Planning in West Midlands
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.
‘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’
Department for Transport
East West Rail Company
Norfolk Homes Limited
Pigeon Land Limited
Signature Senior Lifestyle
Arc Data Centres
Ocean Outdoor Media
Cheshire West and Chester
Socially Conscious Capital
MLN Land and Property
Government of Afghanistan
- 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.
‘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’
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
London Borough of Barnet
- 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.
Other key lawyers:
Menter Mon Cyf
Taylor Wimpey UK Limited
Heyford Park Developments
Community Windpower Limited
Birmingham City Council
- 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.
Other key lawyers:
‘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‘
Suffolk County Council
Norfolk County Council
Ebbsfleet Development Corporation
Transport for London
Heathrow Airport Limited
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
London Borough of Croydon
Stone Hill Park Limited
Portsmouth City Council
Leeds City Council
- 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.
Tim Willis; Anna Cartledge
‘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‘
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
- 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.
‘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‘
University of Warwick
Gallagher Estates Ltd
Barratt Homes West Midlands
Various NHS Trusts nationwide
Bright Horizons Family Solutions
Galliford Try Partnerships East Midlands
Trafford Housing and L&Q
- 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.
‘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‘
Regal (West Point)
Harborne Golf Club
- 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
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'.
‘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‘
‘The team is friendly and responsive and willing to pick up complex work at short notice, including litigation and attendance at committee or client meetings. They give practical support and work well across the professional clients and counsel so that you feel as if they are part of your in-house team. I wouldn’t hesitate to send local authority planning matters to them‘
‘The team is good at providing the advice required in a timely and efficient manner. They adhere to timescales and provide direction‘
‘The individuals I have worked with have been knowledgeable in the field and will advise in the best interest of the client, even if you decide not to move forward with the recommended course of action‘
‘John Gregory is a star. His background in the public sector makes him the perfect solicitor to advise local planning authorities with any sort of legal difficulties, including judicial review, enforcement matters, section 106 agreements and advising planning committees‘
‘John Gregory has a depth of experience in all aspects of local authority planning as well as expert technical knowledge. He is reassuring and diligent which, coupled with his friendly and approachable manner, makes local authority planning professionals and committee members feel confident in his advice‘
‘Rebecca Mushing and John Gregory always give prompt and clear advice. They are always helpful and cheerful, though not afraid to give difficult advice to clients when needed‘
AC Lloyd Group
Aldwyck Housing Group
Two Rivers Housing Association
Bromford Housing Association
Orbit Homes 2020 Limited
Housing Plus 21
- 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.
Other key lawyers:
FBC Manby Bowdler LLP
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.
Other key lawyers:
Harrison Clark Rickerbys
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'.
‘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‘
Lloyds Bank Plc
Malvern Hills District Council
Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire
Wychavon District Council
National Care Group
- 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.
‘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‘
Traylen Enterprises Limited
LAF Holdings Limited
Peter Yeoward / JC Yeoward & Co
Fletcher Homes (Shropshire) Limited.
Investor and Pension Company
John De La Cour
Removal of Agricultural Tie
- 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.