A partner in our specialist planning team, advising on the consenting process for all types of development projects, from strategy and risk management through to the negotiation of infrastructure agreements and planning conditions. I also advise on related areas of law such as judicial review, compulsory purchase and environmental assessment.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7664 0365
Best brains in ...
I am best known for my work on Central London regeneration projects, airport expansion and port developments.
Highlight of your career so far?
There have been many but being a part of The Crown Estate's ongoing regeneration of Regent Street over the past ten years and seeing its transformation into an international shopping destination and a prestige business address has been extremely rewarding.
Co-authoring the book Localism and Planning an examination of the implications of radical reforms to the UK planning system.
Most challenging job you've ever done?
In planning every job throws up different challenges and that is what I enjoy most about what I do. However, partly because of the sustained opposition by certain campaign groups and also the complex mitigation package that needed to be put into place, probably the most challenging project I have worked on in recent times is the increase in aircraft movements at London City Airport by approximately 50%.
What's your definition of going the extra mile... And when have you done it?
I will do whatever it takes to get a job done and I think clients have the right to expect that. A couple of years ago, in the run up to Christmas, for one particular project this meant working day and night and at weekends on the negotiation of a planning agreement; my wife ended up receiving a card from my client thanking her for the "domestic time" that the project had taken up!
Best example of a creative legal solution?
On a recent development, one of my clients was faced with a planning policy impediment to the loss of the existing use of the property and the need to find replacement floorspace for the existing use before any development could begin. I devised a legal mechanism and a rationale which was acceptable to the Council, to secure the replacement floorspace without holding up the development.
How do you get under the skin of a client business?
In my view you can only do a job well if you understand the wider implications of what you are doing. That means understanding a client's business, not just how it works commercially but also its culture and its attitude to risk and reputation – two issues that are particularly important in the public arena of planning. I look at published materials, such as websites, annual reports and press articles but you can only gain a real insight into a business by listening to your client, asking the right questions and being prepared to invest time in that relationship over the long term.
What's been written or said about you that you're most proud of?
A couple of years ago I was described as 'an imaginative, lateral thinker', who 'can be counted on to protect his clients' (Chambers UK Guide 2009) – that summed up in a sentence two of the most important aspects of the service that I try to give to clients. I have been described as 'an absolute pleasure to work with' (Legal 500 2011), a 'leading individual' (Legal 500 2012), and 'thoughtful, considered and a good team player' (Chambers UK Guide 2011).