Burges Salmon LLP is highlighted for its strong expertise in the full life cycle of nationally significant infrastructure projects in the energy and infrastructure space; as well as in handling CPOs. Its impressive client portfolio includes local authorities and developers, which call upon the team in advisory, strategic and contentious matters. It is led by Gary Soloman who can offer extensive know-how in regeneration projects, developments and highway proposals. Energy-specialist Patrick Robinson, NSIP-experts Elizabeth (Liz) Dunn and Julian Boswall as well as senior associate Laura Fuller are integral team members.
Planning in South West
Other key lawyers:
Patrick Robinson; Elizabeth (Liz) Dunn; Laura Fuller; Julian Boswall; Alex Minhinick
‘Quite simply, the serenity and control that they present to me as a client. It gives me enormous assurance to see the team in control, doing what they said they would and providing high quality advice. I get a real sense that lessons have been learnt from experience and that they are being utilised for my benefit.’
‘Capable and responsive.’
‘Collaboration between depts. is very strong. BS have seamlessly drawn across numerous legal specialism to provide clear and direct advice to us and importantly been able to communicate this as part of the negotiations.’
‘Very efficient with excellent knowledge and case management.’
‘Excellent experience and knowledge from key individuals with respect to the NSIP regime.’
‘Patrick Robinson is excellent; thoughtful about case strategy and excellent with clients.’
‘Alex Minhinick is my main point of contact and has become a trusted advisor. Alex provides assured advice, spots potential issues and works very well with my team. He does so with an easy charm that fits well with the way we go about our business.’
‘Concise and clear communication in negotiations; detailed understanding of all the documentation; kept the legal points of detail between the solicitors so the key commercial points remain the focus of the discussions.’
Isle of Anglesey County Council
Department for Transport
YTL Property Holdings
Historic Royal Palaces
Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Wallace Land Investment and Management Limited
Torbay Borough Council
Progressive Energy Limited
North Somerset Council
Sofia Offshore Windfarm Limited
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
- Advised Highways England on multiple major motorway and A-road projects throughout the country.
- Advised YTL Property Holdings on the Filton airfield site project, a major housing, infrastructure, commercial and leisure development to the north of Bristol.
- Advised Equinor on the Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon Extensions, two huge offshore wind projects in north Norfolk.
Osborne Clarke LLP is praised for its 'brilliant capacity to offer straightforward and clear advice in complex situations.' The team has extensive experience in the full range of advisory and contentious planning matters, in particular in the areas of energy and transport infrastructure as well as commercial and residential properties. Clients regularly instruct the group in CDOs and other strategic planning mechanisms. Neil Bromwich is a dedicated planning specialist, and he leads the practice with London-based John Baird. Associate director Richard Harding is appreciated for his 'methodical and logical approach.'
Neil Bromwich; John Baird
Other key lawyers:
‘The team provide a professional yet friendly and approachable service. Work is always completed to an extremely high standard in a timely manner. I believe the work carried out is often to a higher standard compared with other firms. Work is always well distributed within the team and there is always someone able to pick up with appropriate background if other members of the team are unavailable.’
‘The team always responds well in a focused manner and provides clients with a range of solutions to problems. Its planning team is well resourced and well informed. OC have regularly undertaken virtual seminars on key topics during lockdown.’
‘I deal with Richard Harding primarily for S106 agreements and find the service he provides is first class, will make himself available to suit client needs & has a very methodical and logical approach with an understanding of the developers position.’
‘Osborne Clarke’s real estate planning practice are a very capable team who provide a excellent, professional service. Advice is provided quickly and always with a commercial perspective. They have good knowledge of emerging policies and legal issues. We have received very good advice for example on the complexities around CIL regulations. They take a flexible approach and will work with you to understand what your requirements and budget are to ensure you get appropriate advice.’
‘Neil Bromwich has a huge breadth and depth of knowledge on planning law, and a lot of experience working with major house builders. He is able to articulate complex advice in a way that is easily understandable, and he is very approachable and interested in working with you to solve problems.’
‘The team is broad in expertise and has a brilliant capacity to offer straightforward and clear advice in complex situations. They are very human in their approach and are not shy of giving meaningful opinion. They are a very good extension of our in house team. ’
‘Wealth of experiencing in the house building sector. Members of the team are proactive and attentive to clients. They have an extremely good working relationship with Local Planning Authority’s Legal Teams, which is imperative with some of the major residential schemes.’
‘The OC team have a breadth of knowledge that enables them to assist with our development work to enhance the delivery of homes on our developments.’
BDW Trading Limited (Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes)
Energy Networks Association
Marks and Spencer Plc
Western Power Distribution
St Modwen Developments Limited
Swindon Borough Council
Peak Gen Power
University of Bristol
Enovert Management Limited
- Providing Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes with strategic (group level) advice alongside our regular acquisition/disposal related instructions.
- Advising Vistry on the development of a site in East Grinstead with a major green space provision.
- Advising Countryside Properties as the partner of Chichester District Council in the development of a significant strategic land site for up to 1,300 new homes at Tangmere, near Chichester.
Ashfords LLP's team is noted for having 'extensive knowledge of planning law', for which it is instructed by clients from the house builder and public sector. It is experienced in compulsory purchase and compensation (CPO) and community infrastructure levy issues; practice head David Richardson is well versed in this work. He often acts on residential and mixed use developments. Legal director Duncan Moors is a key contact for local authority clients and Lara Moore, also a legal director, specialises in marine planning.
Other key lawyers:
Lara Moore; Duncan Moors
‘Ashfords are extremely professional, friendly and prompt in the delivery of their advice. I would have no hesitation in engaging them in the future.’
‘David Richardson is very helpful and always ready and willing to discuss over the telephone. The level of expertise is excellent and have always found him both approachable and helpful in the delivery of service that we would expect from a firm of this stature.’
‘Collectively, the Ashfords LLP Planning Team has an extensive knowledge of planning law which is unrivalled in the region. As a team they are able to assist and advise where necessary in a timely and considerable manner, including on occasions that require cross-departmental input. A major difference that I have found between Ashfords and other firms, is the openness of Practice. By having regular meetings with the Planning Team we are able to openly discuss ongoing projects in a more informal manner, which from experience, enables the Team to take the initiative to drive projects forward to ensure deadlines are met.’
Devon County Council
Barratt David Wilson
London Borough of Wandsworth
Brick by Brick Croydon Limited
London Borough of Brent
Torridge District Council
- Advising Cornwall Council on the use of powers of compulsory purchase to acquire land and rights required to deliver its Saints Trails project, a 30km network of multi-user trails.
- Advising Wandsworth Borough Council in respect of the impacts of Crossrail 2, planning obligations, highways and viability concerning two large-scale co-living developments in Earlsfield and Battersea.
- Advising the Department for Infrastructure on the marine planning and consenting aspects of its new ferry terminal in the port of Liverpool.
Clients appreciate Clarke Willmott LLP for its 'fantastic eye for detail' in planning matters. The team is regularly instructed by national and regional house builders, social housing providers, commercial developers and landowners, in particular in mixed use development schemes. Practice head Neil Baker has longstanding experience in planning applications. Chris Charlton acts as point of contact for local authorities and Caroline Waller provides 'invaluable advice on how to deal with and avoid problems.'
Other key lawyers:
Chris Charlton; Caroline Waller; Joann Bainton
‘They do not sit on the fence but will provide clear advice and follow it through. I have always found them excellent and easy to work with. They have a ‘can sort’ attitude and constructive approach to resolving issues.’
‘Caroline Waller continues to be the ‘go to’ planning lawyer for many working in the development industry within the south west. Caroline’s knowledge, experience and approach enables her to quickly pin-point the key issues and provide invaluable advice on how to deal with and avoid problems.’
‘Joann Bainton is my go to for planning matters which is largely transactional support for corporate real estate and real estate deals. She offers a great blend of technical expertise, cost effective pragmatic advice. The service is responsive and she is approachable at all times to all members of my team , from the most junior to partner level. ’
‘Neil Baker – Particularly good in chasing things up and seeking to agree things in set time frames. Good relations with opposite numbers within Councils that assists with decision making and timely agreements. Good knowledge of whole development process as such, is always thinking ‘outside the box’ on matters that he may not necessarily be appointed for. Has particular interest in development within Bristol City of which he is a resident, this knowledge is always useful.’
‘I have found all of the planning solicitors at Clark Willmott to be accessible and capable of providing accurate advice at short notice. They have a fantastic eye for detail and are able to foresee potential shortfalls in Local Planning Authority S106 drafting and steer negotiations towards acceptable solutions for us as their client.’
‘Neil Baker and the team have a strong ability to disseminate complex planning issues into practical advice and solutions. Also a strong commercial focus always features in their advice. Clarke Willmott are founders of the Bristol Diversity Charter which is positive.’
‘We have built up a strong working relationship with the firm and key individuals at the firm. They can offer a one stop shop and are well resourced. They are client/ customer focused.’
‘We have great confidence in the individuals, they have substantial expertise and knowledge and also respond to meeting deadlines but also fully brief us on risks and of course provide strong legal advice.’
Acorn Property Group
Barratt Homes (various regions)
CG Fry & Sons Ltd
Mactaggart & Mickel Homes
Persimmon Homes (various regions)
Sutton Harbour Holdings Limited
- Assisted the Welsh Government with the preparation of the national Compulsory Purchase Manual for Wales for use, in particular, by all Welsh local authorities to assist in the compulsory purchase process.
- Assisted WEPA UK Limited with the negotiation of planning and highway agreements relating to the significant expansion of Bridgend Paper Mill together with related advice on funding and implementation.
- Providing East Devon New Community Partners with ongoing planning and highways advice in connection with the new settlement near Exeter to deliver 7,500 homes, a new railway station, schools, shops and offices.
TLT advises local planning authorities, developers and consultancies in a wide range of planning matters; its offering includes applications, appeals, CPO and compensations. Group head Katherine Evans has a wide practice, with special expertise in multi-party planning agreements for large scale residential development.
‘The team, generally, are excellent. Documentation is dealt with quickly and their knowledge of their subject is top notch.’
‘Katherine Evans is exceptional with planning advice and understands her clients needs as she started in housebuilding before becoming a solicitor. Her advice is always clear and swift. Katherine is always available when you need her.’
Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP impresses with regular involvement in infrastructure projects, DCOs, particularly in the energy, waste and transport sectors, regeneration, development and re-development schemes. The team also advises acquiring authorities and claimants on compulsory purchase/compensation, and it handles contentious planning matters; Victoria Redman is an experienced practitioner here. Practice head Jonathan Bower deals with development consent orders and section 106 planning agreements, among others. Senior counsel Kevin Gibbs covers highways and compulsory purchase law. Managing associate Charlotte Coulson assists clients with the delivery of infrastructure and regeneration projects.
Other key lawyers:
Victoria Redman; Richard Guyatt; Kevin Gibbs; Charlotte Coulson
‘I have worked with this company as a client for a number of years. I know I can always pick up the phone and speak to someone. The advice is always excellent and there is an excellent attention to detail. From a diversity perspective, it is refreshing to see a lot of females doing well within the organisation.’
‘Victoria Redman: personable, strong communication, strong leadership of her team, excellent advice, knowledge of planning.’
‘Charlotte Coulson is personable and thorough, and provides excellent attention to detail.’
‘Jonathan Bower – excellent advice, calm, personable.’
‘The team have very strong team working skills, engaging with the project team in a seamless way and quickly making themselves indispensable. They have proved to be a very unifying influence at times when the core project team have been less than cohesive and they are trusted advisers to the project. On a personal level they are just very nice people to work with, approachable and friendly.’
‘The commitment of Richard Guyatt and Kevin Gibbs and the rest of the whole WBD team has consistently been very impressive. Whatever challenges arise, WBD have always been pro-active is setting out what needs to happen to resolve the issue. The depth and breadth of experience of WBD, in respect of the DCO process and rail industry, has been immeasurable asset for the project.’
Sedgemoor District Council
Three Rivers District Council
Watford Borough Council
Fareham Borough Council
Sedgemoor District, Somerset West and Taunton Council, Somerset County Council and North Somerset Council
London Borough of Sutton
North Somerset Council, Bristol City Council, South Gloucestershire Council, Bath and North East Somerset Council, West of England Combined Authority
North Somerset Council
Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership
Ambition Lawrence Weston Community Energy
Copeland Borough Council
Maldon District Council
This is Gravity Limited
- Advising Bristol Airport Limited on its technical developments to implement consent to take the airport capacity to 10 mppa (million passengers per annum).
- Assisted Sedgemoor District Council the promotion of a compulsory purchase order to deliver an access road to facilitate the redevelopment of the Huntspill Energy Park site.
- Advised Three Rivers District Council on the South Oxhey regeneration scheme.
Bevan Brittan LLP is known for its activity in the local authority, housing and health space but also increased its workload in the private sector. The team advises on redevelopments, regeneration schemes and local government planning matters, and works closely with the firm's UK offices in national instructions. Team head Kathryn Lawrance is well versed in the full life cycle of planning applications.
Other key lawyers:
London Borough of Hounslow
Sedgemoor District Council
Rother District Council
Birmingham City Council
Places for People Homes Limited
The Sovereign Group
Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust
NHS Property Services Limited
Network Homes Limited
The team at Foot Anstey generally advises local authorities, and energy and infrastructure clients in planning matters but has special experience acting for housing associations and house builders. It handles applications, agreement negotiations and regeneration schemes. Practice head Tim Taylor is well versed in the commercial aspects of developments. Christian Silk combines planning and environmental experience.
Other key lawyers:
‘The practice is versatile crossing various sectors and they can draw on a wealth of knowledge across their offices. Prior to providing advice they ensure they fully understand the issue at hand. Their fees are reasonable and the output has assisted immensely.’
‘Whilst details can be discussed via e-mail, they take the time to meet (at present ‘virtually’) with you and discuss matters in full prior to providing their advice, strategy for moving schemes / matters forward.’
‘I have worked alongside Christian Silk on numerous residential and renewable energy schemes over many years and have always found him approachable, his advice has assisted bringing a number of schemes to fruition.’
NextEnergy Solar Holdings III Limited
British Solar Renewables
Duchy of Cornwall
The Tregothnan Estate
Environ Design (Sturry) Limited
Ministry of Sound
- Co-counselling L&G with Simmons & Simmons on the negotiation of a complex Section 106 agreement for the development of the new £350m Sky Studios that it will build in Elstree.
- Advised the Duchy of Cornwall on a ground-breaking local development order for its scheme at Nansledan, Newquay.
- Acted for Berkeley homes to provide strategic and consenting advice in connection with their redevelopment of the Horlicks Factory Slough to provide a mixed-use development of 1,300 new homes and commercial floor space.
Under the 'excellent leadership' of Mark Howard, the team at Michelmores LLP handles CPOs and DCOs, s106 work and infrastructure agreements as well as appeals and judicial reviews. Beyond matters in the energy, renewables and public sectors, the group also has niche know-how in coastal development and marine planning. Senior associate Sarah Phillips is well versed in residential developments and compulsory purchase.
Other key lawyers:
‘Well organised. Well resourced. Well placed in the market as a large provincial firm.’
‘Mark Howard – excellent leadership, client focussed.’
‘Sarah Phillips has a good range of experience and is great to work with.’
‘Very knowledgeable around the planning specialisms. They are supporting me on a CPO matter and their advice and knowledge in this and in the supporting Landlord & Tenant matters has been first class. They have worked very effectively in a collaborative environment all of which has had to be handled remotely.’
‘Personable, highly capable, very well organised and effective and very nice people to work with. They have managed me and the client side well and have been very effective in the way they work with Counsel and others to deliver an effective end product.’
BDW – Barratt Homes
CG Fry and Son Ltd
Devon County Council
Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (Met Police)
Mead Realisations Limited
- Acting for the Cornwall Council, the acquiring authority, in the making of a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) and Side Roads Order for the proposed new St Austell to A30 Link Road in Cornwall.
- Acting for the Wiltshire Council in relation to the preparation and negotiation of two S106 Agreements as part of the West Warminster Urban Extension.
- Advising a private person on merits of appeal to an Enforcement Notice received relating to the erection of a fence on the land at Seymour Drive, Dartmouth.
Stephens Scown LLP
Stephens Scown LLP has an established planning team, which is instructed by developers, operators, planning professionals and referrers. It has niche expertise in mineral planning work and the renewables sector, and is also noted for its activity in CPO and compensation cases. The key contacts are minerals-specialist Christopher Tofts and Duncan Tilney who has know-how in contentious planning matters.
Christopher Tofts; Duncan Tilney
‘Strong knowledge of procedural processes and practices and reliable approach to detailed issues means that there are no concerns of cases failing or being delayed for administrative oversight or embarrassment. Practical and considered advice as well as ability to reflect/consider changes in strategy during a case.’
‘Duncan Tilney – ability to consider and identify both what the legislation requires but how it is deployed in practice. Able to adapt and provide level of advice appropriate to the client’s needs or urgency of the situation.’
‘Outstanding knowledge of most areas; practical; great local connections.’
‘Chris Tofts is outstanding on minerals planning, very good on general planning and very good on marine licensing matters.’
Imerys Minerals Limited
Cornish Metals Limited
- Advising Imerys Minerals Limited in respect of mineral planning permissions for largest open quarry site in England including successfully defending against a compulsory acquisition claim.
- Advising Kingsley Developments on all residential development opportunities, advice on planning applications and obligations and conduct of appeals.
- Advised Ixora Energy on planning and environmental issues relating to twenty anaerobic digestion plant sites throughout the South West.
DAC Beachcroft LLP
DAC Beachcroft LLP 'works smoothly as a team, facilitating seamless delivery' for house builders, residential development companies, national organisations and public sector clients. It is well versed in the health and infrastructure space. The group is jointly led by legal directors Anne Harrison and Karen Howe, who combine planning and environment know-how, and London-based Christopher Stanwell.
Anne Harrison; Karen Howe; Christopher Stanwell
‘I have worked with Anne Harrison who provides first rate planning advice to clients. She is always completely up-to-date with developments – a real leader in the sector. ’
‘The Team are good in terms of identifying clients specific requirements, and thereafter providing a professional service.’
‘Extremely competent professional skills, but equally the ability to problem solve and be rigorously task focused until a job is complete.’
‘They are a great friendly team reposed of a lot of expertise and good commercial sense.’
‘Anne Harrison is excellent. Very sound judgement combined with excellent legal insight.’
‘Expert knowledge on a wide range of subjects related to highway related matters.’
‘Karen Howe has significant in-depth knowledge on the legal aspects of highways matters and is my go-to expert.’
‘I have found the Team well-integrated, each dealing quickly and efficiently with their own area of expertise and always open to bringing in colleagues to support the services offered to the client: their instruction for us has been multi-faceted around site redevelopment for social housing, involving stopping up, planning, contract and title issues and I have found that they works smoothly as a team, facilitating seamless delivery.’
‘Very good, sharp and relevant knowledge about their sphere of expertise.’
Taylor Wimpey plc
Deeley Freed Estates
Abacus Projects Ltd
Southampton University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
IREEF Queensgate Peterborough Prop. Co. SARL
Bristol City Council
Backhouse Housing Limited
Canynge Bicknell Limited
Somerset County Council
Waverley Borough Council
North Bristol NHS Trust
University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust
Scenic Developments Limited
Surrey County Council
Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council
- Continuing to act for Crest Nicholson plc in relation to the award-winning 1,695 + residential units development at Tadpole Garden Village Swindon, including additional planning agreements as a result of development changes.
- Providing planning advice to Taylor Wimpey plc, including on a particularly complex s.106 Agreement as part of the 5000 unit Cribbs Patchway New Neighbourhood in South Gloucestershire.
- Acted for Abacus Projects Limited throughout the planning process for a 373 residential unit development in Torbay where landscape and housing land supply were particular issues.
Thrings LLP's core focus is on the agriculture and development sectors, where it advises regional house builders, developers, registered providers and promoters. The team has experience in consents, planning strategies, Community Infrastructure Levy and due diligence. Alex Madden is also well versed in the retail and leisure, waste planning and renewables sectors. He jointly leads the practice with Rosalyn Trotman, who combines planning and construction law expertise.
Alex Madden; Rosalyn Trotman
Other key lawyers:
‘I find the Thrings team overall as very approachable and professional. I have been impressed by the level of engagement on each project, which is refreshing in comparison to its competitors. The level of service is first class.’
‘Fred Quartermain is our day to day contact at Thrings. The service he has provided to us has been brilliant. I rarely speak to Fred’s team leader as he is always on point. He has become our go to for planning agreements.’
D S Smith PlC
Curo Enterprises Limited
Newland Homes Limited
Cotswold Homes Limited
Burrington Estates Limited
Allied Irish Bank (GB)
National Westminster Bank PLC
Baylis Estates Limited
Halsall Construction Limited
- Successfully defended Withers Fruit Farm in a judicial review to enable the development of 11 blocks of polytunnels on 37 hectares of farmland.
- Advising Newland Homes on CIL, vacant building credit, and infrastructure agreements for the development of a brownfield site for 77 new homes including retention of listed building in North Somerset.
- Representing Noel Properties in the development agreement and s106 agreement containing £10m+ contributions for a circa 800-home urban extension scheme.