opening of its airport. Paul Stinchcombe QC represented New World Payphones in a test case concerning the use of permitted development rights to install what are described as "telephone kiosks", which feature large advertising displays. In the junior ranks, Christiaan Zwart is instructed by the States of Jersey to promote a proposed new hospital in St. Helier. James Strachan QC and Jonathan Darby act for United Utilities in proposals for the first compulsory purchase using section 155 of the Water Industry Act 1991.
'With both strength and depth', Francis Taylor Building has 'a comprehensive offer in the planning and infrastructure specialism'. The set includes numerous members of national and devolved government panels, and many instructions concern local plans. In infrastructure, Michael Humphries QC advises Horizon Nuclear Power on the planned construction of two new advanced boiling reactors reactors next to the decommissioned Magnox nuclear power plant at Wylfa, and Morag Ellis QC represented the Welsh Government in the inquiry concerning the proposed diversion of the M4 around Newport. Saira Kabir Sheikh QC represented Westminster City Council in its High Court case concerning New World Payphones' proposal to install advertising hoardings with telephone facilities under the General Permitted Development Order for telephone boxes. Elsewhere, Melissa Murphy represented the London Borough of Southwark in a planning inquiry concerning a proposal to acquire the notorious Aylesbury Estate by compulsory purchase. Also of note, Michael Fry returned to to the independent Bar from DLA Piper, where he was a senior associate (including secondments to HS2 Ltd).
An 'established set with a full range of counsel on planning matters, including some good upcoming juniors', Cornerstone Barristers cover a mix of work across projects, with a large number of instructions coming from local authorities. Mark Lowe QC and Jack Parker represented Hertfordshire County Council in a called-in inquiry over a waste-to-energy plant proposal designed to turn the entire county's waste into 33.5MW of energy. Robin Green represented Welwyn Hatfield District Council in a challenge to its decision to approve the construction of a crematorium, brought by a competitor. In housing, Wayne Beglan, represented Waverley Council in a planning inquiry concerning an application to build 1,800 homes on the former site of RAF Dunsfold, better known as the Top Gear test track.
Particularly strong in the south east of England, SIX PUMP COURT's members handle work for, among others, a range of local authorities. Giles Atkinson represented Sevenoaks District Council in an inquiry concerning the refusal of permission for a gypsy site to be erected on green belt land, with the gypsy status of the applicants subject to dispute.