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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 > West Midlands > Real estate > Planning > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Planning
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

DLA Piper UK LLP is well established at the top of the market for planning advice in the West Midlands, providing 'innovative solutions' on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious matters, including regeneration projects, residential and commercial developments, compulsory purchase compensation and contentious planning permissions. The impressive client base includes major developers, prominent clients in the public sector and investors. Practice head Trevor Ivory advises on a broad scope of matters, while Howard Bassford is recognised for his high-profile work in infrastructure planning, a key area of expertise for the practice; both split their time between Birmingham and London. Amy Truman, who was recently promoted to director, focuses on the residential sector.

Practice head(s):Trevor Ivory

Other key lawyers:Amy Truman; Howard Bassford

Testimonials

'The firm stands out in terms of their breadth of service and experience, providing innovative solutions'

'Consistently strong over many years and delivers a good service to clients'

'Trevor Ivory has huge experience, very good all-round judgement, knows the relevant law and policy very well'

'Trevor Ivory is great to work with and really understands the issues that we are faced with'

Key Clients

HS2 Limited

Department for Transport

Highways England

East West Rail Company

Mace Group

Norfolk Homes Limited

Pigeon Land Limited

Signature Senior Lifestyle

National Grid

Griffen

Eskmuir

Moto

Altrad

Land Trust

Oval Properties

Arc Data Centres

Insite Media

Ocean Outdoor Media

Cheshire West and Chester

Cheyne Capital

Investec

Football Association

Busy Bees

Revelan

Socially Conscious Capital

MLN Land and Property

Taylor Wimpey

Persimmon Homes

Hopkins Homes

LaSalle/Citygrove

Aviva

Aberdeen Standard

Government of Afghanistan

Tata Group

Aggregate Industries

Cemex

Work highlights

  • Acted for HS2 in connection with an appeal to the Secretaries of State for Communities and Transport following a refusal of approval by the London Borough of Hillingdon.
  • Advising Mace Group on a planning application for student accommodation in Exeter.
  • Advising Pigeon Land Management in connection with an appeal against the refusal of planning permission for 250 new homes in Bedfordshire.
  • Advising the Department for Transport on the National Policy Statement for a new airport capacity in the southeast of England.
  • Advising LaSalle/Citygrove in connection with the redevelopment of 60 London Wall.

Gowling WLG handles heavyweight nationwide work relating to major commercial and residential developments, infrastructure projects, compulsory purchase and compensation matters, as well as dispute resolution. The group’s client roster includes household names in the housing, development, leisure, transport and public sectors. 'Stand-out strategist' Andrew Thomas heads the team and has excellent capabilities advising on the full spectrum of planning matters, often working alongside director Toni Weston. Principal associate Cairo Nickolls is another key member of the practice.

Practice head(s):Andrew Thomas

Other key lawyers:Toni Weston; Cairo Nickolls

Testimonials

'An excellent combination of sound strategic advice and attention to the detail of drafting'

'Gowling WLG is proactive, professional and above all, commercially minded'

'Gowling WLG has been very strong over many years and is delivering very good quality work'

'Andrew Thomas is a stand-out strategist'

'Andrew Thomas is an excellent lawyer'

'Vicky Fowler is very experienced'

'Associate Priya Patel is a remarkable up and coming talent'

Key Clients

Bloor Homes Limited

Persimmon Homes Limited

Taylor Wimpey UK Limited

Goodman Real Estate

St Modwen Developments

South Tees Development Corporation

Sanctuary Housing Association

Transport for London

Highways England

London Borough of Barnet

Work highlights

  • Advising Goodman Real Estate on the proposed Development Consent Order for a strategic rail freight interchange at Etwall near Derby, comprising approximately six million square feet of distribution floorspace and a rail terminal.
  • Advising South Tees Development Corporation on the strategy to secure the regeneration of the 900 hectare former SSI steelworks at Redcar.
  • Advised the Greater London Authority on the first use of its compulsory purchase powers to acquire land to enable the regeneration of the Southall Gasworks site.
  • Advising Highways England on securing development consent orders to deliver its Road Investment Strategy.
  • Advising Transport for London on its programme of upgrading and repairs to key infrastructure, including bridges and tunnels.

Well-known for its strong track record in residential and energy work, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP also advises clients in the private and public sector on infrastructure projects in the rail and aviation sectors, and also advised on the planning for the athletes' village for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Paul Maile, who leads the team, advises major energy suppliers, utility companies, national housebuilders, land promoters and local authorities, often supported by senior associate Duncan Williams.

Practice head(s):Paul Maile

Other key lawyers:Duncan Williams

Key Clients

db Symmetry

RWE Generation

Menter Mon Cyf

Taylor Wimpey UK Limited

Heyford Park Developments

Community Windpower Limited

Morris Homes

Bathurst Estates

Birmingham Airport

Birmingham City Council

Work highlights

  • Advising db symmetry in connection with its application for a development consent order for a rail freight interchange at Hinckley.
  • Represented RWE Generation in connection with the application for a development consent order for a proposed port terminal at the former Tilbury Power Station.
  • Representing Taylor Wimpey UK in connection with various developments, including 1,300 dwellings at Perryfields, Bromsgrove, 2,000 dwellings and associated infrastructure at Comeytrowe, Taunton and 1,500 at Burleyfields, Stafford.
  • Advising Community Windpower in connection with its appeals against an enforcement notice and a failure to discharge a condition to enable development of its consented windfarm at Sneddon Law, East Ayreshire.
  • Advising Birmingham City Council in respect of its application for planning permission for the athletes' village for the Commonwealth Games.

Pinsent Masons LLP recently brought in a new local team head with the hire of former Ashurst partner Lucy Thomas, who handles large-scale regeneration schemes. The practice has outstanding expertise in advising local authorities on infrastructure and housing development matters, often working in collaboration with the London office, and also acts for developers on residential projects. Director Heidi Slater, who has 'an infinite capacity for sustained hard work', is well-regarded for her infrastructure work and also specialises in compulsory purchase and acquisition matters.

Practice head(s):Lucy Thomas

Other key lawyers:Heidi Slater

Testimonials

'The team has the ability to work harder and more effectively over sustained periods of time in order to get the job done, and to deliver incisive and commercially astute advice at the preparatory stages of project development, backed up by an up-to-date knowledge of the law and its latest developments, and to then follow through to delivery of the project through the relevant consenting regime'

'The team clearly shows the reason for the firm's market leading position, offering expert advice, providing strength in depth and demonstrating that going the extra mile is simply business as usual'

'The team has the ability to always provide advice constructively with a solutions focus, allowing them to become trusted members of the wider project team, rather than just legal gatekeepers'

'I have found the knowledge and experience of Pinsent Masons to be unparalleled within the sector. All employees that I have worked with have a thorough understanding of the range of planning consenting approaches'

'Legal director Heidi Slater has an infinite capacity for sustained hard work, a detailed knowledge of compulsory acquisition and development consent order law, practice, and procedure, and a sound grasp of tactics and commercial realism'

'Heidi Slater is very approachable and makes the often stressful DCO examination process much simpler with her calm approach that shows that she is in control of the situation. She is responsive and efficient'

'Associate Matthew Fox has a 'can do' attitude combined with a steadiness under pressure, an ability to deliver against tight deadlines, and a microscopic attention to detail'

'Matthew Fox is particularly knowledgeable of the technical aspects of the environmental disciplines. Matthew also has a remarkable ability to understand and recall the approach to the assessment'

'Associate Jonathan Leary is a oasis of calm in a pressured environment, with a detailed knowledge of DCO drafting and compulsory purchase compensation, and a reassuring sense of keeping matters firmly under control'

'Heidi Slater and Jonathan Leary have provided excellent legal advice and exceptional hard work'

'Lucy Close is one to watch, with a real understanding of her clients, strong drafting skills and a practical approach to advice'

Key Clients

Highways England

Suffolk County Council

Norfolk County Council

Ebbsfleet Development Corporation

Transport for London

Heathrow Airport Limited

Crest Nicholson

Environment Agency

Countryside Properties UK Limited

Port of Tilbury Limited

Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council & Hampshire County Council (jointly)

Cory Riverside Energy

L&Q/ Gallagher Estates Limited

West Midlands Combined Authority

Davidsons Developments Limited

CALA Homes

London Borough of Croydon

Stone Hill Park Limited

Portsmouth City Council

Leeds City Council

Work highlights

  • Advising Suffolk County Council on its bridge crossing proposals for Lowestoft.
  • Advising the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation on all of their strategic planning work, including the 10,000 home Garden Village, regeneration schemes and the London Theme Park Resort NSIP in Kent.
  • Advising Norfolk County Council on its nationally significant designated bridge crossing proposals for a third crossing over the River Yare in Great Yarmouth.
  • Advising on the redevelopment of the former Manston Airport site for Stone Hill Park for a 4,000 home new settlement including Local Plan and planning applications advice.
  • Advising Sandwell Council on the new Aquatics Centre for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, and Lend Lease as delivery partner to deliver the athletes' village.

Shoosmiths LLP provides advice to landowners, developers and investors on commercial and residential planning matters, assists local authorities with compulsory purchase orders and heritage matters, and regularly acts on both sides of planning enforcement issues. Tim Willis  - 'a first choice for planning litigation in the region' - focuses on contentious planning work, while newly made partner Anna Cartledge has an impressive track record handling residential schemes.

Practice head(s):Tim Willis; Anna Cartledge

Testimonials

'One of the leading planning teams in Birmingham and certainly the number one for planning litigation'

'Tim Willis is most leading developer's first choice for planning litigation in the region. He has a great legal brain'

'Anna Cartledge is one of many rising young female stars in the practice area'

Key Clients

Formal Investments Ltd

IM Properties Developments Ltd

Maximus Strategic Stafford LLP

Peugeot Citroen Automobiles Limited

Tendring District Council

Hart District Council

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council

Montpellier Estates Limited

IM (BVP3) Ltd

Fulford Parish Council

Work highlights

  • Advising Formal Investments on planning matters arising from their application to extract minerals and create a new public park and subterranean development to provide underground warehousing and storage.
  • Advising IM Properties (BVP3) on a large scale mixed residential and commercial development in greenbelt land.
  • Providing Maximus Strategic Stafford with strategic planning advice in relation to the promotion and allocation of a site for 2,000-plus residential units.
  • Successfully advising Tendring District Council on the defence of eight interlinked conjoined planning appeals dealing with complex heritage issues.
  • Advising Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council in relation to a series of interlinked compulsory purchase orders to allow the regeneration of the town centre.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP covers a broad spectrum of work, handling housing developments, judicial reviews, negotiation of planning agreements, due diligence of planning documentation as well as enforcement matters. Key sectors include housebuilding, education, energy and healthcare. Litigator and planning head Simon Stanion often handles contentious development projects, while director Leenamari Aantaa-Collier acts for a range of clients and director Ian Graves brings expertise in environmental law. Director Louise Portman left to take up a new role at Highways England in August 2018.

Practice head(s):Simon Stanion

Other key lawyers:Leenamari Aantaa-Collier; Ian Graves

Testimonials

'Excellent partner-led planning practice'

'This team has grown steadily into one which is now a force to be reckoned with. It works amongst the SMEs and the medium sized entities and provides just what they need: care, focus and well-resourced specialist advice'

'A well known firm, providing excellent planning advice'

'The planning team is dedicated and top notch, commercially aware and at the same time sympathetic but realistic'

'Hands on approach at partner level. Well-resourced and costs sensitive. Partners and assistants display great knowledge and apply it effectively'

'Simon Stanion leads the way with real insight to the opportunities and risks in any proposal'

'Simon Stanion is one of the very best planning solicitors in the country, and a lovely guy to boot. I would trust him with anything'

'Simon Stanion and Leenamari Aantaa-Collier are both outstanding planning lawyers'

'Leenamari Antaa-Collier brings great enthusiasm, knowledge and experience to the work she does. Organised and clear thinking, she provides a first class experience for clients'

Key Clients

University of Warwick

Gallagher Estates Ltd

Barratt Homes West Midlands

Various NHS Trusts nationwide

Daniel Farmilo

Bright Horizons Family Solutions

Marcus Dill

Capreon

Galliford Try Partnerships East Midlands

Trafford Housing and L&Q

Work highlights

  • Providing strategic planning advice to the University of Warwick relating to approval for nine transformative campus projects over the next five years.
  • Advising Gallagher Estates on a section 106 agreement to provide a sustainable urban extension development at Braintree in Essex.
  • Advising multinational real estate firm Capreon on the due diligence of planning documentation for its £164m acquisition of two retail parks in England and Scotland.
  • Devising a practical resolution to a judicial review decision in order to clear a noise issue preventing Barratt Homes from building a 240-home development in Ledbury.
  • Helping local NHS trusts to maximise their funding from development contributions and income from their own land portfolios through planning agreements.

Gateley Plc regularly advises developers, housebuilders and investors on planning issues relating to development and regeneration projects, such as the implementation of planning permissions and due diligence for real estate transactions. In other work, the team acts for private individuals and developers on enforcement matters. Director Matthew Scudamore heads the residential planning team and also often handles highway claims.

Practice head(s):Matthew Scudamore

Testimonials

'The team is extremely diverse with a number of different characters and personalities among the team. It allows to tailor different projects to different people depending on their personality and experience'

'Gateley have a wide range of expertise, which means they can get expert input to most issues quickly'

'Gateley stands out for the responsiveness of the individuals within the company. They respond to ad hoc queries very quickly and deliver against their promises'

'I would always choose Susan Ehlinger to deal with our section 106 applications. I work for a fast paced company and having someone on our side who understands that is always beneficial. Susan will always do things without me even having to request it, because she knows how our company works. She isn't afraid of contacting people to get what we need in the timeframe we need'

Key Clients

Taylor Wimpey

Lovell

Persimmon

Barratt Homes

Bellway

Mountpark

Stoford

Keepmoat Homes

Lidl

Regal (West Point)

Harworth Estates

Catesby

Crest Nicholson

Harborne Golf Club

Barberry

Work highlights

  • Advised on the planning due diligence relating to Mountpark’s acquisition of a large commercial site.
  • Advised FAR on the due diligence, planning issues, and the delivery of various planning applications for the regeneration of the former Nailstone Colliery for commercial purposes.
  • Assisting Harborne Golf Club with the sale of land for housing development, including advising on a highway point of law in relation to dedication of land for highway purposes where the ownership is unknown.
  • Advising Abbey Homes in relation to its highway claim that a bridleway over residential a site is affecting the delivery of housing.
  • Assisting Harworth Estates with the redevelopment of a former coalfield colliery site in Yorkshire.

Wright Hassall LLP has experience acting on compulsory purchases related to HS2, acquisitions of land and property, section 106 agreement and highways matters, as well as judicial reviews. One of the key mainstays of the practice is its work for local authorities. The group's client roster also includes housing associations and housebuilders. Senior associate John Gregory leads the team and is well-respected for his 'depth of experience and expert technical knowledge'.

Practice head(s):John Gregory

Testimonials

'Wright Hassall has a huge amount of experience working with local planning authorities. Indeed, they entirely understand the politics involved in the operation of local planning authorities. They are so skilled in this area that they assist a number of authorities by doing their judicial reviews, advising on s.106 agreements and advising at planning committees. Wright Hassall also does a lot with housing association clients given their significant experience in the public sector'

'Wright Hassall is able to advise on the smallest and the biggest issues'

'The team is very professional, engaging with clients and explaining the legal position to non-lawyers with clarity and without fuss. The practice also has considerable expertise in the area of planning law which would not be replicated in many regional firms of solicitors. Individuals are very good at taking the time with their clients and have a good network of fellow professionals such as surveyors'

Key Clients

AC Lloyd Group

Aldwyck Housing Group

Herefordshire Council

Two Rivers Housing Association

Bromford Housing Association

Orbit Homes 2020 Limited

Housing Plus 21

Hayden Homes

Settle Group

Rooftop Housing

Work highlights

  • Instructed by Herefordshire Council to advise on its collaboration with Keepmoat Homes on various development projects, including a housing development on council land at Bromyard in Herefordshire.
  • Defending Herefordshire Council in proceedings for the judicial review of the grant of planning permission for housing.

Ansons in Lichfield handles section 106 agreements for housing developments, represents clients in disputes with councils over planning permission and planning enforcement, and advises clients on infrastructure projects. Associate Neil Faunch, who leads the team, has specific expertise in compulsory purchase and discretionary schemes. Head of regulatory law David Anderton is another key member of the planning practice.

Practice head(s):Neil Faunch

Other key lawyers:David Anderton

The planning team at FBC Manby Bowdler LLP in Telford stands out for its expertise in acting for landowners, often in the farming community, in relation to negotiation of land promotion agreements and planning obligations, land sales and proceedings against enforcement notices. Niall Blackie and associate Suzanne Tucker regularly handle option and promotion agreements concerning land with residential development potential. Other work includes advising developers on planning permissions.

Practice head(s):Niall Blackie

Other key lawyers:Suzanne Tucker

With experience advising developers, local authorities and private individuals, Harrison Clark Rickerbys covers a range of contentious and non-contentious planning matters including judicial reviews of planning permissions, residential developments, compulsory purchase, section 106 agreements and enforcement actions. Practice head Rosalind Andrews is 'well-versed in all aspects of planning law'.

Practice head(s):Rosalind Andrews

Testimonials

'The team has been growing, reflecting the demand for their approach and widening client base. The team supports both private developers/individuals and local authorities so is uniquely placed to understand the nuances of any situation from both sides'

'Rosalind Andrews is very well versed in all aspects of planning law, and critically crosses the divide between both private and public sector work, giving that unique insight to second guess where negotiations may head and develop appropriate strategies'

Key Clients

Lloyds Bank Plc

Malvern Hills District Council

Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire

Wychavon District Council

Ethical Power

National Care Group

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended a developer in a local authority’s legal challenge of the grant of planning permission by the Planning Inspectorate for an eco-house development.
  • Successfully defended a private individual against an enforcement action for significant unauthorised works at a property in Knightsbridge.
  • Represented Malvern Hills District Council in relation to the drafting, negotiation, and completion of a number of section 106 agreements for several urban extensions to the city of Worcester.
  • Advised a charity in relation to appropriate strategy and negotiations relating to the compulsory purchase of land containing a national collection of trees.
  • Acted on behalf of a developer in relation to a number of renewable energy projects.

Led by David Brammer, the team at Lanyon Bowdler handles disputes with local planning authorities in relation to developments and defends clients against claims of breaches of planning control. On the non-contentious side, the group advises on planning-related aspects of sales and acquisitions of real estate, implementation of planning consents, securing of planning permission for developments and promotion agreements, with particular expertise acting for clients in the agriculture and industrial sectors.

Practice head(s):David Brammer

Testimonials

'Their preparation is meticulous. All background information has been thoroughly reviewed, papers are always delivered in good time and accompanied by an insightful analysis'

'David Brammer is clearly a leader in his field. He can scythe through complex factual and legal detail to get straight to the pertinent issues. He is extremely good with clients and ensures that their case is always properly understood and articulated. A delight to work with'

Key Clients

David Smith-Ryland

Traylen Enterprises Limited

LAF Holdings Limited

Peter Yeoward / JC Yeoward & Co

Fletcher Homes (Shropshire) Limited.

Bryncir Quarry

Investor and Pension Company

David Tringham

John De La Cour

Removal of Agricultural Tie

Work highlights

  • Advising a client in a longstanding dispute with the local planning authority in relation to residential development adjacent to his farm.
  • Reporting on planning and infrastructure issues in relation to LAF Holdings' acquisition of a minerals and quarrying business.
  • Advising a client in relation to a planning appeal in connection with the expansion of a pheasant farming business.
  • Advising Fletcher Homes on the purchase of residential development land under a conditional contract.

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