Planning and environment in Wales

Geldards LLP

Co-headed by Charles Felgate  and Huw Williams, who both have an 'excellent understanding of local government in Wales', Geldards LLP 's two-partner team provides a 'fantastic level of service' to public sector clients through its range of contentious and non-contentious planning/environmental  expertise. Praised for his 'in-depth knowledge of planning law', Felgate is particularly accomplished at advising clients on planning/environment issues with a contentious edge, including public inquiries and judicial reviews. Senior associate Tomos Phillips is gaining an excellent reputation in the market for advising private developer clients and local planning authorities on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters, including with regard to section 106 matters and CPO issues.

Practice head(s):

Charles Felgate; Huw Williams

Other key lawyers:

Tomos Phillips


Impressive resources, knowledge base and capabilities

Relaxed yet focused approach


Key clients

Peakman Limited

Welsh Government

South Derbyshire District Council

Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority

Western Power Distribution

Wrexham County Borough Council

Leicester University

Welsh Local Government Association

Derbyshire County Council

Work highlights

  • Advised Peakman Limited on a reclamation of former opencast workings at Tir Pentwys – three-week public inquiry into this locally contentious application for the recovery of a nationally important resource of high-specification aggregates, which involves the construction of an access road through ancient woodland.
  • Acted for the Welsh Government in relation to the public inquiry into a scheme for a circa 20km section of new motorway to the south of Newport, which traverses several sites of special scientific interest, a special area of conservation and the statutory undertaking of Newport docks, as well as bounding a special protection area.
  • Acted for Cheshire East Council in relation to the making of the compulsory purchase order and side roads order for the delivery of the Poynton Relief Road scheme, which was promoted on behalf of Cheshire East Council and Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.
  • Acted for South Derbyshire District Council in the drafting and negotiation of the s106 agreement for a major development of up to 1,100 houses (in addition to a supermarket, public house and retail units) at New House Farm, Mickleover, Derby.
  • Acting for Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority in relationship to judicial review of decision to grant planning permission for a replacement single dwelling house at Pont y Meddwyg.

Acuity Law

Regularly working in conjunction with the firm's excellent real estate team, and also handling discrete planing matters, Acuity Law has an 'up-and-coming' reputation in the market on behalf of private and public sector entities. Able to tap into his overarching general commercial real estate prowess, as well as benefiting from a significant knowledge of the nuances of planning requirements, Steve Morris provides an 'invaluable service' to a broad range of clients on their highest-profile south Wales-based projects. Although the team is largely focused on non-contentious matters, its growing Swansea-based general commercial litigation offering enables it to provide some capacity on the planning litigation front.

Practice head(s):

Steve Morris

Other key lawyers:

Gareth Baker; Damien Cann

Key clients

Rightacres Property

Greenbank Partnerships

Fitzpatrick Construction UK

Associated British Ports

University of Wales Trinity Saint David

South Wales Land Developments

Principality Building Society


LifeCare Residences

Bluestone Resorts

Work highlights

  • Acted for Rightacres Property on a successful £30m development, involving bespoke planning agreement drafting and advice in connection with the twin tracking of an adjoining site.
  • The firm represented the University of Wales Trinity St David at the heart of a £300m joint venture mixed-use Swansea waterfront development.
  • Advising (as sole legal partner) resort operator Bluestone on the planning history, current planning obligations and requirements for variations in obligations in connection with its potential acquisition of a £105m site in Anglesey, the largest ever property development in that county.  
  • Acted for the Principality Building Society on a phased residential development in monitoring compliance with ongoing planning conditions and reviewing terms of a section 106 agreement.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Although the Cardiff team at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP is fairly small, it regularly works alongside other practitioners across the firm's network, as well as in conjunction with the office's vast real estate offering, across a range of planning and environmental issues. 'Very solid' principal associate Kee Evans heads the team and is particularly noted for her environmental expertise, which includes advice on contaminated land matters, acquisitions/disposals and all Welsh legislation. Key industry sectors include transport, health care and renewables.

Practice head(s):

Kee Evans


‘Kee Evans was prepared to give sound advice around complex issues- she has a good depth of knowledge and provides practical as well as legal advice to resolve issues.’

Key clients

Glaxo SmithKline

National Grid

Nuclear Decommissioning Agency


Sims Group UK

Severn Trent Water

Legal and General

Segro Plc

Koch Industries

Thames Water


Work highlights

  • The Cardiff team provided environmental advice and support to GlaxoSmithKline on the sale of its iconic Horlicks Factory in Slough.
  • Advice to a household name utility company in relation to the environmental permitting regime and the link with the funding/pricing arrangements agreed by the relevant utilities regulator.
  • Advised a large US manufacturing company in relation to a breach of the ROHS Regulations by one of its suppliers.
  • Acted as lead adviser for Elite Partners Capital on its first UK real estate acquisition.
  • Advised a large water utilities company on a range of contentious and non-contentious environmental issues, including in the context of Environment Agency investigations into matters of strategic importance with potentially heavy penalties.

Hugh James

Leveraging expertise from across the firm's property, construction and litigation teams, Hugh James' multi-disciplinary planning and environment practice handles non-contentious and contentious matters for public and private sector clients. Senior associate Shelley Ikram regularly provides the planning advice (including Section 106 agreements) associated with major projects handled by the firm's real estate and construction teams, and has also been involved in matters with a more contentious element, including as it relates to village green matters.

Practice head(s):

Peter Hurn

Other key lawyers:

Shelley Ikram

Key clients

Welsh Government

Ely Bridge Development Company

Parc Eirin Development

Llanmoor Homes

Bellway Homes

Curo Group

Dwr Cymru Cyfyngedig (Welsh Water)

Barratt Homes

Persimmon Homes

Cenin Renewables

Walters Group

Natural Resources Wales

Work highlights

  • Advising Dwr Cymru Cyfyngedig (Welsh Water) on a proposed hydro electric scheme at Alwen Reservoir in Conwy, north Wales
  • Acts for the Walters group subsidiaries, Pennant Walters and Enersyst, on multiple windfarm, solar and battery storage projects throughout the UK – work which involves some planning and environmental considerations.
  • Advising Walters Automotive on the disposal of an automotive dealership in mid-Wales.
  • The negotiation and drafting of a multimillion-pound wind turbine contract situated at Stormy Down, Bridgend on behalf of Cenin Renewables
  • Advising Natural Resources Wales on multimillion-pound claims made to ownership of mineral rights beneath the surface of several large forestry areas in Wales

JCP Solicitors

Led by the 'perceptive and focusedRory HutchingsJCP Solicitors' three-strong team is particularly strong at handling the planning issues within the agriculture sector, work which includes advising on town and country planning matters and compulsory purchase orders. The firm is also well-regarded in relation to planning and environmental issues associated with renewable energy projects.

Practice head(s):

Rory Hutchings

Other key lawyers:

Michael Williams; Alice Dearden-Cobbett


It is a strong regional (South Wales) practice which covers a range of specialist areas including environment, agriculture, planning and compulsory purchase

The team is very approachable and knowledgeable

Rory Hutchins is very knowledgeable about the agricultural industry and the rural sector as a whole. He knows what makes farmers tick and understands the logic behind their activities, which may not be logical to many practitioners.

Alice Dearden-Cobbett was very thorough and good at negotiating with the local authority on tricky points about fruit farming/permitted development for seasonal workers.