Planning in West Midlands

DLA Piper

DLA Piper's 'very team focused and collaborative' planning practice is at the forefront of precedent-setting developments in the market, exemplified by Trevor Ivory and Howard Bassford successfully representing HS2 in the first appeal and judicial review under Schedule 17 to the HS2 Act. Ivory chairs the UK-wide practice and he leads on all aspects of planning and compulsory purchase work; while Bassford, who's 'insight is second to none', focuses on obtaining planning and other regulatory approvals for major energy, infrastructure, marine and railway development projects. Directors Ian Graves and Amy Truman are also names to note, as is associate Pieter Claussen, who is experienced in negotiating section 106 agreements and managing public inquiries.

Practice head(s):

Trevor Ivory


‘Very team focused and collaborative. They engage with interpretation of design and project parameters securing what is required through the application of well communicated legal planning advice.’

‘Howard Bassford’s wider knowledge of projects, financing and politics expands the breadth of advice provided by him and his team members on obtaining consent for infrastructure projects. His insight is second to none.’

‘Howard Bassford is an excellent lawyer and very respectful of professional advice from the consultant team and works with people giving clear direction where its lacking or its needed. He challenges and tests ‘logic’ and assumption. He understands design and cultural narrative that impacts project promotion.’

‘Trevor Ivory has very extensive experience in planning, is very clever and has excellent judgement. Pieter Claussen complements him well.’

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

Work highlights

  • Advising Cheshire West and Chester Council on its major regeneration project at Chester Northgate, including in relation to planning and highway matters and the implementation of the compulsory purchase order.
  • Assisting Department for Transport with drafting and advising on the National Policy Statement for new airport capacity in the southeast of England.
  • Acting for East West Railway Company on the preparation and promotion of a development consent order to authorise the construction and operation of a new railway line between Cambridge and Bedford (with onward connections to Oxford).

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG's Birmingham planning team has 'experience in a diverse range of planning and infrastructure projects', namely highways, compulsory purchases, commercial and residential developments and major regeneration schemes. The team also has a strong track record in appeals and planning litigation. Group head Andrew Thomas is 'wise and experienced' in schemes including strategic rail freight interchanges, sports stadium projects, residential-led projects and energy projects. Vicky Fowler and Toni Weston are also key partners.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Thomas

Other key lawyers:

Vicky Fowler; Toni Weston


‘A really user friendly planning law team with experience in a diverse range of planning and infrastructure projects.’

‘Andrew Thomas is reliable and responsive. Particularly on tricky and complex planning law issues.’

‘Andrew Thomas – wise and experienced.’

‘Vicky Fowler – experienced, client friendly.’

Key clients

Bloor Homes Limited

Persimmon Homes Limited

Taylor Wimpey UK Limited

Goodman Real Estate

St Modwen

Work highlights

  • Supporting Langley Consortium on all planning related matters in connection with a new sustainable urban extension on land within the Green Belt in Sutton Coldfield, comprising in excess of 5,000 homes and associated infrastructure, including new schools and highway infrastructure.
  • Advising 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 Bloor Homes on planning issues relating to the submission of a planning application for up to 2,000 new homes, extra care housing, a local centre and two primary schools at the Sandleford Park Strategic Site in Newbury, Berkshire.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Paul Maile leads the Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP Midlands planning group and is he experienced in infrastructure work and compulsory purchase orders, especially regarding energy, infrastructure and residential projects; he is also an experienced advocate in high-profile public inquiries. Duncan Williams is instructed by housebuilders to advise on promoting schemes through the planning system, s106 agreements, infrastructure agreements and appeals.

Practice head(s):

Paul Maile

Other key lawyers:

Duncan Williams

Key clients

Community Windpower Limited

Roxhill Developments Limited

Four Ashes Limited

Tritax Symmetry Ltd

Taylor Wimpey UK Limited

Mentor Mon Cyf

Anglian Water Services Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Community Windpower Limited in its appeal against the service of an enforcement notice in respect of an alleged breach of a condition in the carrying out of works in respect of the approved wind farm at Sneddon Law, East Ayrshire.
  • Supported Roxhill Developments in securing a development consent order for Roxhill (Junction 15) for a nationally significant infrastructure project known as the Northampton Gateway Rail Freight Interchange.
  • Advising Menter Mon Cyf on an application for a Transport and Works Act order for the development of an offshore tidal energy generation station off the coast of Anglesey with onshore connection to the grid.

Pinsent Masons LLP

The highly regarded planning team at Pinsent Masons LLP impresses with its 'ability to provide strategic advice paired with fantastic attention to detail', acting on a various significant DCO projects in the infrastructure, energy and transport sectors.Team leader Lucy Thomas advises private and public sector clients on highways and compulsory purchase matters, regenerations and urban extensions. Heidi Slater is 'always ready to assist on complex procedural matters', and is noted for her experience in regeneration projects involving CPO powers and the appropriation of land.

Practice head(s):

Lucy Thomas

Other key lawyers:

Heidi Slater


‘The Pinsent Masons Planning and Infrastructure team is exceptionally able, with strength and depth of legal skills across a wide range of planning and infrastructure sectors. The team has in-depth and unrivalled knowledge of the DCO (Planning Act 2008) regime, working with both promoters and regulating authorities on some of the largest infrastructure projects.’

‘Pinsent Masons deservedly occupy the market leading positions when it comes to DCO legal advice. They combine sound high quality advice, strength in depth and total commitment to ensure the success of the schemes they work on.’

‘The ability to provide strategic advice paired with fantastic attention to detail.’

‘Heidi Slater’s attention to detail is exceptional and she is always ready to assist on complex procedural matters.’

Key clients

Highways England

Suffolk County Council

Norfolk County Council

Transport for London

Heathrow Airport Limited

Crest Nicholson

Corby Borough Council

Countryside Properties UK Limited

Port of Tilbury Limited

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

Cory Riverside Energy


West Midlands Combined Authority

Davidsons Developments Limited

CALA Homes

London Borough of Croydon

Stone Hill Park Limited

Portsmouth City Council

Leeds City Council

St Joseph Homes (Berkeley Group)

The University of Birmingham

Cornwall Council

Lioncourt Strategic Land Limited

Rugby District Council

Medway Council

Seven Capital

IM Group

Lewis Wyatt Construction Limited

London Borough of Brent

Birmingham City Council

Work highlights

  • Supporting Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Hampshire County Council as joint applicant in respect of their planning application and s106 planning agreement for the Northern part of the new Manydown community.
  • Advising Port of Tilbury London Limited on planning and consenting matters in relation to the DCO for Tilbury2, an extension to the existing Port of Tilbury including a roll-on roll-off terminal.
  • Advising St Joseph Homes on all planning and highways aspects of the redevelopment of Eastside Locks, Birmingham.

Shoosmiths LLP

At Shoosmiths LLP, Anna Cartledge spearheads the Birmingham planning team and advises public and private sector clients on all aspects of planning work, particularly in connection with heritage matters, compulsory purchases and highways law. She is also a skilled negotiator in respect of planning obligations with cascade, review and clawback mechanisms. In the contentious space, Tim Willis has extensive courtroom experience in judicial reviews, appeals and enforcement matters.

Practice head(s):

Anna Cartledge

Other key lawyers:

Tim Willis; Catherine Hood


‘The Shoosmiths team led by Catherine Hood worked well together, and thought about how their own skill sets could contribute to achieving the goal.’

‘Catherine Hood and Anna Cartledge were the key components of the team and brought others in where needed. I felt they genuinely cared about the outcome, and doing the right thing.’

Key clients

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council

Gallagher Estates Limited

Maximus Strategic Stafford LLP

Formal Investments Limited

Robert Hitchens Limited

Manor Oak Homes

Work highlights

  • Advising Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council on planning issues relating to the redevelopment and regeneration of a city centre site, and the delivery of a mixed-use scheme including residential and leisure/retail uses.
  • Providing Maximus Strategic Stafford LLP with planning advice in relation to bringing forward a strategic urban extension on the outskirts of Stafford.
  • Successfully acted for Robert Hitchins Ltd in resisting a judicial review claim by Tewkesbury Borough Council.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP

With a well-established presence in the West Midlands, Shakespeare Martineau LLP impress with its 'strength in depth across the whole range of real estate and related work'. Key areas of work include development consent orders, Section 106 agreements, compulsory purchase matters and judicial reviews. The firm is also a regularly instructed by national housebuilders and public sector clients in the education, energy and healthcare sectors. Group head Simon Stanion represents landowners,developers and local planning authorities in contentious development proposals.

Practice head(s):

Simon Stanion


‘Strength in depth across the whole range of real estate and related work, covering not just planning but also environmental disputes and real property matters. Great knowledge of the residential sector and also of CPO matters.’

‘Shakespeare Martineau have a well respected legal team within the town planning industry. They deliver high quality timely advice at a reasonable cost. ‘

‘Simon Stanion has for many years been one of the very best planning solicitors. Great judgement and wonderful with clients.’

Key clients

University of Warwick

Gallagher Estates Ltd

Barratt Homes West Midlands

Bright Horizons Family Solutions

North West Leicestershire District Council

Work highlights

  • Provided strategic planning advice to the University of Warwick relating to the approval for nine campus projects and completion of complex section 106 agreement.
  • Advised Court Eastside Birmingham Limited on managing and limiting legal challenges against the grant of planning permission for its proposed 51 storey residential scheme in the centre of Birmingham.
  • Represented a private client in the Court of Appeal in a case raising novel issues in relation to listed building control.

Wright Hassall LLP

At Wright Hassall LLP, key figure John Gregory is 'very supportive and knowledgeable with interpersonal style' and has a wealth of expertise in local planning processes and community infrastructure levies, planning applications and appeals, judicial reviews and statutory challenges. He is also instructed on negotiating complex section 106 agreements. Rebecca Mushing advises landowners, developers, local planning authorities and housing associations on all planning and highway regimes.

Practice head(s):

John Gregory

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca Mushing


‘Very responsive, easily accessible on phone and email to discuss matters. Responses and comments are easily understandable in layman terms. Provide informal direction and advice where requested.’

‘John Gregory was very supportive and knowledgeable with interpersonal style which was both very professional but also relaxed – this particularly resonated with me as this is how I like to be treated as a client.’

Key clients

Rosconn Strategic Land Limited


Piper Homes

AC Lloyd Homes Limited

Rugby Borough Council

Greensquare Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Aldbury Homes in relation to various section 106 planning obligations, including two section 106 unilateral undertakings to be prepared for planning appeals against refusal of planning permission for a residential development.
  • Advised Orbit Group Ltd on a complex development agreement for a section 106 acquisition of 37 affordable housing units at Silsoe, Bedfordshire.
  • Represented Herefordshire Council in the Court of Appeal against the dismissal of a judicial review application.

Gateley Plc

Gateley Plc is a key name for national housebuilders and developers, often instructed in relation to section 106 agreements and regeneration work; the group also has additional strength across a range of sectors, including the retail, energy, health and infrastructure industries. Alongside planning and compulsory purchase work, legal director Matthew Scudamore has good knowledge of land assembly matters and experience in conducting due diligence for commercial developers.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Scudamore

Key clients

Taylor Wimpey



Barratt Homes




Keepmoat Homes

Work highlights

  • Advised Mountpark on planning due diligence and associated planning matters, including highway matters and a section 106 agreement in relation to a large acquisition.
  • Advised Regal Point West on all aspects of the proposed development of two large residential towers in the city centre, including advising on the CIL, planning due diligence, a series of section 106 agreements and a section 278 highways agreement.
  • Continuing to advise Harworth Estates on planning and viability issues relating to the regeneration of former coalfield sites in Wakefield.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys

At Harrison Clark Rickerbys' Worcester office, Rosalind Andrews assists real estate developers, landowners, banks as well as local authorities with various methods of obtaining planning permission. Core work areas include advising on residential developments, regeneration schemes, highways, village greens, and judicial reviews.

Practice head(s):

Rosalind Andrews


‘From our experience this is a very helpful, knowledgeable and proactive planning team and are our first go to professionals in terms of planning related queries. They have displayed a good level of planning knowledge and are happy to get involved directly in dealing with proposed solutions suggested.’

‘Not only do they have a highly professional approach to planning related queries but also provide practical and workable solutions in a prompt and efficient manner.’

Key clients

Lloyds Bank Plc

Malvern Hills District Council

Wychavon District Council


Sunrise Records (HMV)


Work highlights

  • Advised Malvern Hills District Council in relation to section 106 agreements for several urban extensions comprising circa 5,000 new dwellings, two new schools and other infrastructure.
  • Acted for a private investor whose commercial property investment portfolio is subject to a compulsory purchase order for a road-widening scheme in Gloucester, providing strategy and compensation advice.
  • Acted for an agricultural business in a successful statutory challenge in the High Court relating to the Forest of Dean District Council’s misuse of a tree preservation order.


David Anderton leads Ansons' regulatory and environmental department and is 'a master of strategy' in the areas of planning, environmental law and waste issues. Key areas of work include enforcement proceedings, planning law disputes and claims relating to HS2 infrastructure. Senior associate and regulatory lawyer Jacob Rickett joined in late 2019 from Wright Hassall LLP.

Practice head(s):

David Anderton

Other key lawyers:

Jacob Rickett


‘David Anderton – he is very bright and also very prompt service and turnaround of documents and actions – a master of strategy.’

‘Very attentive and responsive, offering lateral thinking and focused on solutions and the needs of the client at all times.’

Work highlights

  • Acting for a resident in a claim against Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council to quash the planning permission for a residential development due to the failure to understand or apply a key development plan policy.

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP

At FBC Manby Bowdler LLP, associate Suzanne Tucker acts as head of planning following the move of Niall Blackie into a consultancy role. Tucker advises on all areas of planning including enforcement appeals, land promotions and development agreements for landowner and developer clients.

Practice head(s):

Suzanne Tucker

Other key lawyers:

Niall Blackie


‘As a large regional practice the quality of the solicitors I am involved with on a regular basis is first class. They are hard working; always available to respond both to phone calls and emails. They provide comprehensive detailed advice and solutions to issues.’

‘Passionate, thorough and commercially astute.’

‘Suzanne Tucker (Associate) exhibits all the stand out qualities that I look for in an expert planning solicitor.’

Lanyon Bowdler

Lanyon Bowdler assists developers, educational institutions, lenders and individuals with a wide range of development-related matters, including planning enforcement issues and litigation, with a focus on rural planning work. Telford-based associate Tracy Lovejoy heads the practice, advising on planning law and highways. Other key areas of expertise include waste matters and regeneration projects, in which the team advises retailers and corporate occupiers.

Practice head(s):

Tracy Lovejoy


‘Their knowledge of issues in the geographical area they cover – primarily Shropshire and Herefordshire – combined with range of legal matters covered and breadth of experience including former local government roles.’

‘A focused team of planning specialists with particular expertise in rural planning and development issues.’

‘Tracy Lovejoy is an enthusiastic and tenacious planning adviser.’

Key clients

Traylen Enterprises Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for a local resident action group to prepare and submit objections to the proposed development for a change of use of land to use as a residential caravan site.
  • Advised Traylen Enterprises in challenging a tree preservation order, including appointment of external consultants on technical issues, correspondence with the local planning authority and liaison.
  • Advised Bespoke Construction on planning issues relating to the development of two industrial units within a strategic employment site identified within Telford and Wrekin’s local plan.