Planning in South West
The planning and compulsory purchase team at Burges Salmon LLP has a particular strength in acting for clients in the public and quasi-public space, such as local councils and national bodies (including Highways England). The group advises on nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIPs) at all stages from the pre-application phase up to the post-construction period; NSIPs work is an area of specialism for Elizabeth Dunn and Julian Boswall. The ‘very experienced strategist’ Patrick Robinson focuses on energy-related aspects of planning work, with a particular emphasis on nuclear and renewables. Practice head Gary Soloman advises clients on regeneration projects, large-scale developments and highway proposals. Elsewhere, the department also handles judicial reviews and statutory challenges. Senior associates Paula McGeady and Stephen Humphreys are also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘Team members stand out for their depth and great range of knowledge, their efficiency and highly pragmatic approach’
‘The team is always able to respond quickly and to amend its approach in light of any changing circumstances and requirements’
‘The team is really strong and has built great reputation for its work on nationally significant infrastructure projects’
‘Stephen Humphreys shows excellent attention to detail and always remains conscious of the client’s best interests’
‘Gary Salomon pays attention to every detail, but also has the ability to see the bigger picture and never loses sight of his clients’ general objectives’
‘Paula McGeady is very hard-working and focused, and reacts to clients’ issues quickly’
‘Patrick Robinson is a great communicator’
Isle of Anglesey County Council
YTL Property Holdings
Canal & River Trust
Snowdonia Pumped Hydro
Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm
Seagreen Wind Energy
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
DS Smith Paper
- Assisting Isle of Anglesey County Council with its role as host authority for the new nuclear power station at Wylfa and associated developments.
- Advising Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm on its electrical system.
- Advising Highways England on the consenting of the new A30 dual carriageway.
- Advising the Environment Agency and the Canal & River Trust on the compulsory purchase orders being promoted for the largest fish-pass scheme of its kind in Europe.
- Acting for Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, on a development proposal which threatens the client’s world heritage site status.
Osborne Clarke's 'friendly and experienced' planning team undertakes advisory and contentious work for regional and national clients. Its wide-ranging practice covers areas such as conventional and renewable energy, transport infrastructure, commercial property and large-scale residential planning. The group has significant expertise in compulsory purchase orders and other strategic planning mechanisms. 'Excellent' practice head Neil Bromwich is knowledgeable about statutory powers of compulsory purchase (particularly under the Energy Acts and Highways Acts), and early stage consenting in the renewable energy and transport sectors, among other matters. Legal director John Webster stands out for his experience of planning appeals and judicial review applications.
Neil Bromwich; John Baird (London)
Other key lawyers:
‘Osborne Clarke leaves no stone unturned and no loose end untied’
‘An experienced and well-resourced team, which is certainly able to provide speedy and commercial advice’
‘The team is a standout due to its members’ strong strategic thinking and flexibility in finding solutions’
‘The team is simply excellent when it comes to handling all matters relating to planning and exercise of statutory powers’
‘Neil Bromwich has great expertise both as a lawyer and as a chartered surveyor, which is perfect for reaching optimal strategic solutions’
‘Legal director John Webster is a great lead for the team, but he is also supported by excellent individuals’
Union Jack Oil
Gwent Farmers’ Community Solar Partnership
Marks & Spencer
Western Power Distribution
St Modwen Developments
- Advising Union Jack Oil on seeking planning permission to exploit a significant onshore oil and gas prospect site (Wressle).
- Advised Gwent Farmers’ Community Solar Partnership on its successful planning application for a 50-MW solar farm on the Gwent levels near Newport.
- Advising Marks & Spencer on the planning aspects of numerous Simply Food store developments nationwide.
- Advising Countryside Properties as the partner of Chichester District Council in the development of a significant strategic land site for 1,500 new homes at Tangmere, near Chichester.
- Advising Gazeley on the development consent order and compulsory acquisition of land for Rail Central, a joint venture with Ashfield Land, aiming at developing a new strategic rail freight interchange in Northamptonshire at a cost of £700m.
Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP's 'unique' planning and infrastructure team focuses on undertaking work for clients active in the energy, transport, waste, and housing industries. Work for public sector entities is another pillar of the practice, with the firm acting for local authorities and public sector organisations. In addition to handling a wide ambit of non-contentious planning matters, the group demonstrates strong capabilities in judicial reviews, planning litigation and planning inquiries. The ‘very knowledgeable’ department head Jonathan Bower focuses on regeneration projects. Richard Guyatt, who is ‘a brilliant and imaginative thinker’, has recently advised clients on development consent orders for large infrastructure schemes.
Other key lawyers:
‘A very well-known team nationally, with acknowledged leading expertise in Jonathan Bower and Richard Guyatt — it is rare to have two heavy hitters working together in one team’
‘The team is great at handling CPO and compensation work’
‘Jonathan Bower is a highly respected lawyer and has a wide range of contacts’
Reading Borough Council
Watford Borough Council
Linden Homes (part of the Galliford Try group)
ESBi (Irish State Energy Company)
Sedgemoor District Council
North Somerset District Council
West Berkshire District Council
Ashfield Land and Gazeley GLP (jointly)
- Advising multiple local councils on the £100m reopening of the railway between Bristol and Portishead for passenger train services.
- Advised Linden Homes on a residential scheme at Post Farm; planning permission was secured for development of 125 dwellings in Thornbury, South Gloucestershire. Also, secured consent for a 550 dwelling scheme in Bideford.
- Advising Three Rivers District Council on the South Oxhey Regeneration scheme.
- Acting for West Berkshire District Council on a number of regeneration projects in Newbury.
- Advising Fareham Borough Council on planning procurement and compulsory acquisition for a new 6,000 dwelling settlement.
Ashfords LLP stands out for its planning offering in the public sector; the team advises local authorities on a full range of issues, such as section 106 agreements, lawful development certificates and enforcement, general conduct and decision-making powers. Elsewhere, other clients include housebuilders and developers. Also notable is that the group is experienced in judicial reviews, appeals and challenges to planning inspectors’ decisions. Graham Cridland is the head of the team. In addition to handling contentious planning work, David Richardson assists clients with residential and mixed-use developments, among other matters.
Other key lawyers:
Wainhomes (SW) Holdings
Devon County Council
London Borough of Wandsworth
Gloucestershire County Council
London Borough of Brent
Royal National Lifeboat Institution
- Assisted London Borough of Brent with section 106 matters regarding the development of the former Northfields industrial site in the London Borough of Brent.
- Assisting a local housing company with negotiations on section 106 agreements for residential developments.
- Advising Taunton Deane District Council on the town centre regeneration of the Firepool site in Taunton. Work includes advising on compulsory purchase and section 106 issues.
- Defended a housebuilding company against a judicial review claim brought by a local resident over planning permission granted to the client.
- Acted for LiveWest Homes on the purchase of 684 units at North Yate, advising on all planning and real estate matters.
Clarke Willmott LLP acts for clients on mixed-use development schemes, residential-led developments and infrastructure projects. In addition, contentious work is on the increase at the firm, with ‘exceptional lawyer’ Chris Charlton having experience of judicial review challenges at the Planning Court, among other matters. The group’s wide-ranging client base includes established housebuilders, commercial developers, landowners and promoters. The ‘proactive and extremely competent’ Neil Baker, who heads up the department, has extensive experience of handling complex planning applications. Caroline Waller has ‘top-class’ knowledge of town and country planning and highways law.
‘A good team, which provides consistently strong, spot-on legal advice’
‘Everyone on the team is always ready to help’
‘All team members are professional, knowledgeable, responsive and attentive’
‘Caroline Waller is excellent at her job and always a pleasure to work with’
‘Caroline Waller is very highly regarded within the development industry in the South West’
‘Neil Baker is by far the best planning and environment lawyer out there’
‘Neil Baker and Chris Charlton are exceptionally personable and are always available to provide advice’
Acorn Property Group
Alliance Housing Group
Barratt Homes Bristol
CG Fry & Son
Countryside Properties (UK)
David Wilson Homes South West
L&Q Housing Trust
Mactaggart and Mickel Homes
South West Strategic Developments
Strategic Land Partnerships
Sutton Harbour Holdings
The Scotts Company (UK)
West of England Developments
- Advising East Devon New Community Partners on the planning aspects of creating a new community at Cranbrook near Exeter.
- Advised Mactaggart & Mickel Homes on the planning aspects of the development for 465 houses at Pirton Fields, Churchdown, Tewkesbury.
- Advising Homes England on the terms of a planning agreement to release planning permission for a large residential development on a site at Ludgershall, Wiltshire.
- Acted for an interested party in defending an application for judicial review brought by local residents objecting to the proposal for the demolition and redevelopment of the existing residential estate at Foxhill, Bath.
- Advising Guinness Developments on planning matters associated with the client’s new headquarters site in Bristol.
Stephens Scown LLP
Stephens Scown LLP’s planning and environment team has a varied workload, which includes regulatory approvals, commercial and residential planning applications, permitted development, section 106 agreements, and enforcement and prosecution issues. The group also handles high-value CPO and compensation cases. The firm generates work from clients in sectors such as marine, waste, renewables and minerals. Christopher Tofts, who focuses on contentious issues, acts for mineral operators, housebuilders, renewables developers and landowners.
Christopher Tofts; Duncan Tilney
Hastoe Housing Association
English Rural Housing Association
Red Funnel Ferries
- Handling multiple planning issues for Imerys Minerals, including advice on mineral planning permissions, securing review of old permissions, and compensation claims.
- Handling multiple planning matters for Kingsley Developments, including securing and defending planning permissions, as well as appealing refusal of planning decisions, among others.
- Assisting Westcountry Land with appealing against a refusal of development in Falmouth.
- Successfully advised Red Funnel Ferries on planning issues, including an inquiry leading to the consenting of a new facility.
- Assisting Ixora Energy with planning and environmental issues relating to 20 anaerobic digestion plant sites throughout the South West.
TLT handles a broad cross-section of planning work for developers, financial institutions, minerals and waste operators, public bodies, private landowners and individuals. Its team is particularly highly reputed in contentious planning matters and judicial review risk assessments. Practice head Katherine Evans is praised by clients for being ‘a great negotiator’.
‘The team is always responsive and helpful‘
‘The team’s understanding of the planning process is certainly up-to-date and its depth of knowledge is extensive‘
‘Katherine Evans would always go the extra mile to ensure that clients’ expectations are met‘
The Ecotricity Group
Bristol Temple Quarter
Edward Ware Homes
- Advising WHSmith on a compulsory purchase order of a WHSmith shop located in a shopping centre designated for redevelopment.
- Advisig Ecotricity Group on matters concerning the new Forest Green Rovers Stadium, including the provision of additional bus services.
- Providing strategic planning and compulsory purchase advice to Bristol Temple Quarter.
- Advising Crematoria Management on their planning application for a new crematorium in the Staffordshire green belt.
- Assisting London Borough of Barnet with the redevelopment of Granville Road Estate, including advising on the requirements pertaining to development agreements, compulsory purchase orders, stopping-up orders and public path creation orders.
Bevan Brittan LLP acts for a growing client base of housing associations, health organisations and local authorities. Led by practice head Kathryn Lawrance, the team focuses on non-contentious work, which includes advising clients on complex development and regeneration projects (often involving joint venture structures). Although the group is based in Bristol, it regularly operates in all four of the firm's offices nationwide.
London Borough of Hounslow
London Borough of Enfield
London Borough of Bromley
West Oxfordshire District Council
Cotswold District Council
Places for People Group
NHS Property Services
Sovereign Housing Association
Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
Rother District Council
Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Sedgemoor District Council
Thanet District Council
London and Quadrant Housing Trust (L&Q)
- Assisting London Borough of Hounslow with the compulsory purchase of land required to facilitate the £750m regeneration of key High Street and Waterside areas in Brentford.
- Advising the Cotswold District Council on a complex section 106 agreement associated with a planning application to deliver a 2,500 urban extension to Cirencester.
- Advising the Sedgemoor District Council on planning and infrastructure agreements.
- Instructed by the London Borough of Enfield to progress a compulsory purchase order to deliver a scheme to regenerate Ponders End High Street.
- Advice to NHS Property Services on planning and highway agreements in relation to new developments proposed by the client.
Davitt Jones Bould's exclusive focus on real estate puts it on a strong footing to advise clients on related planning issues. In addition to having a strong presence in the South West market, its team handles planning projects further afield nationwide. It advises on regeneration projects and compulsory purchase orders. The group's client base includes established City clients, as well as landowners and local authorities. Robin de Wreede, who divides time between London and Taunton, advises on large urban regeneration projects.
Other key lawyers:
Bath and North East Somerset Council
North Somerset Council
The Royal Parks
Woking Borough Council
Slough Borough Council
Minerva Smart Cities
Care Quality Commission
- Advising Woking Borough Council on the compulsory purchase order for the regeneration of Sheerwater.
- Advised The Royal Parks on the development of the London Cycle Superhighway across Hyde Park, St James’s Park and the surrounding areas.
At Michelmores LLP, key sectors of expertise of the planning team include real estate, marine, manufacturing, and energy and renewables. The department is also very active in the public sector, in which it represents a number of local authorities on matters concerning planning obligations, assets of community value, neighbourhood planning and general public authority decisions. The team has developed a niche in coastal development work and marine licensing and planning. Practice head Mark Howard advises on a wide range of environmental, commercial and regulatory matters.
Devon County Council
Dorset Councils Partnership
Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime
DAC Beachcroft LLP's team has extensive expertise in the development space, where it acts for a wide range of housebuilders and commercial developers. The practice assists clients with drafting and negotiating section 106 agreements for residential and mixed-use development projects, as well as highways and other infrastructure agreements. In addition, it has expertise in permitted development rights, classes and planning charges. Beyond its work in the development sector, the team regularly supports other departments in relation to matters involving areas such as retail, finance and investment, insurance and the public sector. Department head Anne Harrison, who is ‘an outstanding lawyer’, has overseen the growth of the planning practice. Legal director Karen Howe joined from Clarke Willmott LLP.
Christopher Stanwell; Anne Harrison
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is quick in responding and adopts a proactive approach in solving a problem‘
‘The team is well-informed and has up-to-date knowledge of the sector‘
‘Anne Harrison keeps matters moving and gets things done quickly, while her team provides excellent support in reaching clients’ goals‘
Taylor Wimpey UK
Crest Nicholson (South West)
The Go-Ahead Group
Watkin Jones & Son
Deeley Freed Estates
University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
Somerset County Council
Waverley Borough Council
United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust
- Advised DFE TW Residential (a joint venture between Taylor Wimpey and Deeley Freed Estates) on a section 106 framework agreement.
- Acted for Taylor Wimpey on a section 106 agreement concerning the second phase of a site in Cwmbran, which will deliver a total of 108 residential units.
- Provided St. James’s Place with planning due diligence support concerning the acquisition of a new office building in London.
- Acted for Galliford Try on a section 106 agreement in relation to a planning permission concerning the former Blackberry Hill Hospital, Fishponds, Bristol; the project which will deliver 346 residential units.
- Assisted Crest Nicholson (South West) with planning and environmental due diligence and provided general legal support in relation to the acquisition of a development site in Keynsham and the subsequent sale of a parcel of land to Curo.
Foot Anstey advises on a wide-ranging scope of planning law issues concerning highways law, compulsory purchase advice, heritage law, advertisement regulations, listed building legislation and judicial reviews. Its team has particularly extensive experience of the planning aspects of large development schemes. The varied client base includes regional and national developers, housebuilders, councils, landed estates and private clients. Tim Taylor, who is a qualified chartered surveyor, heads up the group.
Teignbridge District Council
Devon County Council
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Castle Property Development
Duchy of Cornwall
Ministry of Sound
- Advised Teignbridge District Council & Devon County Council on a section 106 agreement for Bovis Homes’ planning application for the ‘South West Exeter Urban Extension’.
- Acted for the owners of the historic music venue, the George Tavern in Commercial Road, Tower Hamlets, London. The owners were threatened with potential closure from a new residential development adjacent to the venue.
- Acting as main adviser to Cornwall Council on the Threemilestone urban expansion, and also on Stadium for Cornwall project.
- Advising London Boroughs of Newham and Tower Hamlets on the statutory transfer of a complex scheme of land, rights and contracts, forming part of the Olympic Park development running to the Royal Docks.
- Advising Castle Property Development on section 106-related matters and on a planning strategy for a mid-size residential development scheme in Arundel District Council.
Thrings LLP has seen a growth in mandates from landowners and residential developers. Its planning department represents clients in challenges at the High Court (including statutory appeals and judicial reviews) and appeals against enforcement measures. Non-contentious work covers residential and mixed-use development schemes, planning and infrastructure agreements, and due diligence, among other matters. Practice head Alex Madden has developed a reputation as ‘an expert in rural planning’. The wider group is also active in the waste, quarries and renewables sectors. Cross-border planning work is a common feature of the practice, which is owed to the firm's strong presence in Wales.
Greene King Developments
Allied Irish Bank (GB)
Pasteur Retail Park
- Representing a third-party objector and other local residents in a challenge at the High Court
- Acted on behalf of John Williams in relation to successfully quashing an enforcement notice regarding a barn on grounds of invalidity.
- Successfully advised a theatre on a potential prosecution for breach of a noise abatement notice.
- Provided advice to Matterley Estate on securing planning permission for an expanded music festival in a national park.
- Acted on behalf of FJ Wallis Trust on a successful application to remove an agricultural occupancy condition.