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The versatile Cornerstone team is capable of taking on both high-stakes planing inquiries and contentious cases in all venues from the High Court to the Supreme Court, with the benefit of additional experience in adjacent fields such as local property and public law. Clients typically range from private individuals to public bodies, and from small businesses to large-scale developers. One example of the set's recent high-profile work is the Chiswick Curve inquiry, concerning a proposal for a new tower development in west London. Clients of Cornerstone highlight its "good continuity in planning and local government work, combined with practical knowledge."
Client service: "Their accounting is precise and fair, they always come back very promptly and they have very good relationships with all their instructing parties." "All the clerks are extremely friendly and they have a really collegial ethos." "Senior clerk Elliot Langdorf was at the end of the phone whenever required, and he ensured that timescales were properly communicated and met."
Has notable experience at inquiry and has appeared in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal in planning cases of national significance, including those which have clarified government policy. His recent work has been impressively broad, from a case testing the interpretation of the Town and Country Act 1990 to an appeal concerning the interaction between planning decisions and air quality regulations.
Strengths: "A thorough advocate able to grasp a subject matter quickly and articulate very clear arguments. His advice is always well presented and clear." "He has an encyclopedic knowledge of planning and is an effective cross-examiner."
Recent work: Represented the London Borough of Brent at inquiry, regarding the intensification principle as it related to land used as a commercial car park which was formerly used as school land.
An expert in all manner of planning cases. He often represents local authorities regarding their development plans, and appears at examinations and challenges. He is also retained by individuals and organisations in their challenges to LPA decisions. He is frequently instructed at all stages of enforcement proceedings, and has handled a number of appeals and cases concerning the implementation of regulatory controls.
Strengths: "He always provides excellent advice in a very calm and patient manner and is extremely well prepared at court hearings." "Asitha shows real mastery of the documents and he turns that into brilliant advocacy."
Recent work: Defended Waverley's Local Plan against appeals brought by CPRE Surrey and a campaign group, alleging that the inspector's assessment of the Local Plan was flawed.
Has crossed swords with some of the Bar's top planning barristers in judicial reviews and inquiries. She is appointed to the Attorney General's B Panel and is regularly engaged to appear before the High Court in matters throughout England and Wales. Her planning and environmental caseload includes matters involving neighbourhood plans and cultural heritage issues.
Strengths: "Clare Parry gives exceptional written advice, with thoughtful and logical conclusions expressed clearly." "She is very popular with local authority clients."
Maintains a diverse client base of developers, local authorities and interested third parties whom he advises and acts for in inquiries. He is familiar with all aspects of planning law and in particular has experience in large housing cases and criminal proceedings arising from enforcement prosecutions. His caseload includes instructions relating to high-impact London developments.
Strengths: "He grasps complex issues very quickly." "He is pragmatic and he goes the extra mile. Clients really appreciate his down-to-earth and easygoing manner."
Recent work: Advised Spelthorne Borough Council regarding Berkeley Homes' Staines regeneration plan.
A rising star whose remit includes wider public and administrative law, in addition to her established planning practice. She is particularly focused on cases where the planning, housing and licensing practice areas interface. Dring is appointed to the Attorney General's C Panel and has significant expertise in heritage matters.
Strengths: "She consistently sees the wood for the trees and gives an exceptionally sound legal analysis and approach to contentious matters."
Recent work: Represented Historic England in Catesby Estates v Steer, a case regarding the correct approach to determining whether a development would fall within, or have an impact on, the setting of a listed building.
Respected as a strong junior in the field who has broad experience of inquiries, enforcement matters and High Court challenges. She represents a diverse range of clients, including developers and third parties, and is routinely instructed to represent local authorities in planning inquiries and appeals. She is experienced in planning cases involving numerous sensitive environmental issues.
Strengths: "She has a very good, practical sense of what works, good planning knowledge and a good style with the inspectors."
Recent work: Defended West Berkshire District Council's refusal to approve a 200-home plan for land at Burghfield Sailing Club.
Dedicates a significant portion of her practice to planning law, frequently representing interest groups, individuals and local authorities in sometimes controversial cases. She regularly appears in the High Court and at public inquiries concerning substantial development proposals. She has been involved in important challenges to energy schemes including fracking.
Strengths: "Her pleadings are super accurate, concise and to the point, and well researched and persuasive." "Estelle has great knowledge and great presentation skills. She's a good all-rounder."
Recent work: Represented a local resident in a challenge to plans for a poultry farming development in Shropshire.
Has a strong track record of handling CPO cases, development inquiries, enforcement appeals and other hearings. She has recently been tackling matters relating to significant residential schemes and sensitive cases involving heritage or preservation concerns. She acts for local authorities, as well as campaign groups, individuals and developers.
Strengths: "She is consistently excellent in her clear and reasoned advice, her approach, her effectiveness and her willingness to work closely with the client." "Her written product is good and she has a good manner with the client."
Recent work: Acted for Thornton Properties to appeal Mid Sussex District Council's refusal to permit a mixed development on a brownfield site in a hamlet.
Possesses a substantial reputation due to his robust appearances in the High Court on a range of planning matters, including town and country concerns and local neighbourhood plans. He represents LPAs, individuals and businesses.
Strengths: "He has an encyclopedic knowledge of his cases which is staggering to behold and he puts his case across in a robust and concise manner which puts the witness at ease." "He is very user-friendly and provides excellent advice."
Recent work: Continued to advise the Department for Transport on HS2 matters.
James Findlay QC
Operates a substantial planning practice in Scotland, as well as in England and Wales. He is particularly adept at dealing with controversial or complex cases with a high profile. His work for local authorities often concerns housing or energy projects. Challenges to local plans form a key area of his work. He also represents developers and other interested parties.
Strengths: "He's very approachable, technically excellent and helpful, and he responds promptly." "His ability to engage with a range of stakeholders is very important and his presentation is exemplary."
Recent work: Defended Guildford Borough Council in High Court challenges to its Local Plan.
An able and experienced advocate who acts for major players in residential and infrastructure development cases, including motorways, stadiums and wind farms. His areas of expertise also include enforcement, town and country planning, village greens and commercial development.
Strengths: "Jonathan is really user-friendly - clients will get on with him, he speaks complete sense and his written advice is excellent too." "He's very good with clients, very prompt in dealing with matters and experienced."
Recent work: Acted for Walsall Borough Council in an enforcement appeal concerning whether a rebuilt garage qualified as a new building for planning purposes.
A well-regarded junior with a strong inquiries practice. He is regularly instructed in cases regarding housing schemes and developments in the Green Belt.
Strengths: "He has a very commercial mindset. He naturally thinks about the client's objective and helps to strategise." "He is efficient and easy to deal with."
Recent work: Acted for Tendring District Council in an appeal against the refusal of planning permission for 200 homes in the grounds of a hotel.
Lisa Busch QC
Boasts an extensive history of high-end government work. She has been consulted on large infrastructure-related proceedings, including HS2 and other transport matters. She also has specialist expertise in the planning issues associated with free schools.
Strengths: "Lisa cuts through matters to focus on the key points and she is extremely efficient, hard-working and able to work to tight deadlines." "There's no doubt that she is an intellectual heavyweight."
Recent work: Acted for the Secretary of State for Education in an appeal against the refusal of planning permission by Sutton District Council for a new academy and SEN school in Sutton.
Michael Bedford QC
Possesses extensive experience in planning, and focuses on development plans and regeneration schemes as well as significant infrastructure projects. He is known for his representation of local authorities and regularly accepts instruction in large inquiries and judicial review.
Strengths: "Michael is a class act, with good judgement and a nice, understated manner." "He is brilliant with client departments and at providing confidence in his case preparation."
Recent work: Successfully represented Miller Homes at a planning inquiry into the proposed construction of 266 houses in the Green Belt near York.
Richard Ground QC
Extensively experienced in planning inquiries, both major and local, and also an expert in village greens, local government and environmental law. His areas of excellence include infrastructure disputes, enforcement actions, heritage matters and cases involving Green Belt developments.
Strengths: "I've been impressed by his approachability and his ability to pick up on the detail." "He has a very good delivery and is a great adviser."
Recent work: Acted for Historic England in a planning inquiry concerning the Grade I listed Bramshill Mansion.
Skilled in a wide variety of planning disciplines, from CPO matters through Section 78 appeals to mineral rights. Increasingly popular among government entities, serving as a member of the Attorney General's B Panel, and also instructed by private individuals and LPAs on local plan concerns.
Strengths: "Rob picks issues up quickly, always provides clear advice and instruction, always responds promptly to the matters at hand and is tenacious when cross-examining." "He's very personable, approachable, organised and efficient."
Recent work: Acted for the Secretary of State in relation to the planning permission for a mosque in north London.
Advises and appears for developer and local authority clients at inquiry and in the High Court. His clients include local authorities and private individuals, whom he represents in matters encompassing all aspects of planning law, with a particular focus on housing developments. He is particularly well versed in cases concerning controversial development proposals in countryside areas.
Strengths: "Robin is very helpful and able to turn work around very quickly."
Recent work: Acted for an individual in a dispute with Medway Council in which it was held that the council had neglected to consider the impact of a new development on neighbouring solar panels.
Thomas Cosgrove QC
Acts for an array of clients ranging from interest groups to house builders and retailers, and is a regular feature at residential and heritage development inquiries and at judicial review. He also handles sizeable infrastructure cases. He has notable expertise in Local Plans.
Strengths: "Tom is very experienced and knowledgeable, can communicate at a level to suit his audience, and quickly picks up the background to a case." "Very approachable and a very effective presenter who makes himself part of the team."
Recent work: Acted for Gladman Developments in a planning inquiry regarding its housing scheme plan for land near a Grade I listed church and a conservation area.
Handles planning cases as part of his wide-ranging local government practice. He represents both local authorities and private clients. He is regularly engaged in judicial reviews, High Court actions and Court of Appeal cases. He handles issues including CPOs and local plans.
Strengths: "He is very down to earth and he's got a good style." "He has a very sound approach and he's very easy to get on with."
Recent work: Promoted the Tandridge Local Plan which made provision for over 6,000 homes, including 4,000 homes in a new Garden Community.