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Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP maintains a reputation as an ‘experienced and trusted organisation that provides sound, relevant advice in a timely manner’; in 2016 the team continued to be instructed on the UK’s most high-profile mandates, including numerous recovery actions by the London Mayor. In the development space, head of practice Tim Hellier and Tim Smith have considerable expertise in mixed-use regeneration; recent highlights include advising Stratford City Developments on planning for a major retail extension to the Stratford Shopping Centre along with more than 1,300 residential units at Cherry Park, and assisting the Homes and Communities Agency with all planning matters related to the development of the government-owned former RAF base in Northstowe, near Cambridge. The team also experienced growth on the infrastructure side; Christian Drage acted for National Grid on various matters, including the UK’s first EU-funded carbon capture and storage demonstration project based on wholly new infrastructure, while James Good continues to represent Tideway on planning relating to the Thames Tideway Tunnel. Other names to note are newly promoted partner Sarah Fitzpatrick, associate director Paul Grace, who is ‘very personable and has an unparalleled breadth of knowledge’, and consultant Timothy Pugh. Vicky Fowler left for Gowling WLG.

CMS’s recent three-way merger with Nabarro and Olswang has resulted in a practice that is ‘most definitely in the upper end of the market’. The newly merged firm is able to draw on a unique developer following that includes Hammerson, Land Securities and SEGRO; the ‘very commercialMartin Evans, who is in charge of the team, acted for the SEGRO on its partnership with the GLA to bring forward land across five sites to be rejuvenated for a range of industrial uses. In another major development scheme, Joshua Risso-Gill, who ‘stands out for his legal acumen’, successfully defended Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund in various judicial reviews relating to a site at Enderby Wharf for 1,150 homes and a cruise ship terminal. Ashley Damiral, who is also noted as being an ‘expert in the area of commercial real estate planning’, handled a range of planning issues for housebuilders such as Berkeley Homes and Crest Nicholson. The new practice’s broad capability extends to energy and infrastructure consenting; Stephen McNaught and Robin Hutchison are acting for National Grid on the development consent order (DCO) for an electricity interconnector between the UK and France. McNaught, who gives ‘pragmatic advice on complex matters’, also assisted Scotia Gas Networks and National Grid with their objections to Transport for London (TfL)’s DCO application for the Silvertown Tunnel.

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Maples Teesdale

The only property law firm you’ll ever need. Maples Teesdale planning department has extensive experience advising on all aspects of the town and country planning system, compulsory purchase and appropriation, highways, environment and energy matters, building regulations, affordable housing and judicial review.

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Pinsent Masons LLP’s ‘fabulous’ nine-partner team handles a wide range of planning matters involving infrastructure projects as well as commercial and residential developments. National head of practice Iain Gilbey, who has ‘exceptional knowledge and confidence when dealing with county councils’, is acting for Berkeley Homes on all legal planning aspects of the developments in the South Quay area of Canary Wharf. In another example of large-scale development work, Nicholle Kingsley and senior associate Jamie Lockerbie are acting for Elephant & Castle Properties on the redevelopment of Elephant and Castle shopping centre and London College of Communication. On the infrastructure side, the team are well known for handling a high volume of DCOs across the energy and transport and waste sectors: recent examples include Robbie Owen (whose ‘energy and dynamism stand out’) acting for TfL on its DCO application for a twin-bore highway tunnel beneath the Thames in east London, and Gareth Phillips advising Dong Energy on all planning and property matters associated with the Hornsea Project Three Offshore Wind Farm. Other key figures include the ‘very ableRichard Ford, who leads on international work; Richard Griffiths, who is acting for NuGeneration in relation to the development of a nuclear power station in Moorside; and Emma Harling-Phillips, who joined from DLA Piper.

Ashurstprovides superb legal advice whilst never losing sight of the reality of its clients' commercial objectives’. The team enjoys a strong public and private sector following that includes the likes of TfL and Grosvenor. ‘Great strategist and statesman’ Trevor Goode, who leads the team, handled a number of significant planning applications for the Greater London Authority (GLA), including advising the Mayor of London on the grant of planning approval for the £500m residential-led redevelopment of the Westferry Printworks site. Goode was also assisted Berkeley St James with the promotion of a compulsory purchase order (CPO) to facilitate Berkeley's regeneration of the former Southall Gasworks site. The other key player in the team is Lucy Thomas, whose caseload included representing Westfield on the extension to its development at Stratford City, and successfully defending BAE Systems in judicial review challenges to its regeneration scheme at Filton, Bristol. Below partner level, names to note include senior associate Charles Reid, who has ‘all the details at his fingertips’, and counsel Eleanor Reeves, who joined from Dentons.

Bircham Dyson Bellenjoys great depth in the promotion of major planning projects such as railways and roads’; recent examples of the practice’s work include Nicholas Evans advising TfL on all aspects of the authorisation of the Cross rail 2 scheme, and Tom Henderson assisting Highways England with the DCO promotion for the Lower Thames Crossing project. Department head Angus Walker is singled out for his ‘encyclopaedic knowledge of the major planning project regime’. The team was also active in the energy space, where Nicholas Brown helped National Grid to secure consents for the construction of an electricity transmission connection between Richborough and Canterbury. Besides its projects expertise, the practice also has experience in conventional planning work; Mark Challis (a ‘wise and reflective adviser’) is representing Thrive Homes on an objection to a CPO seeking to appropriate a large part of the company’s housing stock. Sarah Clark and Ian Cameron, who both made partner in 2016, are ‘rising stars in the planning firmament’.

DLA Piper is possibly best known for its work in the infrastructure and energy space, where Howard Bassford was active on a range of significant mandates; as well as drafting the DCO for Tidal Lagoon Power’s natural power project in Swansea Bay, Bassford also successfully promoted Highways England’s DCO for junctions 3 to 12 of the M4. In another highlight, the team is acting for National Grid on the North West Coast Connections transmission power line project running from Carlisle to Lancaster. The team also handles development planning, and is praised for its ‘ability to provide innovative solutions to secure consent’. The ‘first-class’ Karen Howard advised the London Borough of Newham on planning relating to the £3.5bn regeneration project at Silvertown Quays, and also represented Commercial Estates Group on the promotion of a site in Maldon, Essex which is a strategic housing site for 1000 houses. The practice is led from Birmingham by Trevor Ivory. Emma Harling-Philips left for Pinsent Masons LLP.

In 2016 Dentons’ ‘accessible and professional’ team handled a number of substantial residential schemes for both public and private sector clients; examples included community infrastructure levy (CIL) specialist Stephen Ashworth acting for a group of North Essex authorities on planning for various garden communities, and Roy Pinnock advising Linkcity on two major private rented sector (PRS) development projects in the Royal Docks Opportunity Area. The retail sector is another area of expertise; Pinnock is assisting Sainsburys with the planning, CIL and highways aspects of the 700-unit mixed-use schemes at Whitechapel Square and Ilford Opportunity Areas. The team also handles some of the Capital’s most high-profile development projects for clients including Great Western Developments, which Ashworth is assisting with the planning application strategy for the development of the Paddington Cube. On the contentious side, managing associate Michele Vas is representing various clients in their objections to the London Borough of Barnet’s Brent Cross Cricklewood CPO.

At Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, national head of planning Stuart Andrews has particular expertise in contentious planning matters. His 2016 highlights included acting for Nuffield Trust and Barratt Homes and Connolly Homes on an appeal by way of Inquiry relating to a sustainable urban extension at St Neot’s in Cambridgeshire, and assisting Camland Developments with the restructuring of planning permissions for a new garden city at Ebbsfleet, Kent. The practice also excels at transport and energy infrastructure planning, where Morag Thomson has a strong reputation for strategic rail freight interchange projects; recent examples of Thomson’s work include advising Four Ashes on an application for a DCO for a strategic rail freight interchange near junction 12 of the M6 in Staffordshire, and securing a DCO for York Potash relating to the harbour facilities for a new potash mine. Andrews advised Third Energy on a highly contentious hydraulic fracturing scheme at Kirby Misperton, North Yorkshire, and secured a DCO for National Grid in respect of the River Humber Feeder 9 Gas pipeline replacement project. James O’Connor made partner, while Yohanna Weber left for Fieldfisher.

In an illustration of Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s impressive reputation for contentious work, the ‘commercial and proactiveCatherine Howard handled a number of high-profile disputes in the energy sector; as well as successfully representing Cuadrilla Resources on three appeals following the initial refusal of the company’s planning applications for exploratory shale gas operations, Howard also successfully defended EDF Energy against a High Court challenge to consent to carry out surveys of land needed for Sizewell C. In another important energy sector mandate, Howard is advising Aquind on planning for a £1.1bn interconnector link to France’s nuclear-powered electricity grid. Head of practice Matthew White focuses on big ticket developments for private sector developers and is noted for his ‘thoughtful and strategic advice’; his recent highlights include obtaining planning for the Silvertown Partnership in relation to Silvertown Quays, and advising Lendlease on all aspects of the redevelopment of the Deptford Wharves site in the London Borough of Lewisham. The practice has a number of well-regarded individuals below partner level, including Charlotte Dyer, who provides ‘clear direction on planning issues’; the ‘very assured’ Ben Hazenberg; and Martyn Jarvis. Patrick Robinson and senior associate Elizabeth Christie departed for Town Legal LLP.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s practice underwent some restructuring at the top, with Claire Dutch taking charge of the team following Michael Gallimore’s appointment as head of the firm’s Birmingham office. The team is possibly best known for acting on major urban development projects, where it provides advice that is ‘client focused, and tailored to the commercial imperatives which drive the development sector’. Dutch is advising Bishopsgate Goodsyard Regeneration on proposed revisions to the 10-acre Bishopsgate Goods Yard brownfield site in Shoreditch following a call-in by the London Mayor, and is assisting Benson Elliot with a Secretary of State public enquiry relating to a site at Ealing Broadway. In another significant piece of work the ‘unflappable and user-friendly’ Gallimore continued to act for Argent Related on planning issues relating to the Brent Cross South regeneration scheme. The practice also handles energy and infrastructure planning and secured a DCO for Carlton Power relating to a 20km gas pipeline project in South Yorkshire. Senior associate Kathryn Hampton joined from Nabarro, while Victoria Du Croz left for Forsters LLP.

Winckworth Sherwood LLP offers ‘a very pragmatic approach that is aligned to the commercial realities of getting optimised planning consents’. The practice’s client base comprises some of the UK’s biggest housebuilders, making it particularly well placed to profit from the current boom in the residential property sector; highlights included advising Barratt London on planning for a regeneration scheme in Enfield for more than 10,000 new homes, and acting for Redrow Homes on all aspects of the redevelopment of the former Metropolitan Police Training College in the London Borough of Barnet. Practice head Karen Cooksleyhas extensive experience of operating in London for a range of clients, with the benefit of having negotiated planning agreements with the vast majority of the London boroughs’. Cooksley is continuing to act for the London Borough of Wandsworth on matters relating to the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station, and advising Essential Living on a major PRS scheme in Ealing. Other names to note are Lindsay Garratt, who ‘goes the extra mile to understand the client’s main drivers’; the ‘tenaciousColette McCormack; and litigator Tim Fogarty, who re-joined the team from RPC. Infrastructure specialist Brian Greenwood left for Clyde & Co LLP.

At Addleshaw Goddard, practice head Marnix Elsenaar continued to be busy in the housebuilder space, where he assisted Dandara with planning for a £400m build to rent deal for the delivery of 2000 new homes. Elsenaar also specialises in planning issues arising from energy and transport projects, and in 2016 his work included advising Luton Airport on the consents strategy required for the proposed Mass Passenger Transit scheme that will link Luton Airport Parkway Station and the terminal building, as well as acting for various clients such as South East Water in the opposition of DCOs. The practice also handles planning matters related to retail and mixed-use developments for clients such as Brunswick Developments and Muse Developments; Gary Sector is representing Tellon Properties in all strategic planning issues relating to the proposed redevelopment of the former Bargate shopping centre in Southampton for a new retail-led, mixed-use city centre development. Sector also handles shale gas and fracking matters.

Clifford Chancecombines excellent pragmatic advice with rapid response times, and a willingness to engage on day-to-day as well as more complex issues’. The team acted for key client Canary Wharf Group on a number of major development schemes, including planning for the landmark North Quay development, as well as assisting with implementation of the outline planning permission for the Wood Wharf regeneration scheme. In another significant development highlight, the team is representing Helical Bar on variations to the section 106 agreement relating to the development of Barts Square. The practice also handles energy planning and regularly advises on power station developments, as well as renewables and new-build nuclear; in one highlight the ‘extremely able and experienced’ Nigel Howorth, who heads the practice, is advising Horizon Nuclear Power on the DCO for a new nuclear power station in Wylfa, Wales. Senior associate Elizabeth Hardacre ‘works tirelessly for clients, and is rated for her amazing attention to detail’.

Clyde & Co LLP fields an ‘excellent boutique planning team that is very strong on planning court litigation as well as residential development’. Head of practice Ian Ginbey, who is a ‘first-rate tactician’, represented the trustees of the Barker Mill Estate in relation to three planning appeals against the refusal of planning permission for a large development at Adanac Park, Southampton; Ginbey is also advising key client Grainger in relation to securing a CPO to acquire the land needed to facilitate the delivery of a mixed-use regeneration project at Wards Corner, Seven Sisters. The practice was substantially enhanced by a number of senior hires, including Brian Greenwood and his team from Winckworth Sherwood LLP, and Stephen Webb from King & Wood Mallesons. ‘An experienced strategist’, Greenwood has considerable experience of major infrastructure projects and acts for Associated British Ports in relation to all its planning matters. Webb focuses on development work and is advising Galliard Homes on the development of up to 10,000 new dwellings, together with all supporting infrastructure, at a new Garden City development at Boxted Wood in North Essex.

Gowling WLG’s practice welcomed the ‘excellent’ Vicky Fowler from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, who took charge of the team following Clare Fielding’s departure for Town Legal LLP. Fowler’s expertise takes in city offices, residential, retail and major regeneration projects; her recent work includes providing strategic planning advice to U+I in relation to a major regeneration scheme at Morden Wharf on the Greenwich Peninsula, and also advising Friends Life and DMI Properties on all planning aspects for the development of a strategic employment site in Sevington, Ashford. The practice handles a high volume of public sector work, where clients include Westminster City Council and London Borough of Barnet; Fowler is advising TfL on CIL issues raised by Battersea Project Holding Company in connection with Battersea Power Station. On the contentious side, Fowler and senior associate Tim Sharp successfully acted for Grafton Group in challenging the Secretary of State for Transport’s decision to make a compulsory purchase order to acquire Orchard Wharf.

At Linklaters LLP, head of practice David Watkins provides ‘superb leadership’ and regularly advises on developments in the centre of London; Watkins is currently assisting Aroland Holdings with the section 106 Agreement for a 73-storey skyscraper at the former Aviva tower site in the Square Mile. Besides office development, the team is also adept at handling significant mixed-use schemes, with recent examples including advising key client Great Portland Estates on its redevelopment for a 1.3-acre site bounded by Hanover Square, Tenterden Street, New Bond Street and Brook Street. The team also acted for Ridgeford Properties in relation to a residential-led mixed-use scheme for 79 new homes, restaurants, shops and leisure space at Moxon Street in Marylebone. The other key figure in the team is senior associate Louise Samuel, whose expertise takes in planning for corporate headquarters, as well as advising on listed buildings. Samuel and Watkins are acting for Black Pearl on its planning application for the redevelopment of a site at 18 Blackfriars Road.

Norton Rose Fulbright fields a ‘relatively small team that is growing in strength’ under the leadership of Duncan Field, who is ‘first rank in the quality of his legal advice and tactical thinking’. Field is particularly highly regarded for his work on infrastructure projects; in a standout matter, he successfully represented London City Airport on the planning appeal for its £344m expansion project. Other infrastructure highlights included advising DP World on planning issues arising from the London Gateway Port and Logistics Park, and assisting London Luton Airport Operations with the implementation stage of its expansion of airport capacity. Field and associate Victoria Watson, who ‘diligently provides very good advice’, were also busy in the development space, where they secured planning approval for the Crown Estate’s development of Duke’s Court, St James’s; they also acted for British Land Retail Warehouses on a judicial review claim which challenged the decision of Swindon Borough Council to issue liability notices for CIL in relation to a retail warehouse development at the Orbital Shopping Park in Swindon.

At Osborne Clarke LLP, John Baird and senior associate Anna Harlow have particular expertise acting for housebuilders such as Taylor Wimpey and Barratt David Wilson Homes on planning for large residential schemes. The practice is also noted for its leading position in the growth area of student accommodation, with key clients including Student Castle and UNITE. Asda Stores is a longstanding client in the retail space.

Stephenson Harwood’s ‘very client-friendly team’ is led by the ‘personableBen Stansfield, who ‘has the ability to take complicated legal points and make them user friendly’. Stansfield handles a wide variety of development projects, including large urban regeneration projects and the development of significant real estate assets in prime urban areas; recent highlights include advising Telford Shopping Centre on planning issues related to the centre’s redevelopment, and acting for Blakes Hotel on the planning application for a luxury hotel at Corsham Street, Shoreditch. The practice is also proficient in handling large-scale energy projects; Stansfield is advising the North London Waste Authority on applying for and obtaining a DCO for a £500m energy recovery facility in north London. Below partner level, names to note include senior associate Anita Kasseean, and associate Patrick Senior, with the latter winning praise for his ‘dogged determination’. Senior assisted Stansfield with a judicial review on behalf of Langham Estate relating to the grant of planning by Westminster City Council to a tenant of the Estate.

Taylor Wessing LLP handles a wide range of planning matters, including large-scale development and compulsory purchase matters, with clients highlighting the team for ‘ensuring they feel prioritised’. Practice head Alistair Watson, who is ‘very determined and has excellent experience’, continued to be busy in the sports arena space; he acted for Brentford Football Club on the CPO process and Inquiry for the club’s new stadium, and also assisted Saracens Rugby Club with the section 106 agreement arising from its relocation. Another fruitful sector was student accommodation, where clients include McLaren Property and Empiric Student Property; Watson acted for the former in relation to its successful appeal against refusal of planning permission for a 270-bed student accommodation scheme in Cambridge. In other highlights the team is advising Buckminster on the planning application for the proposed Grantham Designer Outlet Village at Grantham. Senior associate Emma Tait is ‘highly intelligent and resourceful’.

Newly established planning boutique Town Legal LLP has an ‘outstanding range of talent, with a good range of skills’. The six-partner team is headed by Patrick Robinson, who joined from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, and includes Simon Ricketts, who joined from King & Wood Mallesons, Clare Fielding, who joined from Gowling WLG, and barrister Mary Cook, who joined from Cornerstone Barristers. The firm focuses on major mixed-use schemes, commercial developments, urban extensions and heritage and cultural projects, acting for clients including British Land and Berkeley Homes, who benefit from the firm’s ‘more personalised approach’. Recent highlights include advising Quintain on all planning matters relating to the regeneration of the area surrounding Wembley Stadium, and continuing to act for the Battersea Power Station Development Company on the promotion of revised planning applications for the £8bn regeneration project. In the contentious space, the team is acting for Richborough Estates in a Supreme Court case concerning the interpretation of the National Planning Policy Framework.

Blake Morgan LLP impresses with its ‘detailed knowledge and understanding of the planning system that results in an ability to provide expert advice on a wide variety of areas of planning’. ‘Highly competent’ practice head Sara Hanrahan specialises in urban redevelopment projects, particularly in relation to compulsory purchase and affordable housing schemes. Her recent highlights include continuing to act for Peabody Housing Association on planning for two new housing zones in Thamesmead, and assisting Renewal Group with the £1bn regeneration of the 30-acre site in Lewisham known as New Bermondsey. The team has also been handling a variety of contentious mandates: Hanrahan represented Dory Ventures on its planning appeal concerning the Fulham Old Town Hall redevelopment, and acted for Paradigm Land in its successful appeal relating to the redevelopment of the former Woolwich Theatre site. Senior associate Keith Lancaster is singled out for his ‘very good technical knowledge and problem-solving approach’.

Burges Salmon LLP’s Bristol-based team is ‘very diligent and provides a very attentive service’ under the leadership of Gary Soloman. The practice has a strong reputation for handling nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIP); Soloman acted for Isle of Anglesey County Council on all aspects of its response to the proposed development of a new nuclear power station at Wylfa and new grid connection, and Elizabeth Dunn advised Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm on the DCO for the 110km Triton Knoll Electrical System. The team was also busy on a wide range of energy projects falling outside the NSIP scheme, including Julian Boswall’s work for BRIMS Tidal Array on the planning application for the 200MW BRIMS tidal array project off Orkney. On the conventional planning side, Soloman advised Redrow on the section 106 agreement for a 7,000-house Garden City at North West Cardiff.

At Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, ‘very impressive’ practice head Claire Fallows is ‘proactive and firm in her recommendations; she doesn’t sit on the fence’. Fallows focuses on large, mixed-use projects in London and major strategic land developments outside the capital; recent highlights include advising The Church Commissioners for England on planning for various sites in Bognor Regis, and assisting Bellway Homes with a section 106 agreement relating to the redevelopment of a site at Cooks Road, Pudding Mill Lane totalling 200 new flats and commercial floor space. Fallows also handled a number of matters in the affordable housing sector, including acting for Pocket Living on the redevelopment of a site in Waltham Forest. Newly promoted partner Helen Hutton, who has significant experience in hydrocarbon planning, continued to advise Europa Oil and Gas (Holdings) on planning issues arising from its hydrocarbon projects in the UK.

For one observer, DAC Beachcroft LLP is ‘ubiquitous when it comes to section 106 issues arising from residential developments across the country’. The team, which is well known for acting for housebuilders such as Taylor Wimpey and Linden Homes, is headed by Christopher Stanwell, who is ‘highly experienced and effective in relation to infrastructure matters’; Stanwell’s recent caseload includes advising Cumbria County Council on planning and compulsory purchase processes in respect of NuGen’s Moorside Power Station and National Grid’s North West Coast Connections Project. He is also representing Heathrow Hub on planning matters relating to the extension of its northern runway. Other key figures include senior associate Andrew Morgan, who is ‘particularly good on viability disputes’ and is advising a major developer on all legal planning aspects of its 2500-dwelling scheme in West Sussex; and senior associate Kali Yau, who is assisting David Wilson Homes with its mixed-use scheme at Newbury Racecourse.

Farrer & Co handles a wide range of planning matters, including acting on urban developments, advising landowners on judicial review claims, and assisting high-net-worth individuals with heritage assets. Head of practice Karen Phull continued to enjoy a stream of instructions for key client the Duchy of Cornwall, including advising on infrastructure for a 4,000-home development scheme to the east of Newquay, and assisting with variations to the section 106 agreement governing the Duchy’s urban community at Dorchester. Phull also secured Agenda Capital’s planning application for the Alexandra public house in Kingston upon Thames (and in doing so resisted an application to designate the pub as an Asset of Community Value), and also acted for Porcelanosa in opposing a compulsory purchase order relating to the company’s Sheffield store. In another example of the practice’s diverse client base Phull is advising the University of Kent on its local planning representations. Associate Jay Sattin joined from DMH Stallard LLP.

Forsters LLP enjoyed further growth in 2016 with the hire of Victoria Du Croz from Hogan Lovells International LLP and the addition of new clients such as Grosvenor Estates and The Aitch Group. Head of practice Oliver Wright advised on the restoration and change of use of St Mark's, North Audley Street, into a high-end retail, restaurant and community space building. Wright acted for Soho Estates on the demolition and redevelopment of the landmark Foyles building on Charing Cross Road. The team also continued to be heavily involved in the redevelopment of Greenwich Peninsula, including assisting Knight Dragon Investments with its objection to TfL’s DCO for the Silvertown Tunnel. The ‘experienced and effective’ Matthew Evans is also recommended.

Experienced in all planning aspects’, Howard Kennedy LLP’s ‘hardworking and competent’ team continued to be active on behalf of the firm’s strong developer client base, which includes BlackOnyx Group and Ballymore. ‘Technically excellent’ practice head Martha Grekos focuses on the promotion of urban regeneration projects, and is acting for longstanding client Almacantar on all aspects of its office-led redevelopment of 125 Shaftsbury Avenue; Grekos also continued to assist the same client with planning for the redevelopment of Marble Arch Tower. In other highlights the team is advising Galliard on its planning application for the redevelopment of Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium, and is acting for First Base on a 230-apartment scheme in Preston Park, Brighton, which is the client’s first development scheme outside London. Senior associate Laura Nation is the other name to note.

K&L Gates LLP handles a mix of public and private sector work for clients such as London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and Workspace Group. The team, which is particularly adept at handling site regeneration projects and the delivery of infrastructure-enabling development, is headed by Feroze Abbas, who works closely with the London Borough of Hounslow. In 2016 he advised the Borough on infrastructure agreements relating to Chiswick Bridge and Brentford Football Club, and the demolition of Hounslow’s Civic Centre to make way for 940 homes. Another key client of the practice is TH Real Estate, for which Abbas acted on the negotiation of a section 106 agreement relating to a commercial development scheme at Greenwich View. Senior associate Rebecca Daniels is the other main contact.

At Lewis Silkin LLP, public sector specialist Judith Damerell advises on issues arising in land acquisition, infrastructure provision, development proposals, implementation, enforcement, appeals and legal challenges. The practice enjoys a strong housing association following, with clients including London & Quadrant and Peabody Trust; it also acts for a number of public transport providers. Consultant Paul Winter is the other main contact.

Mishcon de Reya LLP provides ‘swift, detailed, and accurate legal planning advice’ and is ‘very good at understanding the client’s needs’. Practice head Anita Rivera, who is praised for her ‘thorough knowledge and holistic approach’, services a strong developer client base that includes Delancey and Capital & Counties Properties. Rivera is acting for the former client on planning issues relating to development plots at its East Village scheme (the former London 2012 Athletes Village) in Stratford. In another highlight Rivera advised TPS Abbeydale Archway on its planning strategy for a redevelopment of a prominent site in Archway. The practice is particularly recommended for its contentious work; managing associate Daniel Farrand successfully acted for Brackenwood Polo in its appeal against South Downs National Park Authority’s decision to refuse retrospective planning permission for an international-class dressage facility. Farrand is also acting for various objectors opposing Chelsea FC's application for the construction of a new 60,000-capacity stadium.

Sharpe Pritchard is ‘a true public sector specialist’. Practice head Brian Hurwitz and Denise Stephenson ‘have first-rate knowledge of both the local government context and planning law, as well as very good client-care skills’. The practice acts for a large number of planning authorities such as Tower Hamlets, Merton, and Kensington and Chelsea, and in 2016 the team advised the London Borough of Wandsworth on a number of contentious planning applications, including the holding of the Formula E motor racing event at Battersea Park, as well as the development of a site at 88 Thurleigh Road, Wandsworth. In both matters the team successfully defended judicial reviews that threatened the schemes. In other highlights Hurwitz assisted London Borough of Lambeth with amendments to the section 106 agreement governing 22-29 Albert Embankment, London.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP is best known for its work on major housing schemes, and the team enjoyed a high volume of instructions in this space in 2016. Practice head Jacqueline Backhaus is acting for London Borough of Enfield on the planning and CPO strategy for the Meridian Water Regeneration Project in Edmonton; she is also advising the Peabody Trust on a £320m housing-led regeneration scheme at a site between Abbey Wood Station and South Mere Lake. The team was also active in the education sector, where it acted for the Secretary of State for Education on numerous planning applications relating to the delivery of the free school programme. Although the focus of the practice is public and third sector, the team does act for clients in the private sector; in one example Backhaus successfully defended a private landowner against a threatened enforcement action by the local planning authority and English Heritage following work carried out at a Grade 2 listed estate. Tim Brown joined from an in-house role with the London Borough of Hillingdon.

At Fladgate LLP, Mark Harnett has been busy handling a mix of contentious and non-contentious mandates, predominantly in the development space. Highlights in 2016 included acting for Hodson Developments on the planning application and associated infrastructure agreement for a substantial residential development at Chilmington Green, Ashford, and representing CLTX in its appeal against an enforcement notice issued by Westminster City Council requiring the brick by brick reconstruction of the demolished Carlton Tavern public house in Maida Vale. Harnett was also active in the waste sector; his work includd advising BP Mitchell on its successful defence to a challenge brought by Tarmac against the decision of Hertfordshire County Council to grant planning for a permanent inert waste recycling facility in the green belt.

Irwin Mitchell’s ‘highly experienced’ team is now led from Gatwick by national head of planning Carl Dyer, who attracts praise for his ‘detailed knowledge of current legislation’. Dyer handled a number of mandates for Cairo Properties, including obtaining planning consent for a 14-storey residential led scheme in Croydon, and then successfully defending the planning permission granted for the scheme against judicial review proceedings brought by an adjacent landowner. The practice is noted for its strong education sector following; Dyer and Gatwick-based senior associate Nicola Gooch, who is ‘versatile and dependable’, are acting for Lambeth College on planning issues arising from the College’s redevelopment and improvement programme in Nine Elms. Other names to note are contentious specialist James Pavey (also based in Gatwick), who successfully represented an individual landowner in a long-running campaign to prevent Mid Sussex District Council from developing a local meadow, and London-based associate Rachel Lee.

Keystone Law is lauded as a ‘market leader in the virtual law firm niche’, and the five-strong team of consultants remained highly active both in the promotion of, as well as the objection to, planning schemes. Ben Garbett, who has ‘good technical knowhow and commercial savvy’, advised Lynton and Barnstaple Railway Trust on a series of planning applications for Phase II of the re-establishment of the Lynton to Barnstaple heritage railway which runs through Exmoor National Park. The team was particularly busy in the contentious space; Garbett acted for joint claimants in a judicial review challenge seeking to quash South Gloucestershire Council’s grant of planning that allowed the use of fields and woodland as a shooting school. Other names to note are David Evans, Oliver Goodwin and Andrew Hignett; Hignett has been handling a number of significant marine sector projects, including the promotion of new statutory powers for the Isle of Wight Council, in its capacity as harbour authority for Newport, in order to regenerate a central part of the town. Barrister Gareth Hughes joined from Gordon Dadds LLP.

Russell-Cooke LLP’s team, which is singled out for its ‘detailed work with fantastic insight’, handled a high volume of contentious mandates in 2016, including acting for Perenco UK in its application to extend the operational life of an oilfield development at Wytch Farm Dorset, and representing Woodcock Holdings in its High Court challenge to the Secretary of State’s refusal of planning for a mixed-use scheme at Sayers Common in West Sussex. In other highlights, the team acted for Stonegate Homes and Littleworth Properties in the first successful judicial review of a Neighbourhood Plan, and advised Big Sur on a judicial review claim against the decision of Bristol City Council not to take enforcement action against an unlawful nightclub. In the non-contentious space, the team assisted Limitbrook with a section 106 agreement relating to brownfield land in Leiston Suffolk, where the site was allocated in a Neighbourhood Plan. Head of practice Alex Groundprovides an efficient service and explains planning matters in a manner that is easy to understand’.

Shoosmiths LLP’s impressive housebuilder following ensured a steady stream of work in the residential sector in 2016; practice head Tim Johnson – who for one client has ‘unmatched ability and knowledge’ – advised Persimmon Homes on various mandates including planning for 3000 dwellings in Northamptonshire. Other clients of the practice include Caprice Holdings and Savills Investment Management; Johnson acted for the latter in relation to the proposed development of land in Essex for 120 dwellings. Contentious highlights included Johnson’s successful representation of Crest Nicholson and CGNU in the Court of Appeal in a judicial review into the grant of planning permission for a business park and 200 residential units in the green belt in Surrey.

At Slaughter and May, associate Richard Keczkes acts for clients such as Carillion and Derwent London, and the team remained active in its key areas of infrastructure projects, football stadia and urban developments. Keczkes’ recent work includes advising Arsenal Football Club on variations to the section 106 agreement governing developments surrounding the Emirates Stadium, and assisting Delancey with the planning strategy for its Queen’s Square mixed-use development in Croydon Town Centre. On the contentious side, Keczkes represented key client Legal & General in its objection to TfL’s Transport and Works Act application to extend the Gospel Oak to Barking over ground railway line to the Barking Riverside development.

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