Chris acts for all of the UK’s leading house builders and most of the major land promoters such as Hallam Land, Gleeson, St Modwen, UKSL, IM Properties, Welbeck, Richborough Estates. He has an enviable track record at planning appeals, many of which are cases recovered by the Secretary of State.
In the 2017 Planning survey of 300 leading planning solicitors and consultants he was the highest rated planning junior barrister in the country. Since being appointed Queen’s Counsel in March of this year, he has already been rated as one of the top three planning silks in the country for both residential and development plan work (Planning survey 2018).
He advises on some of the largest development proposals in the UK, including several new settlements such as Cattal near Harrogate, Sibson Garden Village in Huntingdonshire and a 19,000 home proposal south of Bedford on the Oxford to Cambridge railway line. He also advised on major uban extensions such as the 5,000 plus dwelling developments at Sherford in Plymouth, Brockworth in Gloucestershire and Northstowe in Cambridgeshire. He is presently acting in five appeals for large scale care villages.
He advises Tesco Stores and Lidl, as well as investment funds such as Rockspring, and major landowners such as Tarmac and the University of Reading. He presents acts for logistics operators such as Symmetry and roadside and motorway service operator Eurogarages. He is also acting on several proposals for new and expanding schools and religious buildings.
He regularly appears in the Higher Courts including acting for the successful developer in the Supreme Court in Cheshire East v Richborough Estates. He also acted for 25 housebuilders and develpers in their legal challenge to the Written Ministerial Statement on Neighbourhod Plans, which led to changes in national policy.
Chris has been involved in numerous Local Plan examinations including acting for St Modwen in the East Riding Local Plan, Richborough Estates at the Birmingham Local Plan, and Radley College at the Vale of the White Horse Plan. He is presently involved in over a dozen local plan examinaitons. He also acted for the three South Worcestershire authorities in respect of the Part 2 EIP hearings on their recently adopted Joint Local Plan, and for Redditch BC and Bromsgrove DC in respect of Part 2 of the Joint EIP hearings into their recently adopted local plans.
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, neighbourhood planning, housing numbers, financial viability, retail and housing planning policy.
He has been recommended in directories such as Chambers Directory and the Legal 500 for the last 13 years. He has been in the top band (Band 1) for Junior Planning Counsel for the last 7 years:
“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
“He is confident, has excellent technical knowledge and sheer force. He’s a guy with a lot of charisma: he makes you sit up and listen.”
Chambers UK 2016
“His knowledge of planning law is encyclopaedic, and he is the go-to junior for housing matters.”
Legal 500 2016
Recent examples of work
Acted for the success developer on seeking permission to appeal from Lang J and on the successful appeal to the Court of Appeal in the joint seminal case on the implications of LPAs not having a five year supply of housing land and the tilted balance.
David Lock Delivery v Lewes DC and Newick PC - Court of Appeal (Lewison and Lindblom LLJ) -
Challenge to the making of a Neighbourhood Plan: challenge to the legitimacy of a NDP proceeding ahead of an up-to-date Local Plan and the selection of NDP examiners by the NDP Steering Group, the Habitats Directive and SEA Directive: successful in convincing the Court of two errors of law, but the Court exercised its discretion not to quash.
St Modwen v SSCLG and East Riding Council – Court of Appeal
Acting for St Modwen in challenging a decision of the Secretary of State refusing permission for 500 new homes on employment land: the case concerned the interpretation of NPPF paragraph 47 and the phrase “specific deliverable sites.”
Kebbell Development Ltd v Leeds City Council – Court of Appeal
Acting for Kebbell in their challenge to the rejection by the LPA of the recommendations of a Neighbourhood Development Plan: the case concerns the ability of an LPA to modify a NDP contrary to the recommendation of the examiner: permission to appeal granted by Lindblom LJ listed for 30 November 2017
DLA Delivery v Cumberledge – Court of Appeal
Acting for DLA defending a planning permission for 50 dwellings at Newick in East Sussex from a challenge by a local resident and Conservative peer. The case concerns the Secretary of State’s failure to refer to an earlier decision in the same District. Permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal granted by John Howell QC: listed for 27/28 February 2018.
Richborough Estates and 24 others v SSCLG
Acted for a consortium of 25 housebuilders and land promoters seeking Judicial Review of the 12 December 2016 Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) by the Planning Minister (Gavin Barwell MP). The WMS seeks to remove the requirement for a continuous five-year supply of housing land in neighbourhood plan areas. It was issued without consultation contrary to the expectation of consultation on such matters built up over 30 years: judgment of Dove J awaited.
Verdin v SSCLG and Cheshire West - Robin Purchas QC
Acting successfully for James Verdon (Darnhall Estates) in challenging the refusal by the Secretary of State of planning permission for 180 new homes including affordable homes, self-build homes and homes built by small and medium sized local builders in Winsford, Cheshire.
Persimmon v Newcastle SSCLG and Bellway – Dove J:
Acting successfully for Bellway against Persimmon’s challenge to both Bellway’s permission for 600 dwellings west of Newcastle and the Council masterplan for the area.
Eastleigh BC v SSCLG and Miller Homes, Gleeson and Welbeck (Gilbart J)
Acting successfully for the Miller, Gleeson and Welbeck in defending a planning permission for 660 dwellings at Hedge End in Hampshire from a challenge by the local planning authority which failed to secure permission to bring the challenge.
West Berkshire DC v SSCLG and HDD – High Court: (Supperstone J
Acted successfully for HDD in defending a permission granted on appeal for residential development, the rejection of a housing requirement in an adopted Core Strategy and the use of a consultant-derived figure for the annual objectively assessed housing need: NPPF paragraphs 47 and 14.
Allaston Developments v SSCLG and Forest of Dean DC - High Court -
Challenge to the refusal of permission for 200 new homes including affordable homes, a care home, self-build homes and homes built by small local builders based on a draft NDP: Secretary of State consented to Judgment, appeal allowed on re-determination.
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