In March 2021, Chris was voted the No1 Planning Barrister in England and Wales by over 200 of the country’s leading planning solicitors and planning consultants (Planning magazine annual survey). Chris won the leading Queen’s Counsel category, as well as the leading barrister for residential work: Respondents to the survey observed “He steps up from last year’s equal second ranking, reaching the summit for the first time, only three years after taking silk. Young also leads out table of barristers ranked highest for their work in the residential sector, repeating his success last year.” “His track record at appeal is extraordinary. He is also easy to work with and has a keen sense of humour, which can often help to diffuse tensions within a team.” “He wins his cases through a combination of attention to detail, close collaboration with the team and massively effective cross-examination.” “Chris is a high-level thinker who is very well connected with what is going on at a national level”
Chris acts for all of the UK’s leading house builders such as Barratt, Bellway, Bloor, Redrow, Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon and most of the major land promoters such as Peel, St Modwen, Hallam Land, Harrows Estates, Gleeson, UKSL, IM Properties, Welbeck and Richborough Estates. He also acts for regional and local house builders and developers, care operators, logistics firms, MSA operators, schools, universities, the leisure sector, religious organizations, farmers and individuals.
He has an enviable track record at planning appeals, many of which are cases recovered by the Secretary of State.
Advising on some of the largest development proposals in the UK, including 15 new settlements such as Cranbrook in Devon, Cattal near Harrogate, Mayfield in Sussex, Sibson Garden Village in Huntingdonshire, Silfield near Norfolk, South Godstone in Surrey, Beadlow in Bedfordshire, and a 19,000 home proposal south of Bedford on the Oxford to Cambridge railway line.
Advising on over 30 major urban extensions such as the 5,000 plus dwelling developments at Sherford in Plymouth, Northstowe in Cambridgeshire, Wrexham in Wales for Bloor, East of Tring in Hertfordshire, East of Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire, Ladygrove East in Oxfordshire and the expansion of Knebworth Garden Village.
Green Belt, Tall Buildings and Regeneration
Presently advising on over 30 development schemes in the Green Belt, many of which are proceeding by way of speculative applications having advised on and won a series of recent appeals for sites in the Green Belt, including 500 houses at Wheatley in Oxfordshire. He is also involved in numerous tall buildings appeals, including several in London. He is advising on regeneration schemes including advising St Modwen on the redevelopment of the Longbridge car plant and Birmingham City Council on a major proposal in Digbeth.
Acts extensively for the Retirement and Care Sector and is presently involved in over a dozen such schemes, having recently won appeals for the Extra Care operators on numerous greenfield sites in locations such as in the Green Belt (West Malling, Kent), in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (Sonning Common, Oxfordshire), Conservation Areas and close to a National Park (Albourne, Sussex). He also acts for care homes operators, sheltered housing operators and bungalow builders.
Chris acts for the logistics operators such as Tritax Symmetry and roadside and motorway service operator Eurogarages. He advises numerous employment firms, as well as retailers such as Tesco Stores and Lidl, mineral operators such as Tarmac, and Universities, colleges and schools on campus development such as Oxford Brookes and the University of Reading. Also acts for various leisure operators including Forest Holidays.
Chris regularly appears at Spatial and Local Plan examinations for the development industry. This includes numerous appearances for Consortia, such as the West of England Local Plan where he acted for a consortium of 10 housebuilders and developers, leading Peels work in the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework and acting for the main objector on Green Belt at the London Plan EIP. He also acted successfully for the three South Worcestershire authorities in respect of their Joint Local Plan, and for Redditch BC and Bromsgrove BC in respect of Joint Local Plan.
Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High Court
He regularly appears in the Higher Courts including acting successfully for Richborough Estates in the Supreme Court on the seminal case on the operations of the NPPF. Between 2017 and 2021 he appeared in the Court of Appeal five times in cases concerning residential development. He frequently acts in the High Court, successfully defending planning permissions secured by developer clients. He has also acted successfully to quash several Secretary of State decisions refusing permission for development, including three recent cases involving neighbourhood plans. He also acted for 25 housebuilders and developers in their legal challenge to the Written Ministerial Statement on Neighbourhood Plans, which led to changes in national policy.
Chris is a member of the Planning and Environmental Bar Association (PEBA), the Compulsory Purchase Association (CPA) and National Infrastructure Planning Association (NIPA).
He lectures throughout the UK at RTPI, housing and in- house events on a variety of topics including planning legislation, Green Belt development, neighbourhood planning, housing numbers, five year supply, ecological and nutrient matters and financial viability.
He also represents several groups which directly lobby Government for changes to planning policy.
He is also a panelist on the monthly webinar “Have We Got Planning News For You”.
He has been recommended in directories such as Chambers Directory and the Legal 500 for the last 15 years.
“Chris is always on top of a case and fiercely determined to fight his client’s corner.” “He’s carved out a strong reputation, particularly on housing land and strategic housing cases. He’s also very commercial and very accessible.”
Chambers UK 2022
“The leading inquiry advocate for large-scale housing inquiries. He’s a legal whirlwind who knows everything about that area.” “Highly experienced and technical in housing matters.”
Chambers UK 2021
“A great all-rounder.” “Utterly superb - brilliant advocate, adviser and team player.” “Chris commands absolute trust from all of his developer clients.”
Chambers UK 2020
“Specialises in residential and retail planning matters.”
Legal 500 2020
“A fantastic communicator who is extremely well thought of by everyone who has had the pleasure of working with him.” “A superb advocate. His diligence and ability are top-notch.”
Chambers UK 2019
“Highly experienced in representing housebuilders and developers in planning matters.”
Legal 500 2019
“Very personable and very helpful. He has a very nice style and an amazing ability to read great swathes of documents. He can relate to everybody in the room and build a good rapport to get them on side.” “A go-to barrister for house builders and promoters of large residential development proposals outside of London. He’s built up an unparalleled bank of knowledge of appellate decisions, which he shares widely.”
Chambers UK 2018
“He works tirelessly for his clients’ interests.”
Legal 500 2017
Monroe Debating Prize 1998
BA (Hons) Double First 1994
Diploma in Law 1996
LLM (London) 1998
Queen Mother Scholarship 1996
Queen Mother/Fox Scholarship 1997
Monroe Debating Prize 1998