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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > South West > Real estate > Planning > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Planning
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

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Next generation lawyers

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The planning team at Burges Salmon LLP has experience handling major residential developments and energy projects, and is regularly involved in nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIP). Indeed, Elizabeth Dunn is acting for Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm in relation to its National Grid connection, marking the longest-ever linear NSIP. Department head Gary Soloman is advising Isle of Anglesey County Council on all planning aspects of the proposed nuclear power station at Wylfa and the subsequent 400kV grid connection. In the residential space, Soloman assisted Redrow with the planning agreements for a 900-acre development in North West Cardiff for over 6,000 houses and substantial community and infrastructure provisions. Additionally, Julian Boswall was instructed by Highways England to obtain a development consent order for its M20 J10A project. Patrick Robinson has particular experience with planning litigation and is involved in a dispute regarding the grant of a planning permission, which is likely to reach the Supreme Court. Other key clients include Canal & River Trust, the Environment Agency, and US-based energy technology developer Powersite.

With key instructions from national house builders, Osborne Clarke¬†is often involved in large residential and mixed-use regeneration projects. The ‚Äėuser-friendly‚Äô team also provides ‚Äėclear and concise strategic advice‚Äô to retail-sector corporates on contentious and non-contentious planning issues, and has extensive experience in renewable energy developments. Having advised Western Power Distribution on the planning aspects of the Brechfa Forest Wind Farm, Neil Bromwich, who jointly heads the practice alongside a London-based partner, has received two additional instructions from the client: one concerning the M4 motorway around Newport, and the other regarding HS2. Bromwich is also acting for Taylor Wimpey in relation to a controversial housing scheme in Bristol, which aims to provide 4,500 new houses. Associate director John Webster¬†assisted CoPlan Estates with the compulsory purchase order for a regeneration site in Surrey, which will be developed into a large leisure and retail space. Senior associate Richard Harding¬†provides ongoing planning advice to Barratt Homes, David Wilson Homes and Bloor Homes.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP handles contentious and non-contentious planning mandates for public and private sector clients involved in major national energy projects and regeneration schemes. Jonathan Bower and Katherine Douglas are assisting West Berkshire District Council with the planning aspects of a number of regeneration projects in Newbury, including a mixed-use development at Parkway and the regeneration of an industrial estate at London Road. In the energy space, Victoria Redman advised Vattenfall on the planning aspects of two new offshore wind farms. Similarly, Bower and Redman are handling the land negotiations and strategic planning issues for two multibillion-pound energy developments. The team has also advised corporates such as River Island on the impact of HS2 on its West London headquarters. Additional contacts include Kevin Gibbs and Richard Guyatt. Managing associate Jennifer Holgate joined the team from Pinsent Masons LLP, while Duncan Tilney left for Stephens Scown LLP.

Ashfords LLP is instructed by public sector bodies and housing developers in relation to large regeneration schemes in London and the South West. Of particular note, department head Graham Cridland is assisting the London Borough of Brent with the planning agreements for the £1.7bn Wembley Park Development, which is, at the time of publication, the UK’s largest ongoing build-to-rent scheme. The team also has niche expertise in costal planning. Indeed, David Richardson and senior associate Lara Moore are advising Hastings Harbour Quarter on the planning aspects of a major costal regeneration project at Hastings. In the contentious space, legal director Duncan Moors is acting for Wandsworth Borough Council in relation to the planning application for a mixed-use space, which was called-in by the Mayor of London. Additional key clients include Exeter Estates, the London Borough of Croydon and Bovis Homes.

Clarke Willmott LLP¬†has ‚Äėexcellent all-round knowledge‚Äô of the planning aspects of large residential and regeneration projects and regionally important infrastructure developments. Chris Charlton¬†is advising Cranbrook New Community Partners on a long-running new town development in East Devon, which is projected to bring around 7,500 dwellings. Department head Neil Baker¬†is acting for Curo Places in relation to a multimillion-pound regeneration project at Foxhill Estate in Bath. Similarly, Caroline Waller¬†is advising South Hams District Council on the general planning aspects of a major redevelopment of the Noss Marina. Also of note, Karen Howe¬†assisted Bath Abbey with the permission for certain refurbishments to be made to the Grade 1-listed abbey, in the face of objections by The Victorian Society. The team has also acted for a landowner client in relation to a NSIP.

Stephens Scown LLP is involved in a variety residential and commercial development projects, but has formidable experience in the contentious and non-contentious planning aspects of projects in the mining and mineral sector. Duncan Tilney, who joined the team from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP, represented Red Funnel Ferries in a public inquiry regarding the client’s proposed ferry terminal expansion; following a successful judgment at appeal, Tilney concluded the associated planning agreements with the Isle of Wight Council. Similarly, practice head Christopher Tofts is acting for Imerys Minerals in relation to a comprehensive review of the planning permissions for the largest open quarry site in England; this has included safeguarding certain sites against residential development and representing the client in various hearings. Tofts is also advising Ixora on planning and environmental issues in relation to 20 anaerobic digestion plants throughout the South West. The team has also handled planning permissions for a major hotel and leisure redevelopments.

TLT is involved in large regeneration projects and renewable energy developments, and is particularly active in contested planning matters and judicial reviews. Indeed, Katherine Evans is advising Crematoria Management on judicial review proceedings regarding a decision by the Secretary of State to grant planning permission for one particular site rather than the competing site. Similarly, Evans assisted Viridor with the removal of various planning restrictions in the face of judicial review. The team is also acting for a prominent local body in relation to a number of compensation claims arising from a highly publicised infrastructure project. In the non-contentious space, legal director Fergus Charlton is assisting a joint venture comprising Persimmon Homes and Elan Homes with the planning application for over 800 homes and infrastructure works, including highways and schools, on the outskirts of Barnstaple. Other key clients include WHSmith and London Borough of Brent.

Bevan Brittan LLP’s planning department handles the non-contentious planning aspects of a litany of significant regional and London regeneration projects. Department head Kathryn Lawrance is advising the London Borough of Newham on the planning aspects of its £1.5bn redevelopment of the Carpenters Estate in Newham. Similarly, Lawrance assisted the London Borough of Hounslow with the compulsory purchase of land for a £750m regeneration project in Brentford. The team also has a strong presence in the healthcare sector. Indeed, Lawrance is advising Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust on the planning agreements for the redevelopment of the Chase Farm Hospital. Other key clients include Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Sedgemoor Distric Council and Birmingham City Council.

Davitt Jones Bould has considerable experience with planning mandates for long-running public sector infrastructure and residential projects. Robin de Wreede is assisting Woking Borough Council with certain planning aspects, including compulsory purchase orders, for the £500m regeneration project at Sheerwater. De Wreede also advised The Royal Parks on the works licenses and permissions for the commencement of the construction of the London Cycle Superhighway. The South West team regularly works alongside the firm’s London office, which was strengthened by the arrivals of Penny Jewkes and senior associate Rachel Lindop, who joined from Cambridge City Council and Russell-Cooke LLP, respectively.

Michelmores LLP¬†is instructed by developers, estate trusts, local authorities and other public sector bodies, and has particular expertise in strategtic planning, valuation and ultra vires. Mark Howard¬†heads the department and is noted for his ‚Äėoutstanding legal know-how and commercial acumen‚Äô. Howard assisted a South West local authority with the planning agreements for a large residential development, and also advised a national house builder on a deed of variation for a complex existing planning agreement. In the contentious space, Howard is acting for The Met Office in relation to the planning application for a proposed wind farm that will impact a certain weather radar. The department head is also handling a planning objection for another central government body. Senior associate Sarah Phillips¬†is another contact

DAC Beachcroft LLP¬†provides ‚Äėtotally satisfactory advice‚Äô to local organisations in relation to contested planning matters and also handles non-contentious planning applications for residential developers. Of particular note, legal director Anne Harrison¬†is advising a joint venture comprising Taylor Wimpey and Deeley Freed Estates on the planning agreements for the 5,000 unit Cribbs Patchway New Neighbourhood in South Gloucestershire. The team also provides ongoing advice to Taylor Wimpey in relation to various projects throughout the South West. In the contentious space, Harrison represented Save Stokes Lodge Parkland in High Court claims brought by a landowner following the grant of town and village green status to a particular area in Bristol.

Having picked up several first-time instructions from developers and local authorities, Foot Anstey is establishing itself in the South West planning market. Department head Tim Taylor assisted new client Persimmon Homes with two separate contentious planning issues concerning the appropriation of some of its land by a local authority. Taylor has also begun advising Duchy of Cornwall on the planning aspects of several projects, including in 3,500 unit development in Newquay. Additionally, the team, which includes senior associate James Clark, is acting for Cornwall Council in relation to a 1,500 unit residential development at Langarth Farm and a related mixed-use project at West Langarth Farm. Additional clients include London Borough of Tower Hamlets and Beechcroft Land.

The planning team at Thrings LLP¬†provides landowners and residential developers with ‚Äėa safe pair of hands‚Äô in contentious and non-contentious planning matters. Alex Madden, who heads the planning team, acted for Cotswold Homes in connection with its contested planning permission for a residential development in South Gloucestershire. Acting alongside the Southampton team, Madden also advised the majority of landowners in relation to Pennyfeathers Property Company‚Äôs proposed mixed-use development on the Isle of Wight. Further, the team acted for a third party objector in judicial review proceedings concerning a new planning permission for a residential development in a conservation area. The department has also taken on a number of new lawyers including Matt Gilks, who joined from Dutton Gregory LLP.

VWV¬†provides ‚Äėcomprehensive and consistently solid planning advice‚Äô, but perhaps most importantly, the team ‚Äėtypically finds a way to add value to the projects on which it advises‚Äô. Headed by David Bird, the planning group handles a range of mandates, but has particular expertise in oil pipeline work. Bird advises clients such as Mainline Pipelines and CLH Pipeline System on protective provision agreements and land rights associated with the HS2 project. In the contentious space, Bird represented Redcliffe Homes in a successful appeal against the planning permission for a residential development near Bristol. Additionally, a team including the highly recommended solicitor Thomas Ewings¬†assisted P3 Group with the planning agreements for a development including 1,700 houses, a commercial space and significant infrastructure provisions. The team also has expertise in contentious and non-contentious CPO mandates.

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