Harriet Townsend > Cornerstone Barristers > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Cornerstone Barristers


Planning; environmental law; local government; property.


Harriet specialises in planning, environmental, local government and related property law. Her clients include individuals, local authorities, solicitors, planning consultants and developers working throughout England and Wales, whom she represents at inquiry, tribunal and in the High Court.

Her recent work includes: promoting contentious compulsory purchase orders – as well as handling complex disputes over compensation; promoting significant and sensitive heritage projects; advising on recent and proposed changes to the CIL Regulations; advising on the Habitats Directive following the People over Wind ruling of the ECJ; objecting to a village green application; promoting basement proposals in central London; and resisting a major windfarm proposal for Powys County Council at appeal in March 2018.

Recent cases include: For Suffolk Coastal District resisting the appeal by Persimmon Homes at Bell Lane, Kesgrave [APP/J3530/W/16/3160194] – on 20 July 2018 the Inspector found in favour of the Council’s assessment of housing land supply, and the substantial conflict with the development plan strategy, so dismissing the appeal.

Accredited mediator.

Publications of note: one of the many contributing editors (as local government law specialist) to Jowitt’s Dictionary of English Law; contributor to Cornerstone on Councillor Conduct (published 2015).

Called to the Bar in 1992.


Planning and Environment Bar Association (PEBA); UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA); Compulsory Purchase Association; Justice.


Oxford Brookes University (1988 BSc Mathematics and Economics 1st class); University of East Anglia (PGCE Mathematics teaching to A-level).

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Planning

(Leading Juniors)Ranked: Tier 3

Harriet Townsend  – Cornerstone Barristers ‘Harriet is a very intelligent barrister who quickly grasps the complex issues surrounding a matter. She is methodical and intuitive and able to set out issues and solutions in a way which is accessible to a variety of disciplines including the legal team.  Harriet’s advocacy is composed and sharp. She is able to navigate to the heart of a matter, taking all parties with her in an exceptionally clear way.’

London Bar > Environment

(Leading Juniors)Ranked: Tier 3

Harriet TownsendCornerstone Barristers ‘A very intelligent barrister who quickly grasps the complex issues surrounding a matter, she is methodical, intuitive, composed and sharp.’