DEPARTMENT PROFILE

Francis Taylor Building

Planning

26 ranked barristersBand 2London (Bar)UK Bar 2021 View ranking table
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Francis Taylor Building is renowned for its dedication to planning work. The set has the capacity to take on the full range of planning matters, from compulsory purchase and compensation issues to environment, highways, and town and village green law. The set cultivates a similarly diverse client base, taking instructions from both local and central government, amenities, promoters, developers and interested parties. Members of chambers were instructed to represent Heathrow Airport in a judicial review of the UK government's Airports National Policy Statement, in the context of a potential third runway at Heathrow. One solicitor remarks that "their combined expertise of the planning sector is exceptional, including in particular their infrastructure and compulsory purchase capabilities."

Client service:

"Their clerking service has always been excellent in trying to accommodate the changing requirements of clients, and the clerks are reliable and friendly." "I have always found the clerks to be very helpful and approachable, with a good knowledge of who would be appropriate for a particular matter." "Paul Coveney is the senior clerk and he goes out of his way to be proactive and friendly, working hard to foster relationships with firms that instruct his set."

Strengths:

Alexander Booth QC
Enjoys a strong reputation as a young silk. He engages with all kinds of planning work, notably NSIP cases and valuation or compensation proceedings related to compulsory purchases. He appears for both public and private bodies, and has appeared in the Supreme Court. He undertakes work relating to residential development as well as high-impact infrastructure projects.
"His ability to grasp highly complex issues and present and discuss his advice in such a clear, methodical and digestible way without losing the nuances is seriously impressive."
Recent work: Acted for Esso in its DCO application for an aviation fuel pipeline from Southampton to London.

Strengths:

Andrew Fraser-Urquhart QC
Covers a broad array of planning work and attracts a number of instructions in significant infrastructure cases. He is frequently instructed on development consent order and compulsory purchase matters by both public and private sector clients. His practice also takes in cases involving energy, minerals and mining, and matters relating to local plans.
"He's very personable, he gets on well with clients and he's willing to stick his neck out to give clear direction, which clients appreciate." "He is extremely diligent and well prepared."
Recent work: Acted for the owners of Manston Airport in relation to the Thanet Local Plan.

Strengths:

Andrew Tait QC
Head of chambers who has promoted a raft of major infrastructure projects in London. He has also acted in relation to high-profile road and transport schemes nationwide. His practice further extends to waste matters, land valuation, new settlements and major mineral proposals.
"Not only analytically sound and fantastic legally but also so calming that it puts confidence in the team." "He's very collaborative with solicitors."
Recent work: Represented landowner Powerrapid in resisting Harlow Council's compulsory acquisition of the client's land.

Strengths:

Annabel Graham Paul
Has acted in a number of significant, complex or otherwise novel infrastructure, compulsory purchase and mainstream planning cases in the High Court and Court of Appeal. Her practice reaches into all corners of planning law, and takes in inquiries and local plan examinations.
"A very clear, thorough and effective advocate who is not fazed by heavyweight opposition." "She is highly accessible, extremely knowledgeable in her specialist areas and a safe pair of hands."
Recent work: Acted for a claimant in their challenge to planning permission for a new Shepherd's Bush hotel on the ground that the effect of the new building on daylight had not been considered.

Strengths:

Caroline Daly
Rising star with significant recent experience of representing authorities in local plan promotions and development inquiries, as well as acting in High Court disputes. Clients also include developers and utility companies, community interest groups, private individuals and landowners.
"She's a powerhouse." "Very approachable, very good on the detail and very systematic." "She is very responsive and she has good client interpersonal skills."
Recent work: Defended Vale of White Horse District Council in a challenge to an amendment to its adopted policies map in its Local Plan.

Strengths:

Charles Streeten
Experienced in handling tall buildings and other high-profile developments in London, and in representing infrastructure service providers on projects. Clients include developers and interest groups, central government and local authorities on both sides of High Court planning matters and CPO inquiries.
"He is hard-working, on top of the detail and personable." "He isn't afraid to give a clear view on things, which instils a sense of confidence."
Recent work: Acted for the London Borough of Southwark at an inquiry regarding a mixed-use development proposed by Camberwell Union.

Strengths:

Craig Howell Williams QC
A traditional development and infrastructure specialist highly experienced in planning, environment and related public law matters. His case history demonstrates his expertise in matters involving large projects such as urban extensions and transport. He also handles substantial commercial work in the leisure and retail sectors. Other areas of practice include residential development, including controversial schemes in sensitive areas, and local plan work.
"He responds swiftly and he's very good at reading the room - he knows how to deal with people the right way and he always lets them say what they need to say." "Always calm, assured, immensely hard-working and astute."
Recent work: Represented Tunbridge Wells at an inquiry regarding its Calverley Square redevelopment CPO.

Strengths:

Douglas Edwards QC
A robust practitioner focused on planning, environmental, CPO, highways law, government and infrastructure work. He is an expert in commons and village green matters, and is also frequently consulted on land assembly matters by local authorities. He represents both public and private clients at all levels in the courts and at inquiries.
"His strength is his attention to detail. He can work within the client's brief and he understands their constraints."

Strengths:

Gregory Jones QC
A silk with notable expertise in planning and administrative law. His practice spans town and country planning, DCO-scale projects, environmental impact and other complex cases at all levels of review. He has carved out an additional niche in offshore marine spatial planning and is well versed in EU law.
"A really imaginative, wide-thinking and successful practitioner." "He's very approachable, extremely user-friendly and responsive, and he immediately understands what solicitors are trying to do."
Recent work: Acted for Cooper Estates in Wiltshire Council v Cooper Estates Strategic Land, a case regarding what it takes to identify land for potential development in a development plan, and when the right to apply for registration of a town or village green is suspended.

Strengths:

Hereward Phillpot QC
Continues to win the admiration of peers and clients in silk. Hailed as one of the top barristers acting in infrastructure matters, he frequently appears at inquiries, hearings and higher court cases. Many of the complex development cases he takes on pertain to particularly large or high-profile projects.
"He's extremely sensible and he gives solid and reliable advice." "He's got excellent attention to detail, he's pragmatic and he's focused on what the client's trying to achieve, while being prepared to convey difficult messages."
Recent work: Advised EDF on the promotion of its plans for a new nuclear power station in Sizewell, Suffolk.

Strengths:

Hugh Flanagan
A barrister dedicated to planning and compulsory purchase cases. He is a member of the Attorney General's B Panel of Counsel, and acts for local authorities and developers. Highways, aviation, enforcement and residential planning work are among his areas of strength. Large infrastructure-related work forms an additional mainstay of his practice.
"He commands authority, has sound judgement and always has the ear of the planning inspectors." "He has impressive technical skills, his strategic advice is excellent and his advocacy is measured, clear and persuasive."
Recent work: Promoted Cherwell District Council's local plan, which proposes the release of Green Belt land for housing.

Strengths:

Isabella Tafur
Highly regarded junior, known for her impressive advocacy skills and her expertise in infrastructure projects. She practises across numerous areas including heritage and Green Belt matters. She represents both appellants and local authorities in planning and enforcement appeals and is a member of the Attorney General's C Panel.
"She gets to the nub of the issues before I even know it, she can turn papers around incredibly quickly and she's very easy to work with." "She is popular with clients and experts and she has excellent all-round knowledge."
Recent work: Acted for Manston Airport in its DCO application for the redevelopment of the airport into an air freight facility.

Strengths:

James Pereira QC
Sought-after silk practising in planning, environmental, public and administrative law. His excellent reputation as an advocate comes from his frequent appearances at inquiries and in the High Court. He also promotes and resists CPOs and related compensation matters.
"He is really easy to work with and willing to get stuck in and roll up his sleeves." "He sees the big picture and he understands the importance of the overall impression of the case."
Recent work: Defended Canterbury City Council in a challenge to a planning decision on air quality grounds.

Strengths:

Mark Westmoreland Smith
Concentrates his practice on cases concerning the delivery of essential energy, waste and transport infrastructure. He is an experienced inquiry and High Court advocate who is frequently instructed in housing matters and development consent orders. His work in the infrastructure sphere in particular takes in disputes over some of the most notable and newsworthy civil engineering projects in the country.
"He's easy to work with and very relaxed, clients like him and he has a very good technical brain." "He puts his points forward very well." "He's a very safe pair of hands for DCO work."
Recent work: Acted for Drax in a High Court appeal of development consent given for the repowering of a Yorkshire power station.

Strengths:

Melissa Murphy
An experienced junior with a strong track record in a number of areas of planning law. She focuses her practice primarily on infrastructure and compulsory purchase cases, but also handles residential schemes, heritage issues and public authority matters, on both the local and the parliamentary scales.
"She can get a very good grip of the issues, understand her brief clearly and be extremely thorough." "She is particularly good on detail and gives particularly forensic analysis."

Strengths:

Meyric Lewis
Specialises in planning and related environmental issues, being an expert in environmental impact assessment and CPOs, among many other matters. He is well recognised for his advice and advocacy in cases regarding major infrastructure proposals.
"He's incredibly flexible in meetings, helpful and easy to work with, and he takes everything in his stride." "A tenacious advocate who is always looking for the best way to present a case."
Recent work: Resisted Alumno Developments' proposal for student accommodation in a historic area of Colchester.

Strengths:

Michael Humphries QC
Widely known as a leading name in infrastructure planning law. He has an excellent reputation for working on projects of all types, especially the often vast NSIPs. He is also heralded for his compulsory purchase work, and edits leading publications in both areas. He is a deeply experienced advocate across the entire space, advising and acting for utilities, objectors, landowners, developers and public entities.
"He is incredibly knowledgeable and highly commercial, and his advice is always clear, client-focused and practical." "He's got a lot of gravitas and experience."
Recent work: Advised Horizon Nuclear Power on the preparation of a DCO application for its new Anglesey nuclear facility.

Strengths:

Morag Ellis QC
Holds an enviable position in the market both as a barrister well versed in the broadest aspects of planning law and as a rare expert in some of its most unique and evolving areas. She sits on the panel of silks to the Welsh Government and takes on statutory challenges and planning inquiries, as well as national infrastructure project work, in both England and Wales.
"She's good at distilling the key elements from a lot of information and she understands how commercial motivations interact with potential litigation." "Morag is reliable and dependable and will always go the extra mile."
Recent work: Represented Taylor Wimpey at an inquiry regarding a housing development plan in Wokingham.

Strengths:

Ned Westaway
An expert in environmental law with a sound, practical knowledge of planning matters. He acts for local authorities, planning applicants and objectors, handling a broad range of cases including those relating to major development proposals, complex enforcement and significant infrastructure projects. He tackles high-level appellate work involving novel points of law.
"He's very hard-working and an extremely nice, affable guy who gives a realistic view." "He's fantastically bright and able to present an argument very clearly."
Recent work: Acted for CPRE Surrey to challenge the housing considerations of Waverley Borough Council's local plan.

Strengths:

Rebecca Clutten
Highly regarded junior barrister, known for her ever-expanding strengths in infrastructure and compulsory purchase matters. She has experience of working for both promoters and claimants in CPO matters covering both infrastructure and regeneration schemes. Her client list and track record feature a number of high-profile names and projects.
"She is completely unflappable and knows what clients need, and she's very knowledgeable on CPOs." "She holds an audience."
Recent work: Acted for a landowner to challenge seven enforcement notices served by the London Borough of Hillingdon.

Strengths:

Richard Glover QC
Well equipped to resolve disputes of all natures and an expert in compulsory purchase, ratings and local government work. He specialises in non-mainstream planning matters that may require valuation and compensation experience. He is instructed by both public bodies and commercial enterprises, and also acts as a mediator.
"Richard is exceptionally thorough, with very good client management skills." "He is very effective at analysing a case and formulating a strategy to resolve clients' concerns."

Strengths:

Richard Honey QC
A cooperative and collaborative new silk with superb judgement and experience of advocacy before the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal. He also regularly appears in the High Court, and is an expert on compulsory purchase and infrastructure cases. He also features frequently in the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber). He represents defendants and claimants of all kinds.
"He is incredibly effective and efficient in distilling documentation down to the essentials, and persistent and patient in his pursuit of strategy throughout a case." "He's very commercial and takes a forensic approach."
Recent work: Acted in three High Court challenges to the Guildford Local Plan which allocated housing in the Green Belt.

Strengths:

Saira Kabir Sheikh QC
Frequently sought out as an advocate for appeals, inquiries, High Court challenges and Crown Court and magistrates' court proceedings. She is experienced in all aspects of planning and environmental law. Her remit includes compulsory purchase, highways, Transport and Works Orders and other parliamentary matters. She generally acts for local authorities.
"She's very good at getting into the detail and she stands her ground against other counsel." "She has a formidable mind and a comprehensive understanding of planning law."
Recent work: Acted for the London Borough of Lewisham in a case regarding affordable housing and viability issues relating to a car park redevelopment.

Strengths:

Sarah Sackman
Known for her work representing the Secretary of State, she also accepts instructions from individuals and interest groups in important challenges to LPA decisions. Her work takes in inquiries and judicial review and concerns infrastructure and urban regeneration, among other issues.
"Sarah's written advice is very thorough and clear, and she is a confident and articulate advocate." "She's great to work with."
Recent work: Acted for claimant Flynn in a judicial review of the planning permission granted for the Elephant and Castle regeneration.

Strengths:

Simon Bird QC
A member of both the Planning and Environmental Bar Association and the National Infrastructure Planning Association. He has an impressive track record of appearing on behalf of ports, airports, house builders and central and local government agencies. He works across cases relating to commercial and residential developments as well as local plans.
"He has great attention to detail and great empathy for his clients, and he always manages to stay on the right side of the decision maker." "He's very responsive, very user-friendly and very approachable."
Recent work: Acted for Cheshire East Council at an inquiry regarding the CPO and Site Roads Order for its Poynton bypass plan.

Strengths:

Suzanne Ornsby QC
Frequently involved in complex cases involving strategic environmental assessment and neighbourhood planning. Her practice covers public inquiries relating to electricity and water supply, minerals and waste, as well as commercial and residential development. She also acts for Local Planning Authorities and developers in urban extension inquiries and Local Plan examinations into housing provision.
"She is organised, structured, commercial, supportive and able to provide clear and concise strategic direction." "She has a high-powered reputation."

Planning Department

Francis Taylor Building

firm
Department location

Francis Taylor Building

Inner Temple

London

Greater London

UK

EC4Y 7BY

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Ranked Barristers

Chambers Research is conducted by 200 Research Analysts, across 200 jurisdictions and provides nearly 6,000 rankings tables. Annually we collect hundreds of thousands of responses from clients, the majority via in-depth interview. Learn more about our methodology.

Silks (QC)

London (Bar)

Planning


Alexander Booth QC
Band 4
Andrew Fraser-Urquhart QC
Band 5
Andrew Tait QC
Band 3
Craig Howell Williams QC
Band 4
Douglas Edwards QC
Band 3
Gregory Jones QC
Band 4