Planning in West Midlands

DLA Piper

DLA Piper offers ‘efficient, excellent, technical and practical legal advice’ to its broad roster of national and international clients. Embodying ‘the exact traits one would hope for in a planning counsel’, Trevor Ivory leads the practice, and is recognised for his expertise in development and contentious planning matters, and works alongside ‘simply outstanding’ senior associate Pieter Claussen in matters relating to data centre developments. Claussen also advises on compulsory purchase law, with experience in judicial review, section 106 agreements and environmental impact assessments. Howard Bassford, who splits his time between London and Birmingham, is regarded by clients for his ‘terrific experience in development consent order work’ and has notable expertise in infrastructure planning. Other key members of the team include legal directors Ian Graves and Amy Truman, who both specialise in planning, particularly involving infrastructure, site regeneration and urban extensions.

Practice head(s):

Trevor Ivory

Other key lawyers:

Howard Bassford; Ian Graves; Amy Truman; Pieter Claussen


‘DLA’s planning team offer clear, concise advice on complex planning matters. They are proactive in their approach and flexible in outlook so that as a client you are left in no doubt about where you stand or what you should do.’

‘Trevor Ivory has a wealth of planning knowledge which he articulates in a no-nonsense way. By simplifying often complex nuances, there is no bluster just supremely solid advice. Pieter Claussen is there as Trevor’s catch all and displays similar levels of professionalism.’

‘Strong on the town and country planning and infrastructure side, DLA Piper is a strong and growing team.’

‘I’d highlight Trevor Ivory for town and country planning. Howard Bassford for infrastructure work. Howard is an intellectual black letter lawyer with the ability to come up with novel points in his client’s favour. Pieter Claussen is a stand out junior – very capable and self-assured.’

‘The team has provided advice on some particularly complex and novel cases. They have consistently managed to distil these cases to their core issues and given clear advice on tactics. This has led to repeated success in planning appeals and legal challenges.’

‘Trevor Ivory has an excellent capacity to understand the big picture in which we are operating and on that basis provide superb strategic advice.’

‘Pieter Claussen has a remarkable capacity to assimilate huge amounts of of information and prepare high quality work to tight deadlines.’

‘The strength of the team is its integrity and honesty when it comes to progressing cases. We have worked closely with DLA Piper to collaboratively take cases forward, and the advice has always been clear and reasoned in terms of what are the best strategies to close out cases and in terms of the approaches that are recommended. The team appears to work very closely and collaboratively with Counsel.’

Key clients

HS2 Limited


National Grid

Oval Properties

National Highways

Ark Data Centres

East West Rail Company

Pigeon Land Limited

Southend United Football Club

Affinity Water

HS1 Limited

Mace Group

Norfolk Homes Limited



Land Trust

Ocean Outdoor Media

Cheshire West and Chester Council

Cheyne Capital


Football Association

Busy Bees



Tata Group

Aggregate Industries


Liverpool City Council


This is Gravity Limited

Manchester Airport Group

Environment Agency

Colt Technology Services

Doncaster MBC

London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham

Hutchison Ports (Europe)

Welsh Government

Work highlights

  • Advising Oval Real Estate on its proposals to comprehensively redevelop a large tranche of the Birmingham district of Digbeth.
  • Advising on the proposed Lincolnshire GREEN Development Consent Order and the Cotswolds and North Wessex Visual Improvement Projects.
  • Continuing to advise the developer on the implementation of a redevelopment in Birmingham city centre known as Paradise, and on a section 73 application to vary the outline approval.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP is sought out for its broad experience in development projects encountering a range of planning requirements. Practice head Paul Maile is noted for his expertise in infrastructure, particularly in renewables and water, and has been active in several recent mandates across the energy sector. Principal associate Duncan Williams has specific experience in residential developments, as well as High Court challenges and due diligence. Noted for her contentious work, senior associate Kate Radford has a growing infrastructure practice.

Practice head(s):

Paul Maile

Other key lawyers:

Kate Radford; Duncan Williams

Key clients

Tritax Symmetry (Hinckley) Limited

RWE Renewables UK Limited

AWG Holdings Limited

High Speed Two (HS2) Limited

INRG Solar (Little Crow) Ltd


L&G Senior Living

Statkraft UK Ltd

EDF Energy Ltd

Taylor Wimpey

Gowling WLG

With its planning team located within the broader real estate group, Gowling WLG has ‘good integration of its planning specialism with wider real estate capabilities’, offering a full spectrum of planning law advice. The firm is regarded for its strength in commercial developments and counts major housebuilders among its clients in relation to residential projects. Infrastructure is also a key area for the practice, specifically regarding highways and the rail freight interchange market. The practice is led by Birmingham-based partner Toni Weston, who is described as a ‘great lawyer’ offering ‘clear and reliable planning advice’, and who has experience across regeneration projects, highway schemes and both residential and commercial developments. Associates Cairo Nickolls and Richard Thurling are also key supporting members in the team.

Practice head(s):

Toni Weston

Other key lawyers:

Cairo Nickolls; Richard Thurling; Dan Leather; Madeline Creevy


‘Good integration of planning specialism with wider real estate capabilities.’

‘Toni Weston – clear and reliable planning advice.’

‘Gowlings are a very well thought of solicitors with an impressive client base.’

‘Toni Weston is a great lawyer.’

‘Excellent service all round. They have a strong team so the quality of work remains high with differing team members. They offer commercial advice and know our business well. The main strength is assessing the issues, presenting them clearly, advising on potential solutions, leading to positive outcomes.’

‘Dan Leather, Madeline Creevy and Richard Thurling in particular consistently deliver excellent service and sound legal advice. With many transactions, speed is important, but also tenacity and endurance. All three of those named above are adept and flexible enough to tailor their approach to each transaction and ensure that the desired result is achieved.’

Key clients

Bloor Homes Limited

Persimmon Homes Limited

Miller Homes Limited

Hyde Housing

Goodman Real Estate

St Modwen Developments

St Modwen Homes

South Tees Development Corporation

Sanctuary Housing Association

Transport for London

National Highways Limited

London Borough of Barnet

Mulberry Commercial Developments Limited

Land and Partners

Hayfield Homes

Latimer and the Clarion Housing Group

Vistry Homes

Barratt Homes Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted as lead legal advisor to National Highways on an application for a development consent order for the A57 Link Roads improvement scheme.
  • Advising a consortium of landowners and developers on the preparation and submission of a planning application for a sustainable urban extension of 5,500 new homes in Langley.
  • Advised South Tees Development Corporation on the making, confirmation and implementation of a CPO to secure regeneration of 900 hectares of the former Redcar Steel Works.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Highly regarded for its strength in residential projects, Pinsent Masons LLP fields a sizeable team of planning practitioners in its Birmingham office. The department is led by Lucy Thomas, who specialises in advising both public and private sector clients in a range of planning matters, particularly those involving compulsory purchase orders and compensation. Alongside residential projects, in which associate Sophie Carlile is a key member of the team, the practice is also noted for its handling of transport, energy and infrastructure-related planning issues, with Heidi Slater, senior associate Jonathan Leary and associate Matthew Fox playing active roles in these areas. Under Thomas’s leadership, the group is also experienced in the promotion of compulsory purchase orders and works closely with a range of local authorities in this field.

Practice head(s):

Lucy Thomas

Other key lawyers:

Heidi Slater; Matthew Fox; Jonathan Leary; Sophie Carlile


‘The depth of knowledge of the industry and being able to relate it to particular projects enables teams to understand the practical application of the role that Pinsent Masons undertake. The team have embedded themselves in to the project team to the extent that their are no barriers, communication is open, constructive and always informative.’

‘Heidi Slater – unrivalled commitment to the project with a relentless eye for detail.’

Key clients

Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council

Hampshire County Council

National Highways

Coventry City Council

Cumbria County Council

Cornwall Council

Transport for London

Inland Homes

Norfolk County Council

Lioncourt Homes

Suffolk County Council

Ministry for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

Drax Power Limited

Birmingham Airport Limited

Sunnica Ltd

Birmingham City Council

Medway Council

Lendlease Smithfield Development LLP

Cory Environmental Holdings LLP

Ebbsfleet Development Corporation

Environment Agency

Cannock Chase District Council

Work highlights

  • Acting for Coventry City Council on its high-profile City Centre South regeneration scheme, including advising on all property, planning and compulsory purchase matters.
  • Continuing to advise National Highways on the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Improvement Scheme, the A303 Stonehenge Tunnel Scheme, and the A66 Northern Trans-Pennine project.
  • Advising the Secretary of State of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in respect of its proposals for the new national Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre.

Shoosmiths LLP

Praised for providing ‘consistently excellent advice’, Shoosmiths LLP’s Midlands planning practice is a key component of its national offering. The team works closely with planning groups based in Manchester and Nottingham, and has a strong development and public sector focus. The practice is also distinguished for its planning litigation team led by Tim Willis, who is described as a ‘star of the firm’. Senior associate Rachael Coulsting is also a key contact in the team for her experience advising housebuilders and developers, as well as her work in CPOs, s.106 agreements and planning litigation. Solicitor Paige Ferris-Bedward recently joined the firm from EMW Law LLP. Stuart Tym  left the firm to join Knights plc in August  2023.

Practice head(s):

Tim Willis

Other key lawyers:

Rachael Coulsting; Paige Ferris-Bedward


‘Consistently excellent in providing advice and notable for client care.’

‘Very experienced planning solicitors. Very knowledgeable of the planning and enforcement system. Able to give the client comprehensive and realistic advice. Excellent at project managing a multidisciplinary team in complex Planning Inquiries. Regularly represents clients in the Planning Court.’

‘Shoosmiths have a strong planning team in the Midlands with a client-focused and proactive approach to practice. I find the team technically competent and collaborative.’

‘I have worked closely with Tim Willis on a number of cases and he will always seek to explore how best to advance the client’s position in a robust, yet flexible and realistic fashion.’

‘Tim Willis is the obvious star of the firm.’

Key clients

Bellway Homes Limited (South West)

Maximus Strategic Land Limited

Walsall Housing Group Limited

Richborough Estates

O&H Properties

IM Properties

City and County of Swansea Council

Persimmon Homes (Thames Valley) Limited


Safestore Properties Limited

Westlake Properties Limited

Nurton Developments (Shifnal) Limited

Central England Co-operative Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Maximus Ltd on the North Stafford urban extension scheme, which encompasses a 432-acre site allocated for the provision of 2,000 houses, two new schools, and associated transport links and green infrastructure.
  • Advising Nurton in relation to the promotion of its land for residential development through the draft Shropshire Local Plan 2016-2038.
  • Acting for Persimmon Homes in relation to a housing proposal for 500 houses.

Browne Jacobson LLP

Led by Richard Barlow and Laura Hughes, based in Nottingham, Browne Jacobson LLP is often engaged on significant projects across a range of sectors, including infrastructure and renewable energy, including tidal and wind farm plans, supporting both developers and local authorities at the intersection of environmental and planning matters. Key Birmingham partner Ben Standing specialises in planning for both public and private sector clients, with particular experience in energy, solar, nuclear and tidal developments, as well as residential matters.

Practice head(s):

Richard Barlow; Laura Hughes

Other key lawyers:

Ben Standing

Key clients

Inland Ltd

Welsh Government

Canal & River Trust

First State Investments

Thurrock Council

Homes England

Mace Dragados JV

Boots UK Ltd

Platform Housing Ltd

London Borough of Croydon

Inspired Villages

Shakespeare Martineau LLP

The multidisciplinary practice at Shakespeare Martineau LLP is noted for its broad planning expertise, with a geographic focus across the Midlands. The firm regularly advises established developers and residential and commercial clients, as well as an increasing roster of local authorities. The practice is led by Birmingham-based partner Simon Stanion, who is noted for his experience in contentious development plans. Anna Cartledge, also in Birmingham, is distinguished for her planning specialism in large-scale residential development sites, as well as for her experience in biodiversity net gain and heritage sites.

Practice head(s):

Simon Stanion

Other key lawyers:

Anna Cartledge; Sonal Panesar; Josh Morley


‘The people at Shakespeare are great to work with, approachable, pragmatic and collaborative in their approach.’

‘We often work with Sonal Panesar who is quick to respond, collaborative in her approach and will always pick up the phone to talk an issue though and work with us to find solutions.’

‘The firm has a first class planning team headed up by the highly experienced Simon Stanion.’

‘Simon Stanion and Josh Morley – Simon is a sector leader with unparalleled experience in the planning sector. Josh Morley is talented and highly effective junior lawyer and a future market leader.’

Key clients

Court BD

Cropston Properties

BDW Trading Limited

Platform Homes Limited

KLPG (Nottinghamshire) Limited

South Staffordshire Water

Newark and Sherwood District Council

Everards Brewery


Work highlights

  • Advised Court BD on all of the legal aspects of a planning application for a build-to-rent scheme in Birmingham, providing a mix of 581 one- and two-bedroom homes.
  • Continuing to advise Everards Brewery on the redevelopment of Everards Meadows in Enderby, Leicestershire, a large-scale mixed-leisure use scheme which sees the regeneration of a site on the outskirts of Leicester City Centre.
  • Advising Platform Housing in relation to the acquisition and development of over 100 residential units at Bishops Cleeve, including on BNG, s.106 and public rights of way.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys

Worcester-based firm Harrison Clark Rickerbys has established a strong roster of planning clients, both in the public and private sectors, including local authorities, education and healthcare providers, developers and landowners. The group also has a strong environmental cross-over as well as a robust contentious capacity. The practice is spearheaded by Rosalind Andrews, who specialises in residential development, village greens, highways and judicial review. Elizabeth Shield is a key member of the team and is a chartered planner.

Practice head(s):

Rosalind Andrews

Other key lawyers:

Elizabeth Shield


‘The planning team at HCR were exceptional on a recent complicated matter where time was of the essence. The lead partner was Rosalind Andrews. Even when she was away she followed matters up and ensured that the job was not delayed by her absence. She properly briefed her supporting Associates and Partners at all times and their work was also outstanding. Ros is a Lead Partner who does not shy away from understanding the detail.’

‘Very personal service, lateral thinking, time spent diligently.’

Key clients

Hill Residential Limited

Malvern Hills District Council

Wychavon District Council

University of Gloucestershire

Work highlights

  • Represented a developer in a Court of Appeal challenge against the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman relating to local authority conduct in planning matters.
  • Represented Wychavon District Council in relation to Section 106 Agreements for urban extensions of Worcester, securing thousands of new houses, a country park, sports facilities and new school.
  • Represented Hill Residential in relation to a number of residential developments, including advice relating to Section 106 and infrastructure agreements, and planning due diligence on the acquisition of new sites.

Wright Hassall LLP

Wright Hassall LLP is frequently sought out by housing associations as well as local authorities for its specialist planning advice. The Leamington Spa-based practice has developed a focus on affordable housing, particularly in relation to s.106 agreements, and offers contentious advice on a range of matters, with an emphasis on s.288 High Court challenges and planning-related judicial review. John Gregory leads the practice and is supported by associates Rebecca Mushing and Sarah Beer. Beer is noted for her work on HS2-related compulsory purchase orders.

Practice head(s):

John Gregory

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca Mushing; Sarah Beer


‘Always very professional and extremely knowledgable.’

‘The team at Wright Hassall have an abundance of knowledge that they can provide you with, even if your point of contact isn’t sure on a matter, they will use the resources available to them to provide you with a robust answer and explanation and always in a very timely manner.’

‘Rebecca Mushing is very helpful and professional with her advice and work. As is sometimes necessary with planning applications, Rebecca Mushing has had to react quickly and within tight time limits. She quickly understood the intricacies of the case and was able to work accordingly.’

Key clients

Southern Counties PP Limited

Piper Homes PLC

JBRT Developments Limited

AC Lloyd Homes Limited

Rugby Borough Council

Greensquare Accord

Orbit Group Limited

Two Rivers Housing

Warwickshire County Council

Deeley Homes Limited

JC Decaux

Rooftop Housing Group

Warwickshire Rural Housing Association

Northamptonshire Rural Housing Association

Aldbury Homes

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP

The planning team at FBC Manby Bowdler LLP is led by senior associate Suzanne Tucker, following the retirement of Niall Blackie. Tucker, based in Telford, advises on all aspects of planning law, including appeals against planning permission refusals, enforcement notices, lawfulness issues and development agreements. The firm has also increased its focus on Welsh matters, as well as gaining more traction with landowners seeking advice on issues including consent, public rights of way and appeals.

Practice head(s):

Suzanne Tucker

Other key lawyers:

Mohammed Ashan


‘Suzanne Tucker is an exceptional solicitor. She goes above and beyond for her clients, and always has a brilliant grasp of the issues and the law. Suzanne’s written work is comprehensive and leaves no stone unturned. She is really good at thinking outside of the box.’

‘Suzanne Tucker was forensically thorough when preparing a planning appeal.’

‘Suzanne was so knowledgeable and was totally supportive and well experienced.’

Fieldfisher LLP

Leveraging its network of national offices, Fieldfisher LLP is sought after for its energy and infrastructure sector expertise, covering matters involving oil and gas, renewables and battery storage. Sue Simpson heads the team in Birmingham and the firm recently gained Christopher Stanwell from DAC Beachcroft LLP to lead the cross-office department from London. Dinah Patel is a key name in Birmingham for her expertise in planning, highways and compulsory purchase matters. Michael Norris is another notable member of the team.

Practice head(s):

Sue Simpson; Christopher Stanwell

Other key lawyers:

Dinah Patel; Michael Norris


‘Teamwork across the various different skillsets, enabling advice to be more rounded.’

‘Dinah Patel has brought a wide experience to both our planning challenges and the practical problems some legal drafting can bring.’

Key clients

Wain Home (Midlands) Limited

Avery Healthcare Group Limited

Countryside Properties Limited (shortly to be Vistry)

I.M. Properties Plc


CALA Homes Limited

Cambridge Medipark

EQT Exeter Property

Robert Bosch Limited

Skanska UK Plc

Angel Care Plc

Toorak Capital Funding

Kennedy Wilson

Cynergy Bank Limited

Workerbee Developments Limited

The Wilkes Partnership

With recognised expertise in NHS developments, spearheaded by practice head Leenamari Aantaa-Collier, The Wilkes Partnership routinely advises clients including individuals, SME developers and NHS Trusts on licencing arrangements and planning regimes in this area. The firm was recently joined by Helena Rae from a local authority, where she specialised in planning law including s.106 agreements, planning enforcements and certificates of lawfulness.

Practice head(s):

Leenamari Aantaa-Collier

Other key lawyers:

Helena Rae


‘The Planning Team at Wilkes is extremely knowledgeable and approaches problems and issues with a clear, logical and thorough approach. They have excellent strategic thinkers and explain issues to clients with precision and tact. A superb team.’

‘Leenamari Aantaa-Collier is passionate about her cases and will always ensure that no stone is ever left unturned in achieving the best possible outcome for her clients. Her attention to detail is second to none and she is a clear strategic thinker.’

‘The firm is constantly reevaluating strategies and efficiencies to provide better client service. The partners keep abreast of cutting edge legal developments to ensure that they have the latest advice to give to clients.’

‘Leenamari Aantaa-Collier – Absolutely dogged and committed to client care. Works incredibly hard and is always up to date with the latest legal cases and developments in her field – often they are her cases.’

‘I cannot praise the company and employees enough who go the extra mile. I have found them to be extremely knowledgeable, very efficient, helpful, warm and empathetic, honest, very engaging, readily available and efficient responding quickly to enquiries, very informative with good communication guiding every step of the way, which is reassuring whilst also being very good value for money.’

‘I have worked with Leanamari Aantia-Collier regarding planning matters and planning law for quite some time who goes the extra mile without request, is highly efficient, responds very quickly to any enquiry, extremely informative at each step, very knowledgeable in the subject matter, extremely helpful and empathetic and very engaging. I honestly cannot recommend Leanamari enough or thank her enough for her services to date and would highly recommend with honours her service.’

‘Extensive experience in NHS law and contributions.’

‘Leenamari Aantaa-Collier has extensive expertise in planning obligations to address impacts on providers of NHS services.’