Jeremy Cahill QC (acting for Comparo Ltd) and Ian Dove QC and Satnam Choongh (acting for Welbeck Strategic Land) have successfully secured planning permission in conjoined appeals, for up to 1,000 houses, new local retail centres and a range of community facilities on the outskirts of Bishop’s Cleeve in Gloucestershire.

Both proposed sites – one of 550 homes and the other of 450 – are located in open countryside outside the settlement boundary of Bishop’s Cleeve and were vigorously opposed by Tewkesbury Borough Council. The Council’s argument relied on landscape impact, prematurity and the ‘localism agenda’ to resist the proposals.

The Secretary of State, however, released a decision this week agreeing with the Planning Inspector and granting planning permission for the proposals. It was ruled that the lack of a 5 year housing supply outweighed concerns about conflict with out-dated settlement boundaries and landscape impact.

Eric Pickles gave full weight to the presumption in favour of sustainable development in one of his first post-NPPF decisions. He made two pivotal decisions in doing so, both of which are potential ‘game-changers’ when it comes to future housing appeals:

1. In response to the argument that development in the countryside and on the best and most versatile agricultural land is not sustainable, the Secretary of State ruled that it was even more unsustainable to have a chronic undersupply of housing with no immediate plan-led solution to rectify the situation.

2. In response to the argument that permission would be premature to the Council’s core strategy and undermine local democracy, the Secretary of State said that “changes to the planning system that give communities more say over the scale, location and timing of developments in their areas carry with them the responsibility to ensure that local plans are prepared expeditiously to make provision for the future needs of their areas.”’

Comparo Ltd’s appeal was led by Jeremy Cahill QC of No5 Chambers, instructed by Origin 3, while Welbeck Strategic Land’s appeal was led by Ian Dove QC and Satnam Choongh of No5 Chambers, who were instructed by Star Planning.

Jeremy Cahill QC is head of the Planning and Environment Group at No5 Chambers. This set offers a national planning service and is home to “some of the finest barristers in the country”, according to Chambers UK 2011. Chambers UK explains that No5’s domination of the Midlands’ circuit is founded upon “a specialist team that can act on any planning issue that comes its way” and that Jeremy Cahill QC has “a huge following thanks to his advocacy skills and brilliant understanding of the planning system”.

Ian Dove QC is Deputy Head of No5 Chambers and sits part time as a Deputy High Court Judge. Ian was recently voted third in the guide to Planning Lawyers survey and has been described by Chambers UK as “an extremely client-focused, sharp and commercial barrister” and as “someone you can trust your life with”. Indeed, Chambers UK also said “no one gets to Silk before they are 40 unless they are good and he is outstanding”.

Satnam Choongh regularly features in the “Leaders at the Bar” section of the Chambers UK Directory, which describes him as “very sharp”. He specialises exclusively in town and country planning, acting for developers, government agencies and local planning authorities.