More than 250 delegates representing multiple disciplines from 150 companies attended No5 Barristers’ Chambers Annual Planning Seminar at the ICC in Birmingham on Monday 3rd April.

The conference opened with a keynote address from High Court Judge and former No5 member Mr Justice Dove. His address provided insights on the continuing development of the Planning Court and identified a series of potential forthcoming topics in the Court’s caseload including policy interpretation, reasons for decisions, neighbourhood planning, European Union law and costs.

Members of the No5’s Planning and Environment Group then delivered a series of talks on a range of topics including: The Housing White Paper; Strategic Planning in the City Regions; EU law and Brexit; National Infrastructure and a Legal Update.

Hugh Richards, Satnam Choongh and Peter Goatley delivered a trio of presentations on the Housing White Paper’s proposals, critiquing the wording of the consultation questions and exploring whether the proposals would indeed see increased delivery. They emphasised that the Housing White Paper is a consultation document and encouraged everyone with a vested interest to have their say before the period for responses ends on May 2nd.

Chris Young and James Corbet Burcher presented a joint talk on “Strategic Planning in City Regions”, and shared their views of how this can effectively address the ‘larger than local’ issues, and highlighted how landowners and developers can engage with the process.

Thea Osmund-Smith then presented on reforms to EIA, Paul Cairnes QC followed on air quality and Richard Humphreys QC on Brexit. Celina Colquhoun then spoke on the extent to which housing applications can be promoted under the NSIP regime.

Finally, Richard Kimblin QC and Scott Stemp delivered a case law update, focusing on the continuing litigation on the interpretation of the National Planning Policy Framework’s paragraph 14, in which the Group’s members have appeared in several cases in the last year.

No5 Barristers’ Chambers is widely acknowledged by professionals working in the industry as one of the leading sets of Planning and Environment barristers in the country.