Environment and planning in South East
B P Collins LLP's environment team advises on corporate, regulatory and property issues, with a strong reputation in the waste management sector. The team includes principal lawyer Jonothan Moss, who offers 30 years' criminal and regulatory experience, including trial advocacy. Department head Alex Zachary advises clients on waste management, recycling and renewables, having led on more than 40 mergers and acquisitions in these sectors. Elsewhere in the team, David Smellie is a commercial contracts specialist while Craig Williams leads on the disputes side of the practice.
The Biffa Group
Ice Energy Technologies
i2O Water Limited
2K Polymer Systems Limited
- Advised a leading alternative energy plant in connection with Environment Agency prosecution following ‘category 1’ pollution event.
- Advised a renewables business on the sale of its landfill gas electricity generation business to the industry leader.
- Advised a leading waste management company on terms of rail haulage agreement.
Blake Morgan LLP's specialist planning team is best known for its judicial review work, and has more than 15 years' experience acting for major housing developers. The Oxford-based practice acts for a number of Wales-based clients and has an in-house team of planning consultants. Guthrie McGruer leads the department and is an expert in compulsory purchase law, with significant experience in dealing with judicial reviews and statutory challenges. He has also been involved in many High Court and Court of Appeal cases, negotiating complex Section 106 agreements on behalf of both developers and local authorities.
Other key lawyers:
‘Great for planning in the South East.‘
‘Guthrie McGruer is very knowledgeable.‘
‘Great access to the team and the ability to give practical advice to problem solve quickly and decisively.‘
‘Both Guthrie McGruer and Keith Lancaster are approachable with an ability to understand issues quickly and willingness to share in-depth knowledge quickly.‘
Cooper Estates Strategic Land
Euro Foods Group
Oxford Preservation Trust
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board
Public Health Wales
Welsh Ambulance Service Trust
Southampton International Airport
- Acted for Southampton International Airport in defeating a judicial review claim by an objector to a permission granted in favour of the clients by Southampton City Council on land adjacent to the airport.
- Acting for Euro Foods Group on a £7m claim for compensation following land in their ownership being taken compulsorily for the Crossrail scheme.
Blandy & Blandy LLP's Reading office handles the full range of environmental and planning matters, and advises on legal issues concerning high-profile sites and major projects across the region. The firm recently invested in a new practice management IT system, further streamlining much of the legal process for clients. Practice head Karen Jones' expertise includes strategic planning advice, appeals, public inquiries and environmental law, with an emphasis on regulatory enforcement. Associate solicitor Victoria Charlesson has significant experience in applications for certificates of lawfulness and development, advising on town and village greens, planning enforcement appeals/prosecutions and section 106 agreements.
Other key lawyers:
‘So far we have used Blandys planning team and have just commenced updating our wills will another partner.’
‘We have them constructive and efficient with respect to both activities and despite Covid.’
‘We have found Blandys to be more efficient and thorough than our previous solicitors.’
‘They have both a positive approach focused on our interests with very clear and sensible advice. Their research has found some gems for us and really strengthened our case.’
‘The team are very experienced across all planning matters and offer clear, commercial pragmatic planning advice.’
‘Karen Jones is supremely knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with. A real team player.’
Reading Borough Council
University of Reading
The British Museum
Englefield Estate Trust Corporation
- Advising Reading Borough Council and negotiating Section 106 terms and provisions for the initial phase of the Station Hill redevelopment at Reading.
- Advising R Collard on the progress and procedure of the Diversion Order under s257 Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
- Instructed by the British Museum instructed to assist in completing highways agreements under s38/s278 Highways Act 1980.
The team at Cripps Pemberton Greenish is well-known for its work in the housebuilding sector and are the only law firm to sit on the Kent Developers Group. The firm has recently seen an increase in judicial review work and the team has also been involved in a number of call-in inquiries and planning appeals. Beth Gascoyne, who was elevated to the partnership in 2019, has over 13 years' experience as a planning lawyer in both private practice and central government. Philip Youdan is the name to note for contentious environmental matters, while planning expert Jason Towell leads the practice.
‘First rate professional knowledge and great attention to detail. Prompt attention and ability to stick to a budget/fee proposal.‘
‘Approachable, knowledgeable – totally professional approach. Wise advice in difficult negotiations.‘
Liberty Property Trust UK
Martin Grant Homes
Town and Country Housing
- Advised Wates Developments and Redrow Homes’ Section 106 agreement for 1,500 dwelling garden town development in Bicester.
- Acted on a 1,800 dwelling Green Belt development for Martin Grant Homes Limited.
- Advised Berkeley Homes (Eastern Counties) Limited on Section 106 agreement on two phases, totalling 517 dwellings.
DMH Stallard LLP
DMH Stallard LLP's planning and environment group includes a full planning consultancy, which offers legal advice on everything from site promotion to appeals. The team have significant experience in acting for both claimants and defendants in judicial reviews and applications in the senior courts. Heidi Copland leads the department and is particularly skilled in the negotiation and drafting of section 106 agreements, highways and infrastructure agreements. Chloe Karamian has advised on a number of major agreements, including for a large residential development for an affordable housing provider and a mixed use regeneration scheme in London.
Other key lawyers:
‘DMH Stallard are probably the “go-to” planning solicitors and consultants in southern England – one of the leading firms for advice and representation in matters of planning and environmental law and practice. I frequently recommend them. They combine experienced leading practitioners, both as solicitors and chartered planning consultants at the highest levels. In my experience as a barrister practising in the same fields of work, they are amongst the most versatile and responsive firms, able to provide the necessary level of skills for the complete range of services, from major strategic planning to smaller problems in day to day development management and enforcement.‘
‘Heidi Copland and Chloe Karamian are highly skilled planning lawyers. They are approachable, extremely hardworking and willing to go the extra mile to find solutions and support clients to meet deadlines.‘
‘Highly responsive and professional team. Client-focused and proactive in formulating solutions to key issues.‘
‘DMH Stallard’s team provide an excellent and efficient service in drafting the S106 agreements for our planning team.‘
‘Heidi Copland – Simply brilliant. Wears her obvious expertise lightly and is very popular with clients as a consequence. A diligent and practical lawyer who is always quick to find practical solutions to the clients’ problems.’
‘Chloe Karamian is a total star. Completely on top of every case, a joy to work with. Always brings a novel perspective to complex cases and draws on her previous local authority experience to guide clients through the planning system.‘
‘The team is efficient and competent. They handled a specialist case with diligence and great attention to detail.‘
Town & Country Vibro
Crawley Borough Council
English Cities Fund
Hollamby Estates (2005) / Lower Herne Developments
Newhaven Port and Properties
Orbit Homes South
The Community Stadium Limited / Brighton & Hove Albion FC
Valley Gardens CIC
Wealden & Rother District Councils
Withdean Commercial Property / IMEX Group
- Providing planning and legal advice in respect of a £150m regeneration scheme on the edge of the South Downs National Park to provide 600 new homes, community facilities and an IKEA store.
- Advising in respect of a major regeneration scheme in the London Borough of Newham to deliver over 800 new homes (50% affordable), commercial space and a linear park.
- Providing planning and legal advice in respect of a £25m mixed use regeneration scheme in Hove centred around a Synagogue.
Holmes & Hills
Holmes & Hills' planning and development team provides strategic planning advice to developers, land and property owners, local planning authorities and community action groups. On the disputes side, the team has significant experience in the higher courts, and also advises clients involved in criminal proceedings in the magistrates' and county courts. The practice is jointly led by Steven Hopkins and Michael Harman; other key team members include consultant David Whipps, and senior solicitors Tom McPhie and Joanna Lilliott.
‘The team always make themselves available and respond quickly to queries irrespective of the complexity of the matter and provide clear understandable explanations, which is particularly helpful when issues are often tied up with legal jargon.‘
‘Tom McPhie has a friendly and approachable way of providing legal and related strategy advice. He is always willing to assist and his advice has been highly effective in helping to pave the way forward for positive outcomes on complex planning instructions. It is professionally comforting to have such a reliable and personable ‘go to’ legal contact.‘
‘The team at Holmes & Hills is approachable, responsive, affable, and always have time to deal with all categories of enquiry. They are not afraid of expressing opinions and pursuing trains of thought that are healthy and can lead to very agreeable solutions. On the odd occasions where conflicts of interest have prevented working together, other firms have been very disappointing in comparison.‘
‘Steven Hopkins is personable, thoughtful, knowledgeable, and with a great sense of humour makes the working life very pleasant indeed.’
‘Jo Lilliot is second to none in her speed and accuracy. She ‘gets it’ immediately.‘
‘The team have an excellent understanding and application of planning law. They are the “go to” firm for planning law in the region. They are always available to discuss matters and respond quickly to legal issues.‘
‘Steven Hopkins has an excellent knowledge of planning law and its application. He is a very good advocate in planning inquires and other formal hearings.‘
‘Excellent service and attention to detail. Straightforward and direct advice. Very proactive.‘
Thorpe Hall Leisure
Babergh District Council
Braintree District Council
Colchester Borough Council
Forest Heath District Council
Harlow District Council
Tendring District Council
Andrew Martin Planning
Aspire Luxury Homes
Chelmsford Cars & Commercials
Colchester United Hospitality
Fristling Hall Farm
Gent Fairhead & Co
Humphreys & Sons
Phase 2 Planning & Development
Trustees of Marks Hall Estate
Wilkin & Sons
- Instructed to act on behalf of Aspire Luxury Homes Limited to provide advice in respect of the interpretation of a S106 agreement relating to the provision of social housing.
- Acted for Thorpe Hall Leisure regarding an application to the High Court for a statutory review to quash a decision to dismiss an application to build 200 residential dwellings on the land of their spa and hotel, made by a planning inspector on behalf of the Secretary of State.
- Advised Harlow District Council in relation to a potential Article 4 Direction to remove Class O permitted development rights so as to prevent further conversion of large office blocks into residential dwellings, to curtail the proliferation of unsuitable housing in the district, which became the topic of a large part of a BBC Panorama documentary into unsuitable housing.
Irwin Mitchell has a strong track record in promoting mixed-use regeneration schemes involving former brownfield land, and the team is also currently seeing more work within the retirement living sector. Former Brabners LLP practice head Claire Petricca-Riding joined in late 2019 to lead the national practice from Manchester; in Gatwick, newly promoted partner Nicola Gooch is a regeneration project specialist, while James Pavey handles significant contentious matters.
‘The planning team work well together, which makes them very responsive, and enables them to address matters quickly and efficiently.‘
‘I have worked with Nicola Gooch on a number of planning judicial reviews. She is extremely diligent and particularly adept at communicating with her clients, being able to step into her clients’ shoes with ease and think of creative solutions.‘
Artisan Bristol City Wall
Greater Brighton Metropolitan College
The Jaspar Group
Save our Valleys
- Dealt with all of the planning aspects for the conversion of the former Everard’s Print Works in Bristol.
- Negotiated a Section 106 Agreement for a 3 storey extension and 135 residential unit scheme at Brighton College.
- Dealt with the planning aspects on a number of significant housing developments within the Wealden District Council area.
Shoosmiths LLP's planning department is led by Karen Howard and regularly advises private clients who require support in strategic land promotions and development. The team also advises on schemes regarding habitat regulations and air quality matters. On the environmental side, the South East practice - which is headed up by Milton Keynes-based Charles Arrand - undertakes both regulatory and transactional support work. In particular, the practice has a reputation for dealing with contentious environmental matters including investigations and prosecutions.
‘The team is a core part of Shoosmith’s regulatory offering and have a wide range of bluechip clients who trust them to advise them on tricky environmental issues whenever they arise. They also have good planning expertise but their real expertise is managing regulatory issues arising from permits, consents and other environmental issues.‘
‘Charles Arrand and Joanne Sear are both excellent. Charles has a lifetime of experience in regulatory law while Joanne is a genuine environmental expert with great experience from her time with the Environment Agency.‘
Commercial Estates Group
Dartmouth Park Estates
S & J Padfield
Churchill Retirement Living
Arun District Council
McCarthy & Stone
First Mile Recycling
- Advised a major European manufacturer of specialist engineering parts following a major environmental incident where hazardous chemicals were discharged to the sewer.
- Advising Buckland Development on a strategic strategic housing allocation of 6000 houses which are necessary to meet the need of the South Hampshire Urban Area.
- Acting for a consortium of developers and land owners delivering up to 3,000 residential units and necessary supporting infrastructure in Romsey, Hampshire.
Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors
Led by recently promoted partner Salvatore Amico, Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors' team deals exclusively with town and country planning matters, acting on behalf of local authorities, property developers, planning consultants and private individuals. In particular, the team undertakes advocacy at Local Plan, Section 78 and, Enforcement Appeal Inquiries. Their recent merger with London firm Stafford Young Jones has extended the team's focus more deeply into the capital. The hugely experienced Rob Jameson remains a consultant at the firm.
Other key lawyers:
‘The skill, knowledge and expertise of Rob Jameson and his ability to get to the key issues and explain things clearly and concisely is excellent.‘
Stop Benego Quarry
Cheltenham Tewkesbury and Gloucester CIL Examination
South West Herts Authorities
Daventry District Council
Kettering District Council
Corby District Council
North Weald Bassett Parish Council
Hertsmere District Council
- Advised NNJPU on a range of issues including climate change policy.
- Represented a group of concerned residents who oppose plans for gravel extraction in Bengeo, north of Hertford.
BDB Pitmans' planning team works closely with its real estate and insolvency departments to handle complex strategic contractual work in this area. The practice has extensive experience of both section 106 agreements and CIL regulations and also leads on judicial review and statutory review proceedings. Christina Daniels leads the team and specialises in residential and mixed-use developments, having a niche specialism in highway rights of way, village green and assets of community value work.
‘Excellent strength in depth, one of the largest teams but with good people at all levels.’
Cala Group Limited/Banner Homes Group
South Northamptonshire District Council
- Advising Redrow Homes in connection with a mixed use canal side scheme in Wembley.
- Advising CALA Management Limited in connection with a development of a site in Lancing.
- Advising CALA Homes on the redevelopment of a site to provide 280 residential units.
Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's team acts for clients in the engineering, energy, chemical production, manufacturing and waste management sectors. Water pollution, hazardous waste and landfill are among other areas of specialisation. Richard Smith leads the practice.
Stevens & Bolton LLP's environment group is best known for its expertise in liabilities for environmental damage, including land/soil contamination, water pollution and damage to natural resources, and insurance for such liabilities. Practice head Valerie Fogleman represents clients on all aspects of environmental and climate change law including claims under environmental insurance policies, as well as environmental due diligence in a wide range of share and asset transactions. Markus Klempa provides property litigation support for the real estate/commercial property team where advice is required in relation to environmental liabilities arising from leases.
Other key lawyers:
‘Stevens & Bolton stands out from others with its professionalism and practical experience combined with the deep legal knowledge.‘
‘Valerie Fogleman has huge practical experience and theoretical knowledge. I appreciate very much her professionalism and expertise.‘
- Advising AXA XL on various claims concerning environmental liabilities in environmental insurance and general liability policies.
- Working on a project for WWF-Canada on their work concerning offshore oil and gas operations in the Arctic and liability, compensation and financial security for such operations.
- Leading a consortium project on ‘Improving Financial Security in the context of the Environmental Liability Directive’ for the European Commission.
EMW Law LLP
EMW Law LLP's specialist planning practice is led by Marco Mauro, who has significant experience acting for developers, landowners, investors, financial institutions, occupiers and high net worth individuals. The team typically works on planning appeals, all planning related agreements, and providing due diligence on property and corporate transactions. The department has also successfully objected to planning applications with judicial review on behalf of both claimants and respondents.
Taylor French Development
Stonewater Housing Association
Inter MK Limited
Milton Keynes Community Foundation
Milton Keynes Development Partnership
Brampton Valley Homes
- Negotiated planning obligations and conditions and tactical advice in order to secure planning permission for the development of 328 apartments on behalf of Abbeygate Developments.
- Acting for Bovis Homes in connection with one of their residential sites in Northamptonshire comprising of the development of over 130 homes and advising in connection with a section 106 agreement to secure additional development at this site.
- Assisted with the planning due diligence in relation to the acquisition and put in place variations to planning agreements to amend retail restrictions and floor space on behalf of Claymore Phoenix.
Lester Aldridge LLP's planning team has a focus on work for housebuilders, advising a number of well-known clients in the sector, and also works with regional and local developers, handling both contentious and non-contentious matters. The team is led from Southampton by Tom Alder, who has a niche practice acting for ports and marinas; he recently advised on the process to secure consent for the delivery of a new marina to accompany a substantial new waterside residential development.
Other key lawyers:
McCarthy & Stone
C & G Properties Plc
CHG Developments Limited
Poole Harbour Commissioners
McCarthy & Stone
C & G Properties Plc
- Advising CHG Developments in respect of the development of a nine-storey hotel and a 21-storey residential block to act as an ‘iconic gateway building’ in Southampton.
- Advising a regional developer in respect of a planning application in Hampshire which was affected by the nitrates development moratorium, and drafting a bespoke unilateral undertaking, agreed by the local planning authority, to secure offset mitigation land.
- Advising a national housebuilder on the lawful use of the Minor Material Amendment procedure in order to gain the local planning authority’s consent to amendments to a substantial permitted regeneration scheme.