Planning and environment in North West

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard‘s Manchester practice has a strong reputation for its ability to advise its noteworthy, industry-spanning clients across the remit of environmental work, in both contentious and non-contentious contexts. The team ably assists on matters ranging from the environmental risks and complexities involved in large-scale M&A transactions, to real estate sustainability, land and ESG issues. The firm’s global environment and sustainability lead Michelle Headrige co-heads the offering alongside Emily Williams, who is noted as being simply one of the best’ and specialises in planning and infrastructure in particular. Stuart Wardlaw is a name to note for his experience in strategic and operational compliance law.

Practice head(s):

Emily Williams; Michelle Headrige

Other key lawyers:

Stuart Wardlaw; Matthew Henshaw; Julie Goulbourne


‘The team are forward-thinking, modern and client-friendly. They understand the balance between having legal expertise and making it accessible for clients. It is clear that they are up-to-date with legal developments and very client-focused.’

‘Emily Williams stands out head and shoulders for not only her considerable experience in planning, inquiry and judicial review work, but also for the seamless manner in which she helps get a case off the ground and ensures the essential issues are addressed and deadlines never missed. She is quite simply a brilliant team member and leader in the field.’

‘The experience and knowledge of Emily Williams in planning litigation and related matters is second-to-none. She is client-focused, commercially aware and has an ability to navigate challenging situations efficiently without drama or fuss. She is also a great team player and a delight to work with.’

‘I am a very big fan of Emily Williams, who is one of the most flamboyantly able solicitors outside of the capital.’

‘Emily Williams is simply one of the best. She appears to handle large and complex litigation with ease, and knows the process inside out. She is quick to respond to client and barrister queries, and great company when stuck on a long case.’

‘Michelle Headrige and Julie Goulbourne provide pragmatic and effective advice particularly regarding nuclear-related environmental matters. The team is particularly strong in litigation defence work and has helped to reduce the severity of threatened enforcement actions by environmental regulators and reach negotiated solutions.’

‘Michelle Headrige and Julie Goulbourne at Addleshaw Goddard are excellent.’

Key clients

Affinity Water

Southern Water

Water Resources South East

Anglian Water Group

South East Water Limited

Threadneedle Investments

Diageo Plc

British Land

BP Oil UK Limited

National Grid Group


Peel NRE

South Tees Development Corporation/Tees Valley Combined Authority

West Midlands Combined Authority

Realty Income Corporation

Liberty Charge Limited

Miller Developments

Next PLC

Cole Waterhouse

Pochin Goodman (Northern Gateway) Limited

Romal Capital

Trinity (CW) Limited

Watkin Jones PLC

Work highlights

  • Advising Peel NRE on environmental liabilities relating to its acquisition, phased demolition and proposed 10-15 year redevelopment of the iconic Fiddlers Ferry Power Station from SSE.
  • Acting for the developer Horizon Cremation Limited resisting an application to challenge in the High Court the decision of the local planning authority to grant planning permission to Horizon for development.
  • Advising Romal Capital (C02) Limited on its planning appeal in respect of the non-determination of a planning application for mixed-use residential-led waterfront scheme at Liverpool Waters, the £5bn regeneration plan pioneered by The Peel Group.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

‘Outstanding practitioners’ Richard Lloyd and Michelle Moss are at the helm of Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP‘s Manchester-based cohort. The team is involved in complex national scale work at the forefront of the sector, an example being its advising on the high-profile HS2 project, on which principal associates Fiona Barker and Sarah Wood have particular presence. It has strong capabilities assisting on planning and environmental aspects of joint venture projects, an example being its work for the English Cities Fund on its £2bn regeneration of Salford Crescent. The team is experienced in handling innovative work, namely being significant regeneration proposals and large housing allocations. Jane Southworth leads the environment team and has a notable focus on ESG-related mandates; she regularly works with principal associate Catherine Manning.

Practice head(s):

Richard Lloyd; Michelle Moss; Jane Southworth

Other key lawyers:

Fiona Barker; Sarah Wood; Hayley Gore; Helen Miller; Catherine Manning


‘Richard Lloyd is an exceptional lawyer, he goes the extra mile to ensure his advice is as project-specific as necessary. Richard is an excellent communicator, he engages well with all members of the client-side team.’

‘The capacity to organise is the team’s key strength, as well as their ability to make information easier from a client perspective. The simple things are done so well and when matters are in dispute, the team are very well-informed, and provide detailed advice in a timely manner to guide cases.’

‘Michelle Moss is very knowledgeable, and can very clearly identify the key issues within any dispute. She hands-on and approachable. Michelle’s knowledge of the compensation code is outstanding and her guidance has been imperative to us in settling a significant number of cases over the last year. She also formulates the best possible arguments where litigation is unavoidable.’

‘Standout performers include Helen Miller and Hayley Gore who have proven themselves on often difficult cases and have facilitated a significant number of disputed cases proceeding to resolution.’

‘Richard Lloyd and Michelle Moss are both outstanding practitioners. Their knowledge and personable natures are unique.’

‘Richard Lloyd is the best in the business in my view.’

‘The team are able to work effectively with client teams who may not have a full technical appreciation of the legal area of work and advice being given. Advice is suitably tailored to suit its audience. The team can anticipate issues, enabling clients to be on the ‘front foot’ throughout.’

‘Richard Lloyd is very experienced and knowledgeable and as such is a thoroughly reliable expert. Hayley Gore is a great asset to planning team, she gives timely, thorough advice on complex issues.’

Key clients

Taylor Wimpey

High Speed Two (HS2) Limited

English Cities Fund

The London Borough of Barnet

Ask Patrizia

Anglian Water Services Limited

Homes England

Muse Developments

Hammerson plc

Peel Group



National Grid

National Grid Ventures No

Thurrock Council

Work highlights

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP‘s Manchester offering is particularly adept at assisting its noteworthy clients on infrastructure matters of national significance across energy, waste and transport sectors. It has notable experience in handling high-value regeneration and urban development planning projects, with a particular specialism in water-related cases. Notably, it continues to advise well-known company United Utilities Water Limited on a multi-million pound proposed new pipeline from Eccles to Manchester Ship Canal, and the team successfully defeated a challenge brought against the client in the High Court in 2022. Mike Pocock leads the practice, while senior associate Elizabeth Nuttall is a key name to note, with a focus on contentious planning work. Emma Hargreaves is noted as ‘a fantastic associate.’

Practice head(s):

Mike Pocock

Other key lawyers:

Emma Hargreaves; Beth Grant; Elizabeth Nuttall


‘An extremely strong practice in breadth and depth with considerable planning and environment expertise across the board on a range of issues.’

‘Mike Pocock is a very good tactician with a fantastic client base which he looks after very well. Emma Hargreaves has a really strong knowledge of planning and environmental law and is a fantastic associate.’

‘The team is known for its strength and depth in TCPA matters. Its lawyers are meticulous and always well-prepared.’

Key clients

United Utilities

Northern Trust Company Limited

London Legacy Development Corporation

Homes England

Land and Lakes Limited

Viridor Waste Limited

Lancashire County Council

Harworth Estates

EP UK Limited


Work highlights

  • Advised United Utilities successfully in securing confirmation of a Compulsory Purchase Order and then defeated a claim brought in the High Court seeking to challenge the decision.
  • Advised EP UK Limited in successfully defending its planning permission for a pulverised ash scheme in the Court of Appeal with judgment handed down in early February 2023.
  • Advising on several Garden Village projects including Stanmore Garden Village in Shropshire and the Heathlands Garden Village in Maidstone demonstrating our expertise in delivering large residential projects.

Clyde & Co

Rod Hunt, described as ‘incredibly hard-working’, has a particular focus on environmental criminal defence work and co-heads the practice at Clyde & Co alongside regulatory specialist, Chris Morrison. The team handles a broad array of complex and high-value matters, both contentious and non-contentious in nature, for its plethora of well-known clients. It frequently advises on a variety of environmental-related criminal issues, from waste and chemical management, to noise abatement, to recycling schemes, and is home to the ‘exceptionally bright’ Stephanie Lunt who stands out for her waste management work.

Practice head(s):

Rod Hunt; Chris Morrison

Other key lawyers:

Stephanie Lunt; Jason Bleasdale


‘The Clyde & Co practice is relatively unique in that is has a blend of subject matter experts and practitioners, a collaborative way of working and immense attention-to-detail.’

‘Team members’ desire and passion for collaborative working and allowing experts to influence what becomes a collective strategy for advancement of an assignment or a case is the key to their success.’

‘Clyde’s team is superb, often working closely with clients in long-term regulatory investigations or matters that take many years to resolve successfully. They have good knowledge of, and work with, some of the best experts in the country.’

Work highlights

Mills & Reeve LLP

Planning specialist Melanie Grimshaw co-heads the Manchester-based cohort at Mills & Reeve LLP alongside expert in the field Claire Gregory. The team has capabilities advising its array of clients, from corporates to nationally known developers, on a broad scope of matters, with a growing focus on contentious environmental and energy work, including advising on criminal regulatory proceedings, and prosecutions. A standout matter in this regard is the team’s representation of New Earth Solutions on the cross-jurisdictional High Court case concerning waste recovery. Consultant and ‘leading player’ Keith Davidson has expertise in environmental law, notably sitting on the Contaminated Land panel for the CIWEM.

Practice head(s):

Melanie Grimshaw; Claire Gregory

Other key lawyers:

Keith Davidson; Tamsin Morris


‘Though an international firm, Mills & Reeve still provide and personal touch in that they are attentive, listen to the issues at hand and, to date, have always come up with a solution that works for both parties. Their wealth of knowledge and experience across sectors makes them stand out from other firms.’

‘Melanie Grimshaw is the first person I go to when an issue arises or when I need a discussion about the best approach to take. She consciously takes the time to understand the problems before coming back with advice. I would have no hesitation in recommending her and look forward to continuing to work with her in the future.’

‘Keith Davidson is market-leading in the negotiation of indemnities associated with contaminated land liability.’

‘The team is an increasingly significant player in environmental law with particular expertise in agriculture, contaminated land and climate change.’

‘Keith Davidson has strong commercial acumen and is a leading player in the environmental law space. He recognises client perspectives on climate change and ably assists customers in commercialising opportunities.’

‘Mills & Reeve support client needs but also ensure their team fully understand our business and projects. 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.’

‘The team provides city of London law firm expertise from a regional cost base. They are exceptionally hardworking, personable and invest considerable time in understanding our business and helping us structure transactions/documents to meet our specific business needs. You never feel like you are getting something off the shelf.’

‘The team ensures that they internalise knowledge transfer between teams such that projects progress seamlessly from acquisition to planning, through construction and on into plot sales. This reduces both cost and risk. The team has good lawyer retention which allows for the building of strong and lasting relationships and corporate knowledge.’

Key clients

Client of LaSalle Investment Management

Wain Estates (Carrington) Limited

Trafford Bruntwood LLP

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

AR Stockton & Co (Property) Limited

Applethwaite Homes (part of the Eric Wright Group)

University of Cambridge

Beauparc Group (New Earth Solutions West Ltd)

Befesa Salt Slags Ltd


DB Symmetry

Leep Utilities

CVC Capital Partners

Marshall Group Properties

Work highlights

  • Advised University of Cambridge in its capacity as a registered statutory objector to Network Rail’s Transport and Works Act Order application for the proposed (Cambridge South Infrastructure Enhancements) Order to authorise the proposed new Cambridge South Station.
  • Advised WAIN Estates (Carrington) Ltd, providing strategic planning and environmental advice in relation to the redevelopment of the 1,665-acre former Shell petrochemical works at Carrington into a new district centre in Trafford.
  • Represented New Earth in the High Court in a judicial review of the Environment Agency’s decision to withdraw consent for the export of ‘air pollution control residue’ or fly ash to Norway for treatment on the island of Langøya, in the Holmestrand Fjord.

Shoosmiths LLP

Shoosmiths LLP‘s ‘well-rounded’ Manchester practice is co-headed by the firm’s national heads of planning, being the ‘exceptionally efficient’ Kathryn Jump, Lisa Tye, and David Mathias, who regularly handles significant CPO work. Legal director Samantha Grange has expertise in CPO objection and compensation work, and the team is formed of specialist planning lawyers, who exclusively work on a broad range of matters. A notable keystone of the practice is its provision of complex planning and highways advice, particularly involving regeneration projects, a key example being its assisting the Royal Borough of Kingston on its large-scale and high-value council estate demolition and reconstruction.

Practice head(s):

Kathryn Jump; Lisa Tye; David Mathias

Other key lawyers:

Samantha Grange


‘A strong real estate and planning team with excellent knowledge and problem solving abilities, who provide clear drafting and advice at all times. They are very commercially-minded and extremely thorough.’

‘Samantha Grange and David Mathias are particularly excellent on CPO work.’

‘The team provides clear, practical and commercial advice.’

‘Kathryn Jump and Lisa Tye give clear, robust and practical advice on compulsory purchase issues.’

‘This is an outstanding and well-rounded team who can handle any task.’

‘Kathryn Jump sets the standard across the sector for leadership and high-quality work. Her advice is excellent, commercial and practical. She is exceptionally efficient and directs large teams extremely well, which is essential in complex matters.’

Key clients

Peel Holdings

Taylor Wimpey

Wirral Growth Company

Allied London

EG Group


Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames

Calderdale Borough Council

Countryside Properties


Work highlights

  • Advising Peel Holdings in relation to the proposed development of over 1,000 new homes on Pomona Island in Trafford.
  • Acting for the Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames on the large-scale regeneration of the only council estate in Kingston, which will involve the demolition of around 830 homes and the construction of 2,500 new ones.
  • Advising Calderdale Council on the delivery of two Garden Suburbs the largest allocations in the draft Calderdale Local Plan delivering more than 3,000 new homes.

Winckworth Sherwood LLP

National head of planning at Winckworth Sherwood LLP, Colette McCormack, is at the helm of the firm’s Manchester practice and splits her time between that office and the firm’s London hub. Legal director Joanne Hannah is a name to note in the team, particularly for her work assisting McCormack in advising Wandsworth and Lambeth councils on the ongoing, multi-faceted, complex and high-value matter involving construction and development around Battersea Power Station. Redevelopment and regeneration projects of significant scale are a regular feature of the team’s workload.

Practice head(s):

Colette McCormack

Other key lawyers:

Joanne Hannah


‘The team has a deep understanding of planning law and ably assists with advice on a range of developments.’

‘Leadership, knowledge and industry contacts that support us with focused advice to support our strategic planning decisions.’

Key clients

Peel Land and Property (Ports) Limited

Barking Riverside Limited

Wandsworth Borough Council

Altered Space

Morris Homes

Keystone & Partners

Peel Land & Property Management Limited

Clarion Housing Group

Eutopia Homes

A2 Dominion Limited

Hollybrook Homes

Walworth Homes (Notting Hill Housing Group)

Work highlights

  • Advising Peel Holdings on its flag ship development Liverpool Waters, the largest single planning application ever seen in the UK when it was submitted in 2010.
  • Advising on the Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area Planning Framework in collaboration with two councils, Transport for London, English Heritage and the landowners.
  • Advising Barking Riverside Development on the planning strategy as well as negotiating a complex Section 106 agreement; the development covers 443 acres and will deliver up to 10,800 homes of various sizes, styles and tenures.

Aaron & Partners LLP

The practice at Aaron & Partners LLP has a strong reputation for its ability to handle the drafting and execution of planning and highways agreements for its portfolio of clients. Alongside its planning expertise, the team has strong experience assisting on a range of environmental and mineral work. At the helm from the Chester office is David Harries, who notably acted for Hillside Parks Ltd in a case against the Snowdonia National Park Authority in the Supreme Court and is noted for offering ‘a calm voice of experience’. The team was consolidated this year by the arrival of specialist planning and environment partner Mark Turner, who joined from FBC Manby Bowdler LLP in June 2022 and works from both the Chester and Shrewsbury offices.

Practice head(s):

David Harries

Other key lawyers:

Mark Turner; Olivia Slade; Bryony Chambers-Towers


‘David Harries is a stand-out partner who is totally on top of the cases. Olivia Slade has an encyclopaedic knowledge of her caseload.’

‘Mark Turner is very knowledgeable and helpful.’

‘The team understands the importance of careful case preparation at all levels of the court system.’

‘David Harries is a calm voice of experience throughout litigation. He ably contributes to both legal argument and overall commercial strategy plans.’

‘Bryony Chambers-Towers does great support work on documents in situations where seamlessness is imperative.’

‘An excellent client-focused team that combines high street accessibility with real know-how.’

‘Mark Turner is a pleasure to work with and a lawyer who really strives to achieve a good outcome for this clients.’

‘The is a very efficient firm that gets to grips with new areas of law swiftly and effectively.’

Key clients

Cornish Lithium plc

Hillside Parks Ltd

Dwr Cymru Welsh Water

Aldi Stores UK Ltd

Bryn Blaen Wind Farm Ltd

Hendy Wind Farm Ltd

Rhoscrowther Wind Farm Ltd

Edenstone Homes Ltd

Morris Homes Ltd

Meadow Foods Ltd

Tudor Griffiths Group

Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust Ltd

North Wales Tidal Energy & Coastal Protection Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acted for Hillside Parks Ltd in the Supreme Court against the Snowdonia National Park Authority; the decision, which largely sided with the Authority, will have wide ramifications for the industry going forward.
  • Advising wind, solar farm and hydroelectric power developers on the development of a number of projects , mainly in Wales, with in excess of half a Gigawatt of installed generation capacity to be brought forward.
  • Advising Aldi Stores UK Ltd on all planning aspects of a number of proposals for new stores, from general support to the client and its planning consultants through agreements to judicial review and strategy.

Dyne Solicitors Limited

Regulatory boutique Dyne Solicitors Limited‘s team is led from Tattenhall by the firm’s head of environmental work and ‘consummate professional’ John Dyne, who has strong experience handling prosecution work in this context. The team has an environmental specialism, with noteworthy abilities handling waste and permitting work, in particular. For the former, the team advises nationally recognised land-fill company clients on large-scale projects. Associate James Edes is noted as ‘absolutely amazing’.

Practice head(s):

John Dyne

Other key lawyers:

James Edes; Jonathon Bell


‘John Dyne is a consummate professional, explaining the exact facts and the likely outcomes of clients’ cases. He is able to clearly outline the prospect of success or otherwise.’

‘The team at Dyne Solicitors are extremely knowledgeable of the law relating to the environmental matter I went to them with and also with the process I would need to follow. I went to them as experts in their field and this is what I found them to be. Their collaboration with third parties, where experts were needed, was inspirational. They are efficient whilst empathetic.’

‘Right from the beginning the team listened, understood the whole situation and then jumped into action on my behalf whilst being sympathetic to my personal situation. I mostly dealt with James Edes with John Dyne. They have a great knowledge of the environment and those that they are coming up against.’

Work highlights

Hill Dickinson LLP

Grant Anderson, who has strong expertise advising on housing and commercial major developments as well as on retail and energy infrastructure projects, leads the Manchester practice at Hill Dickinson LLP. The team is experienced in handling contentious as well as non-contentious work, a key example being its successful defence of Horse Hill Developments Ltd in the Court of Appeal. It advises a range of nationally renowned clients, with a particular focus on those in the oil, gas and energy industry.

Practice head(s):

Grant Anderson

Other key lawyers:

Natasha Bradley


‘Grant Anderson is technically good, commercial in approach, responsive, good to work with and really looks after the clients’ interests.’

‘Can always be relied upon to give practical and sensible advice, that puts the clients’ interests first.’

‘Excellent knowledge of planning laws and regulations.’

Key clients

UK Oil & Gas PLC

Horse Hill Developments Ltd

Iceland Foods Ltd

The Co-operative Group

Lancashire County Cricket Club

FI Real Estate Management

Wakefield MBC



Various NHS Trusts

First Group

The Helmsley Group

Muller Property Group

Legacie Developments

Berkely De Veer

Urbanite Living

Bamford Property Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Horse Hill Developments Ltd in respect of an appeal to the Court of Appeal and now the Supreme Court relating to a legal challenge to the grant of planning permission for hydrocarbon extraction.
  • Advising JCB in respect of a significant proposals to increase its manufacturing capacity in the UK.
  • Advising UK Oil & Gas PLC in relation to the grant of planning permission for hydrocarbon exploration/appraisal following a recovered planning appeal and two subsequent High Court challenges.

Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell‘s practice has strong capabilities in planning, namely on the compliance and regulatory aspects of matters involving mixed-use regeneration schemes, housing and strategic developments. In addition, it has notable experience in advising on both contentious and non-contentious environmental matters in such cases as contaminated land, and assisting developers in meeting ESG targets. Claire Petricca-Riding is at the helm of the Manchester team. Specialist partner in this area Pamela Chesterman, described as ‘engaging, efficient and extremely knowledgeable’, bolstered the north west team with her October 2022 arrival from Brabners LLP.

Practice head(s):

Claire Petricca-Riding

Other key lawyers:

Pamela Chesterman; James Pavey; Victoria Tague


‘Pamela Chesterman is available, knowledgeable, and her advice is trustworthy.’

‘Victoria Tague is excellent. She has a professional and reassuring manner which, coupled with her excellent knowledge of the planning regime in England, makes her a fantastic professional to work with. Her communication skills are first-rate as she provides clear and unambiguous advice.’

‘Pamela Chesterman has vast experience having previously worked for a local authority; she understands matters from both sides as a result and has significant insight – she is always there to give advice and 360 degree view.’

‘Pamela Chesterman is standout on all fronts, from delivery to client engagement! Having that experience of having worked for a local authority is invaluable.’

‘Pamela Chesterman is engaging, efficient and extremely knowledgeable of the law and the sector. Her enthusiasm and ability to assist with planning committees providing legal advice on a wide-range of planning-related topics makes her a firm favourite with committee members and officers. Pamela has the ability to adapt and communicate complex concepts so that they can be understood.’

‘Nothing is too much trouble for the responsive team.’

‘It is a helpful, friendly, personable and knowledgeable practice.’

Key clients

Realty Estates Limited (Boddingtons)

Tobermory S.A.R.L. (GNW)

Vistry Group

Henry Davidson Developments Limited

Artisan Developments Limited

BXB Cottam Limited

Whitkirk Waste Solutions Limited

Whitley Parish Council

Ledwyche Solar Limited

Artisan Developments

Rula Developments Ltd

Grants Pro Agri Limited


Vistry Group


Soho Estates

Initial Parking Limited

SGL Properties Limited

Bellway Homes (NW) Limited

Prosperity LLP

South Kesteven District Council

South Lakes Council

Work highlights

  • Advising Tobermory on its redevelopment of the Great Northern Warehouse in Manchester city centre.
  • Advising Soho Estates on its development portfolio and planning issues in relation to Ilona Rose House in Soho.
  • Advising Reconomy on its purchase of Casepak.


TLT‘s team is led from Manchester by specialist in planning and development law Debbie Reynolds, described as 'particularly strong in managing large development projects through the planning process'. The cohort regularly advises private and public sector clients, with a particular focus on local government bodies including Cheshire East and Warrington Borough, on a range of high-value matters often in collaboration with its wider national teams. Such matters include advising on major town centre regenerations, housing and highway infrastructure schemes and CPOs.

Practice head(s):

Debbie Reynolds


‘TLT is a really good quality law firm. Their planning and environment law practice is strong and they do a lot of very high quality compulsory purchase and compensation work.’

‘I have worked, in particular with Debbie Reynolds in Manchester; she is a very competent partner, who does a lot of compulsory purchase and compensation work, often promoting large schemes in various parts of the country. She is excellent to work with and very knowledgeable.’

‘This practice acts on behalf of both the development industry and local authorities, which is its great strength as it gives them unrivalled insight into the practice of both the private and public sector. They are particularly strong on strategic planning, large-scale public inquiries and CPOs.’

‘Debbie Reynolds specialises in complex CPO matters in relation to substantial infrastructure schemes and is particularly strong in managing large development projects through the planning system, including in relation to legally complex and technically difficult proposals.’

Key clients

Warrington Borough Council

Cheshire East Council

Castlefield Estates Ltd

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

Oxfordshire County Council


Sherwin Rivers Ltd

Hydes Brewery Ltd

Warren James (Jewellers) Ltd

Merlin Entertainments

Hawthorn Leisure

Work highlights

  • Advising Oxfordshire County Council on land assembly, highways, strategic planning and statutory matters surrounding a series of major highway infrastructure improvements.
  • Advising Cheshire East Council on the Middlewich Eastern Bypass, a £74m highway infrastructure scheme, which aims to bypass Middlewich town centre, linking the A54 and the A533 to Sandbach and Northwich.
  • Advising Warrington Borough Council on the high profile Western Link highway scheme, a £212m of infrastructure that will improve the highway network and unlock development land.

Weightmans LLP

The Manchester practice at Weightmans LLP is co-led by Simon Colvin from that office, and Leeds-based Lee Gordon. It has strong capabilities in handling a varied workload, which involves advising on infrastructure projects, CPOs and energy-related issues, a noteworthy example being its work for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority on the multi-billion Mersey Tidal Energy Project. In addition to its planning expertise, it handles transactional, advisory and compliance-related environmental work, as well as contentious matters of this nature. Partner Michelle Spark and legal director Elaine Field both departed to Brabners LLP in January 2023.

Practice head(s):

Simon Colvin; Lee Gordon

Other key lawyers:

Nick Barker


‘The team offers wide-ranging experience, from acting in waste matters to acting on more general environmental cases for public authorities. It has a strong client list, particularly in the north west.’

‘Simon Colvin knows the business very well and is very pragmatic in seeking solutions to problems if they can be found.’

‘A dedicated team who go over and above for their clients, with a real feel for the sector – they genuinely leave no stone unturned in seeking options for the client.’

‘A great team that integrates its environmental and real estate services.’

‘Nick Barker has strong commercial acumen and provides clear direction on matters.’

‘I think Weightmans’s team is excellent, offering a real strength-in-depth and attention-to-detail, combined with strategic vision.’

‘Lee Gordon is a star. He has excellent skills, and is both meticulous and imaginative. He is very popular with clients.’

Key clients

Royal Mail Group

S Norton & Co

Peel Ports Group


Certas Energy

Severn Trent Water

Vinci Plc and Taylor Woodrow

First Industrial Services Ltd

Ford Motor Company Ltd

Anglesey Aluminium Ltd/Rio Tinto

Valencia Waste Management


British Insurance Brokers Association

Brittany Ferries

Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council

Viridor Waste Management Ltd

Nature Capital Ltd/Zulu Forest Sciences

Rijk Zwaan

O&H Land

Northern Powergrid

Welsh Government

City of York Council

Harlow & Gilston Garden Town partner authorities

Prospect Estates Limited

Leeds City Council

Royal Mail Group

Nottinghamshire County Council

Casey Group Limited

Populo Living

Barratt & David Wilson Homes

Charnwood Borough Council


Bolton Council

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Gloucestershire County Council, Cotswold District Council and Tewkesbury Borough Council

Thornton Hall Hotel Limited

Robinsons Brewery

Work highlights

  • Advising Liverpool City Region Combined Authority on the promotion of a multi-billion major tidal energy project with the potential to power 300,000 homes (more than all the homes in Liverpool).
  • Advising Anglesey Aluminium (part of the Rio Tinto group) in relation to the former aluminium smelting works near Holyhead, Wales, acting on the disposal of the site and the transfer of the consents for the biomass development to Orthios.
  • Advised Thornton Hall Hotel in its high-profile planning dispute with Thornton Manor Hotel, including success in both the Court of Appeal and at a recent planning inquiry.

Brabners LLP

Specialist planning partner Michelle Spark, who joined from Weightmans LLP in January 2023 along with legal director Elaine Field, leads the practice at Brabners LLP from the firm’s Manchester and Leeds offices. It ably advises predominantly local governments and private developers on significant redevelopment projects. Changes to the team include the departure of specialist associate Alexandra Jones to Shoosmiths LLP in May 2022 and the departure of planning partner Pamela Chesterman who left to Irwin Mitchell in October 2022.

Practice head(s):

Michelle Spark

Other key lawyers:

Elaine Field


‘A great team.’

‘Excellent planning specialists who are highly approachable and knowledgeable.’

Key clients

Cumbria County Council and Eden District Council

Cheshire West and Chester Council

Peel Ports Limited


Oldham Borough Council

Hebburn Riverside Development Limited

Albert Gubay

Work highlights

  • Advised Cumbria County Council and Eden District Council on the A66 Northern Trans-Pennine DCO being promoted by National Highways.
  • Advising Oldham Borough Council on listed buildings’ Compulsory Purchase Orders.
  • Advising ION as development partner on the Hind Street Regeneration Project.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper‘s national team is led by planning specialist Trevor Ivory from Birmingham and environment specialist Teresa Hitchcock from Sheffield. National lead partner for compulsory purchase agreement-related matters, the ‘very personable’ Sophie Stewart is the name to note in Manchester; she handles a broad array of town and country planning matters, specialising in regeneration projects of considerable scale. Legal director Richard Buxton has a notable environmental specialism.

Practice head(s):

Trevor Ivory; Teresa Hitchcock

Other key lawyers:

Sophie Stewart; Richard Buxton


‘DLA’s team is knowledgeable, responsive and solution-focused. They can swiftly draft required clauses and deal efficiently with queries.’

‘Sophie Stewart is very personable, focused and willing to discuss various ways of addressing certain issues. She can also highlight key risks and suggest appropriate options for mitigation.’

Key clients

Halton Borough Council

Liverpool Football Club and Athletic Grounds Limited

Downing Group

HS2 Limited

Cheshire West and Chester Council

Regal London

Faro Capital

National Highways

Work highlights

  • Appointed to provide support on two major projects – the examination in public of the Greater Manchester joint DPD “Places for Everyone” and the forthcoming DCO submission by Gloucestershire CC of a DCO for Junction 10 improvements on the M5.
  • Advising on multiple regeneration projects including the new Widnes Leisure Centre, Runcorn Station Quarter, an extension to the science park in Daresbury, a new highways junction at Widnes Loops and an assisted living scheme with Halton Housing.

gunnercooke LLP

gunnercooke LLP‘s environment team is experienced in advising its portfolio of clients on waste and energy-related environmental matters, in particular, and regularly advises on related compliance issues and advises in defence against regulation bodies. Anna Willetts, noted as ‘supremely knowledgeable on waste legislation’ is the key name to note in Manchester.

Other key lawyers:

Anna Willetts


‘The team comprise a collection of individuals who are able to work to their individual strengths in the way they consider best suits their clients as well as to access other specialisms in the team where needed.’

‘Anna Willetts is supremely knowledgeable on waste legislation and how it is, or should be, applied in practice. Her technical background and expertise gives her added advantages in this field. She is very good at keeping her clients informed of the realistic outcomes of issues under consideration.’

‘Their extensive knowledge of operational and industry custom and practice gives them a vital understanding of where and how their legal knowledge is applied.’

‘Anna Willets is our contact and she has extensive industry knowledge which enables her to apply her legal knowledge in a targeted way. It also saves a great deal of time because we do not have to extensively explain our waste management processes and practices.’

Key clients

Ripley Property Holdings Ltd.

Calder Valley Skip Hire Limited

Fowles Crushed Concrete Limited

J&J Transport Limited

Golf Environmental (UK) Limited

Killoughery Waste Management Limited

Kitewood Estates Limited

Stockley Park Golf Club Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Fred Walter & Sons Ltd on an option negotiated on behalf of the landowner to Hive for lease of land.