Demonstrating ‘a high level of legal understanding and competency’ paired with ‘real depth and experience in planning’, Burges Salmon LLP has a strong track record advising on nationally significant infrastructure projects and accompanies projects throughout their whole lifecycle, from pre-planning to post-construction. Energy, particularly regarding nuclear and alternative energy, constitutes one of the key sectors for the practice alongside know-how in areas such as infrastructure and compulsory purchase orders (CPOs). The ‘meticulous’ Gary Soloman leads the Bristol team and sports extensive expertise in regeneration projects, large-scale developments, as well as highway projects. Elizabeth Dunn and Julian Boswell are both regularly involved in complex infrastructure projects, while senior associate Laura Fuller‘s advisory portfolio includes highway agreements as well as habitat and appropriate assessments. Having retired from partnership in May 2021, Patrick Robinson remains a part of the team in a full-time consultancy role.
Planning in South West
Other key lawyers:
Elizabeth Dunn; Julian Boswell; Laura Fuller; Patrick Robinson
‘The team is always professional, courteous and receptive. They demonstrate a high level of legal understanding and competency, as well as an ability to respond promptly and proactively to the various issues and challenges that are presented to them. The team has provided excellent and consistent legal advice in relation to major energy projects.’
‘Gary Soloman is approachable, dependable and trustworthy. He is meticulous in his work, demonstrating attention to detail but also an ability to identify workable and pragmatic solutions. He leads his team effectively, ensuring we always receive practical, timely and comprehensive advice and support.’
‘Top nationally rated individuals working in a regional setting offering excellent value to clients. Real depth and experience in planning, compulsory purchase and compensation, regeneration projects. Personal feel and attentive client care skills gives a boutique touch to the team.’
‘Gary Soloman – giant of the compulsory purchase, regeneration planning and compensation field. A huge resource in any team, depth of knowledge, reflective participation, strong on strategy and substance. A genuine desire to do what is best for the client while setting realistic expectations.’
‘Bespoke approach with exposure at all times to senior and very experienced employees. It is clear they have the interest and ability to consider the needs and interests of their clients. The services provided are competitive in terms of cost. They provided a rounded well considered approach and advice.’
‘The team at Burges Salmon have been a pleasure to work with.’
‘Very knowledgeable in this area and good recent experience.’
‘Heat-sealed team with highly experienced partners, excellent understanding of technical/enigneer related matters, flexible in communication forms and modes.’
Isle of Anglesey County Council
Department for Transport
National Highways (formerly Highways England)
YTL Property Holdings
Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Torbay Borough Council
Progressive Energy Limited
North Somerset Council
Sofia Offshore Windfarm Limited
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
- Advised YTL Property Holdings on the Filton airfield site project, a major housing, infrastructure, commercial and leisure development to the north of Bristol.
- Advising National Highways on multiple major motorway and A-road projects throughout the country.
- Advising RWE Renewables on the development of the Dogger Bank South and Awely Mor offshore wind farms.
Praised for its ‘detailed knowledge of the DCO process‘, Osborne Clarke LLP is well regarded for its strengths in energy projects and large-scale residential development schemes across the country. The Bristol-based practice also counts compulsory purchase order amongst its areas of specialisation. Neil Bromwich brings to bear extensive know-how on infrastructure projects, especially with respect to net-zero and decarbonisation. The ‘quick, responsive and pragmatic’ associate director Richard Harding handles residential development matters, and is regularly sought out by house builder clients. Senior associate Josh Taylor, who joined the firm in June 2021 from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP, ‘brings a wealth of DCO experience’.
Other key lawyers:
Richard Harding; Josh Taylor
‘The firm’s knowledge of up-to-date legislation is second to none and importantly their application of this in a commercial context is highly valued.’
‘Neil Bromwich and Josh Taylor have a good attention to detail and a thorough approach to overcoming potential issues.’
‘Richard Harding is quick, responsive and pragmatic. His ability to break down complex section 106 agreements and planning permissions and apply them to land contracts is second to none.’
‘The planning team at Osborne Clarke are knowledgeable, organised and extremely helpful. I have worked with them on various large scale development land acquisitions, and they are always able to provide high quality advice in a timely manner.’
‘Richard Harding is highly detailed with an excellent in depth knowledge of all planning related matters which we seek advice upon. He is able to provide timely professional advice.’
‘The Osborne Clarke team has a detailed knowledge of the DCO process, and an understanding of what clients need.’
‘Josh Taylor brings a wealth of DCO experience across a range of energy projects and supports clients to deliver successful projects.’
‘The team at Osborne Clarke are personable and professional, with an extensive depth of knowledge of complex planning and property matters.’
BDW Trading Limited (Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes)
Western Power Distribution
Ecotricity Group Limited
Marks and Spencer Plc
St Modwen Developments Limited
Sovereign Housing Association
- Appointed as sole planning adviser for Ecotricity on a 500MW Development Consent Order scheme in Lincolnshire, powering over 100,000 homes with renewable electricity (The Heckington Fen Energy Park Development Consent Order).
- Continue to advise Countryside Properties on two market-leading matters for Countryside, namely Lotmead and Tangmere.
- Advised Bloor Homes in connection with their successful appeal for 70 homes at Malmesbury.
With specialisations in the energy, transport, housing, regeneration and public sector, Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP advises clients across the full range of planning matters. It is often involved in major infrastructure developments and nationally significant infrastructure projects, and can draw on the firm’s wider international network when necessary. Jonathan Bower leads the Bristol practice and is praised as a ‘team player’ and ‘brilliant to work with'. ‘Star individual’ Victoria Redman and Kevin Gibbs, who frequently handles regeneration and infrastructure schemes, are further key members of the team. Managing associate Charlotte Coulson specialises in compulsory acquisition for both the public and private sector.
Other key lawyers:
Victoria Redman; Kevin Gibbs; Charlotte Coulson; Richard Guyatt
‘Brilliant diverse team doing a range of work across planning and infrastructure projects.’
‘Jonathan Bower is brilliant to work with. Clearly a team player who is good at encouraging all members of the team.’
‘Womble Bond Dickinson has a very very strong planning practice and enormous strength in depth. The team is enormously focussed on delivering for the client and the size of the team means that no case is too big or too small. Certainly one of my favourite firms to work with.’
‘Victoria Redman – Hugely compentent and experienced, Victoria is a great team player and also a star individual.’
‘Richard Guyatt – A top planning partner who is very well respected throughout the profession.’
‘The WBD practice is uniquely placed due to its collaborative approach with clients.’
‘Kevin Gibbs and his team have been committed and responsive. Liaising with the client out of hours, and being highly responsive to acute deadlines. Their ability to work with the wider multi disciplinary team and with the associated council team is important to overall success.’
‘Jonathan Bower – One of the very leading lights in compulsory purchase and compensation law. Jonathan is vastly experienced and there is nothing on importance in this area of law that he doesn’t know.’
‘The team has considerable knowledge and experience in promoting infrastructure projects with particular expertise in development consent orders and Transport and Works Act Orders.’
Bristol Airport Limited
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
Yennadon Quarry Limited
- Advising Bristol Airport in their appeal against refusal of planning consent to expand from 10 million passengers per annum (mppa) to 12 mppa.
- Advised Fareham Borough Council on the drafting and negotiation of a Section 106 Agreement (‘planning obligation’), together with related planning and highways matters, linked to the development of a 6,000-dwelling new settlement to be known as Welborne Garden Village.
- Acting for Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset West and Taunton Council, Somerset County Council and North Somerset Council (the local authorities) jointly in relation to the implementation of the Hinkley Point C (“HPC”) Development Consent Order.
Ashfords LLP has an established planning team based in Exeter and Bristol, whose expertise spans the housebuilder sector and advising public sector clients. Compulsory purchase orders, contentious planning matters, and coastal developments form part of the firm’s advisory offering. ‘Standout partner’ David Richardson is the practice lead, and focuses on residential and mixed use developments, community infrastructure levies, as well as CPOs and compensation work. Coastal and marine specialist Lara Moore, who was promoted to partner in September 2021, and legal director Duncan Moors are further key contacts. Stephen Humphreys joined the team in October 2021 as legal director from a previous position at Burges Salmon LLP.
Other key lawyers:
Lara Moore; Duncan Moors; Stephen Humphreys
‘David Richardson at Ashfords LLP is a clear communicator, very pleasant to work with. I value his judgement and his inclusion in any team. I know when I recommend David I will get a service that I would wish for my clients.’
‘Well informed and professional with a commercial approach.’
‘David Richardson is the standout partner in their planning team.’
‘Stephen Humphreys is extremely capable and dynamic. Nothing is too much trouble and he has a keen attention to detail.’
‘Working with the Ashfords Team is always a pleasure. Ashfords always provide us with strong legal support which provides confidence to our business and surety within the marketplace.’
‘We use Ashfords across many disciplines, the one item that stands out and appears to be common place within their practice is how proactive each of their team members are.’
Devon County Council
Barratt David Wilson
London Borough of Wandsworth
Countryside Properties Limited
London Borough of Brent
Torridge District Council
Department of Infrastructure (Isle of Man Government)
- Advising North Devon District Council and Devon County Council on the section 106 agreement required for the urban extension project at Westacott, Barnstaple which will provide up to 820 dwellings, and provision for community facilities in a neighbourhood hub, a primary school, and other related infrastructure.
- Advising the Depart for Infrastructure on the marine planning and consenting aspects of its new ferry terminal in the port of Liverpool.
- Advising the London Borough of Brent in relation to planning obligations for Phase 2 of the Northfields Industrial Estate development, which forms part if the wider site redevelopment providing up to 2,900 homes and substantial commercial floorspace.
Under the leadership of Neil Baker, the planning practice at Clarke Willmott LLP is highlighted for its reputation for advising regional and national housebuilders on residential-led development schemes. Based in Bristol and Taunton, the team is praised for its ‘first-class service and excellent advice’ alongside its ‘culture of giving clear opinions'. Chris Charlton is the primary contact for local authorities, while Caroline Waller is particularly well versed in advising public bodies and developers on highways, providing clients with ‘attention to detail, responsiveness, technical ability and strong negotiating'.
Other key lawyers:
Chris Carlton; Caroline Waller
‘Great knowledgable team with strength in depth, able to respond in a timely matter to all sorts of queries.’
‘Caroline Waller: Excellent individual, wide breadth of knowledge, understands practical and commercial reality and acts accordingly.’
‘Neil Baker is the Partner responsible for our matters and delivers an exceptional service. He is able to distill complex matters into manageable matters and has guided us through several potential conflicts with minimal fuss.’
‘Caroline Waller is an outstanding leader, offering attention to detail, responsiveness, technical ability and strong negotiating.’
‘The Taunton office planning team provides a first-class service and excellent advice on all planning law matters in a friendly, pragmatic and pro-active manner.’
‘Caroline Waller – Excellent planning lawyer – on top of her game and a pleasure to work with’
‘A culture of giving clear opinions and advice rather than ambiguity and hedging of bets.’
‘Caroline Waller is, in particular, an exceptional lawyer. Clear, persuasive and very intelligent.’
Acorn Property Group
CG Fry & Sons Ltd
Mactaggart & Mickel Homes
Sutton Harbour Holdings Limited
- Acting for the landowners in connection with a planning inquiry into a mixed-use urban regeneration development scheme in the centre of Bristol which was called-in by the Secretary of State on flooding grounds.
- Advising a developer on a large urban extension in Chippenham including 650 dwellings and significant highways infrastructure.
- Advising a developer on planning issues associated with the creation of a new motorway services area on the M5 including an associated business park.
Providing ‘concise and straightforward planning advice’, TLT is known for its strengths in advising local authorities on a range of planning matters, including compulsory purchase orders and compensation. Clients appreciate practice head Katherine Evans, who specialises in property-related environmental issues and multi-party planning agreements, for her ‘openness to examine an issue from all avenues’. Energy, mineral and waste, as well as housing and retail are sectors handled by legal director Fergus Charlton. The practice is based in the firm’s Bristol office.
Other key lawyers:
‘Diverse and progressive practice. Very good in renewables and “pub” sector. Excellent customer care even when issue is small and needs to be passed on.’
‘Responsive and pragmatic.’
‘My main connection at TLT is with Katherine Evans. I really value the ability to have an open discussion with Katherine and her openness to examine an issue from all avenues. Katherine is technically excellent but also very approachable, I really value Katherine’s strong and honest advice.’
‘Katherine Evans is our favoured planning lawyer due to her knowledge of the planning experience coupled with her experience of working in the housebuilding industry. She always seems able to take your call.’
‘The team has an excellent understanding of planning law and all other related matters.’
‘Concise and straightforward planning advice, which allows us to make informed decisions.’
‘Experience and knowledge of planning matters and how to mitigate the pitfalls.’
‘Technically excellent, very approachable, deliver results.’
West Herts College Barnfield College Playing fields
Persimmon Homes Limited & Elan Homes
Crematoria Management Limited
- Advising a joint venture comprising two house builders: Persimmon and Elan on their outline application for over 800 homes with significant related infrastructure include highways and schools, on the outskirts of Barnstaple.
- Advising Crematoria Management Limited on their planning application for a new crematorium in the Staffordshire green belt.
- Advised WHSmith on all aspects of a proposed CPO including substantial shop in shopping centre designated for redevelopment.
Situated within the firm’s property division, Bevan Brittan LLP‘s planning practice has recently placed a focus on expanding its private sector offering, while continuing to be heavily involved in the core areas of local authority, housing and health. Kathryn Lawrance leads the practice and is regularly sought after by a range of clients for her expertise in major regeneration and development projects. Dalee Kaur covers all areas of planning law relating to retail, housing, office, leisure and general industrial development.
Other key lawyers:
‘Practical advice and a full understanding of the legal context on which that advice is given.’
‘Excellent client care.’
London Borough of Hillingdon
Rother District Council
Places for People Homes Limited
Network Homes Limited
London Borough of Kingston
Guildford Borough Council
Princess Alexandra NHS Hospital Trust
NHS Property Services Limited
Sedgemoor District Council
- Acting for the London Borough of Hillingdon on two compulsory purchase schemes to deliver the regeneration of two housing estates.
- Acting for Sovereign Housing Group on the delivery of an entirely affordable grant funded scheme in East Devon.
- Acting for NHS Property Services Limited on the delivery of a mixed use scheme delivery a new health centre and residential housing.
The ‘very proactive’ planning practice at Michelmores LLP fields expertise across the public and private sectors, handling a large volume of section 106 agreements across the South West. Based in Exeter and Bristol, the team is led by Mark Howard, who combines specialisations in planning and regeneration projects with experience in environmental, commercial and regulatory matters. Associate Sarah Reardon and ‘exceptionally helpful’ senior associate Sarah Phillips are further key contacts.
Other key lawyers:
Sarah Reardon; Sarah Philips
‘The Planning practice of Michelmores has a strong track record of advising public sector clients.’
‘Unlike many larger firms Sarah Phillips provided a very dedicated and personal service throughout the case and made us confident of the chances of success. She was available at all times to review and discuss the case.’
‘Sarah Reardon has been exceptionally helpful at resolving issues and always proactive and keeping us well informed.’
‘Michelmore’s have made a concerted effort over many years to get to know our business and the people who work in it. This saves time and therefore cost in terms of fees.’
‘The approach is always helpful, collaborative, and focussed on good outcomes and an understanding that delivering value for money is vital.’
‘Very proactive, always looking to preempt situations and offer advice accordingly.’
‘I have had recent dealings with Sarah Reardon who has continually impressed. Sarah has the ability to offer complicated solutions in a clear and simplified manner.’
‘Always friendly and quick to respond. Never had to chase up for a response or clarity on a matter. Everything is taken care of by the Michelmores team, with regular progress updates and gentle reminders to keep us track.’
BDW – Barratt Homes
C G Fry and Son Ltd
Devon County Council
Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (Met Police)
Mead Realisations Limited
The Forestry Commission
Wain Homes (South West) Ltd
- Advised Cornwall Council on all matters relating to a CPO for a £90m highway scheme.
- Advised Forestry England on the creation of a new reservoir spanning 160 hectares and delivering 8.7 billion litres of storage.
- Agreeing an s106 planning agreement for Langarth, a garden village at Truro.
Stephens Scown LLP
Appreciated by clients as ‘a South West resource with the skills and abilities to act nationally’, Stephens Scown LLP is well regarded in the market for its specialism pertaining to planning matters in the minerals sectors. The firm’s planning practice is frequently instructed by a wide range of clients such as developers, operators and housing providers. Minerals expert Christopher Tofts in Truro and Exeter-based Duncan Tilney, whose practice covers litigation and transaction matters, jointly lead the team.
Christopher Tofts; Duncan Tilney
‘A South-West resource with the skills and abilities to act nationally.’
‘Stephens Scown are able to offer a personal and individual service whilst at the same time having the strength and depth within their team to deal with matters reliably and competently.’
‘The main person involved at Stephens Scown planning was Chris Tofts and he is, in our opinion the go to person for any cases involving panning issues. He’s very communicative with all parties, accessible at any time, approachable and innovative in managing the case. We highly recommend him and his department.’
‘I like this practice because it is responsive and local. They have a good knowledge of the relevant planning officers and our generally able to provide good quality and practical advice.’
‘Christopher Tofts – easy to work with and vastly knowledgeable especially in minerals.’
Imerys Minerals Limited
Cornish Metals Limited
Leisure Parks Real Estate Holdings
E &JW Glendinning
Devon County Council
Barton Park Estates Limited
- Advising Imerys Minerals Limited in respect of mineral planning permissions for an open quarry site in England.
- Advising Kingsley Developments on all residential development opportunities, advice on planning applications and obligations and conduct of appeals.
- Advising Cornish Metals Limited on successful objection to incompatible housing development that would sterilise mineral resources.
DAC Beachcroft LLP
DAC Beachcroft LLP‘s planning practice brings to bear extensive expertise in residential developments, where it acts for a number of housebuilder clients across the region and nationally. The Bristol practice is jointly led by Anne Harrison, who is praised for being ‘highly commercially astute in delivering well focused advice to clients’, and Karen Howe, whose experience extends to both the public and private sector.
Karen Howe; Anne Harrison
‘The team has a broad skill base, particularly on the environmental side of development work. This is especially helpful on particularly larger sites in rural areas.’
‘Karen Howe is extremely knowledgeable and proactive.’
‘Anne Harrison is both approachable but also highly commercially astute in delivering well-focused advice to clients.’
‘One of DAC Beachcroft’s strongest strengths is the ability to listen carefully, understand our issues and respond quickly with appropriate and sensible advice.’
‘They are good at allocating specialised work out to the relevant expertise in their team.’
Taylor Wimpey plc
Crest Nicholson plc
Deeley Freed Estates
Abacus Projects Ltd
Southampton University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
IREEF Queensgate Peterborough Prop. Co. SARL
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
Arc Global Limited
Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council
Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council
Barratt David Wilson
Oakland Country Homes
- Acting throughout the planning process for Abacus Projects Limited for a 373 residential unit development in Torbay where landscape and housing land supply were particular issues.
- Providing planning and CPO advice to Tameside Borough Council for its 2000 + dwellings Garden Village development on Green Belt land at Godley Green.
- Advising Arc Global Limited on heritage planning issues to secure planning permission for the Bristol Arc (a moving observational tower) in Millennium Square, Bristol.
Foot Anstey‘s South West planning practice, based across Bristol and Southampton, is highlighted for its know-how in matters relating to the residential development sector, where it is particularly active in advising housing associations and house builders. The energy sector is also an increasingly important area of focus for the team. Planning and environmental specialist Christian Silk has taken over as practice head after the departure of Tim Taylor. Associate Marianne Ironside joined the firm in early 2022 from Lester Aldridge LLP and focuses on the developer sector.
Other key lawyers:
NextEnergy Solar Holdings III Limited
British Solar Renewables
Duchy of Cornwall
The Tregothnan Estate
Bromford Housing Association
- Advised Baola Properties Limited on the terms of a Section 106 planning agreement and a highway stopping up order for the redevelopment of the former British American Tobacco headquarter building at 7 Millbank.
- Advising Somerlee Homes Limited and Environ Design (Sturry) Limited in relation to their application for 1,100 homes in Canterbury, Kent.
- Instructed by 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.
The planning team at Thrings LLP covers both rural and urban planning, with particular specialisation in the agriculture and development sectors, as well as waste, quarries and renewables. Alongside its non-contentious work, the Bristol and Romsey-based practice also represents clients in planning disputes and planning enforcement matters. Alex Madden heads the team and is well versed in drafting infrastructure agreements and applications, planning appeals, and advising on village green applications, amongst others. Senior associates Fred Quartermain and Matt Gilks are regularly involved in a variety of planning matters, including compulsory purchase orders and regeneration.
Other key lawyers:
Fred Quartermain; Matt Gilks; Rebecca Stanton
‘Thrings solicitors are reliable, very capable and of a size to deal with all manner of enquiries. A friendly team as well!’
‘The individual I worked with was a Matt Gilks. He had a sound understanding of Planning Law.’
‘Matt Gilks is diligent, thorough and a pleasure to work with.’
‘Alex Madden and Fred Quartermain are extremely experienced in planning law and most importantly can apply this knowledge to real-life situations. They are innovative, very approachable and helpful at all levels from initial enquiries to legal challenges in the High Court.’
‘Fred Quartermain has been a joy to know. He’s humble, smart, attentive, will to travel when needed. I look forward to continuing our work together.’
‘Rebecca Stanton has shown flexibility, endurance, and a willingness to put in whatever effort is necessary to achieve our goals.’
Eastleigh Borough Council
Newland Homes Limited
Cotswold Homes Limited
Exton Park Vineyard
National Westminster Bank PLC
Baylis Estates Limited
Hall Hunter Farms
- Acting for the claimant in a judicial review challenge into the Secretary of State’s decision to approve the development consent order for the Norfolk Vanguard offshore windfarm.
- Advising Eastleigh Borough Council on a strategic development for circa 2,500 houses, 20-25,000 sqm of commercial space, a local centre, primary school, distributor road, sports facilities and public open space on a 310-acre site in Hampshire.
- Acting for LW Developments in a mixed-use scheme for 163 houses, 4,000sqm of community and commercial space and a new football stadium for Cheshunt FC.
Trowers & Hamlins LLP joins the ranking with a planning practice based in Exeter that is sought after by local authorities, central government departments, and registered providers alongside a number of private sector clients. Practice head Rory Stracey specialises in planning, highways and compulsory purchase matters. Associate Sophie Emerson regularly handles development and regeneration projects for local authorities and developers.
Other key lawyers:
Westminster City Council
East Devon District Council
Clarion Housing Association Limited
Vision Nine Entertainment Group
Countryside Properties UK Plc
Sevenoaks District Council
Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust
Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
The Hill Group
Guildford Borough Council
Wirral Borough Council
Kent County Council
Richmond Housing Partnership
- Acted for Countryside Properties on the negotiation of an s106 agreement relating to the development of Drakelow Park, an 80-hectare urban extension where it intends to build approximately 1,500 homes alongside major investment in community amenities, education and infrastructure.
- Acting for Westminster City Council on the strategic planning aspects of the proposed Church Street Masterplan area, a mixed use scheme adjacent to Edgware Road involving up to 1,750 new homes.
- Advising Hill Residential on the planning aspects of its regeneration scheme for the Douglas Bader Estate, Barnet, North London.