James Corbet Burcher

Viewing: Planning and Environment for James Corbet Burcher

James Corbet Burcher is a specialist planning and environmental law barrister.
He acts for the full range of participants in the planning process: at appeal, at plan examinations and in court.
Directories and Rankings
James has consistently been voted in the Top Juniors in Planning Magazine’s Annual Planning Law Survey in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. He was voted the No.1 Junior Under 35 years in 2018.
Chambers and Partners Bar UK records him as a Band 1 Junior for Planning in the Midlands Region, with sources describing:
“James is clear, precise, relaxed and encouraging. He is very forensic and detailed.” [2022]
“He’s fantastic on the law with an extraordinary level of enthusiasm.” “Very diligent and client-focused.” [2021]
“Incredibly intelligent and hard-working, and an impressive advocate.” “A sincere and very committed member of the Bar.” [2020]
“A very good junior with an excellent grasp of what’s important. He’s wonderful to work with.” “Highly intelligent.” [2019]
“A very good junior with an excellent grasp of what’s important. He’s wonderful to work with.” “Highly intelligent.” [2019]
“He has extensive knowledge of the legal system…Extraordinarily detailed and very thorough.” [2018]
“An up-and-coming junior frequently highlighted for his client-friendly approach who is developing a strong reputation in the market…He has a good style and intellectual approach…He is very capable and very keen.” [2017]
Court Work
James has appeared in over 50 cases before the Planning Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.
He has acted in all types of administrative law proceedings: especially judicial review, s288 challenges to appeal decisions and s113 challenges to local plans. His clients have included claimants, defendants and interested parties of all kinds, from major landowners and housebuilders and promoters to parish councils and individuals.
The focus of much of his court work has been the interpretation of the National Planning Policy Framework. He has been instructed in many of the challenges which have explored and defined the scope of the Presumption in Favour of Sustainable Development. He represented the successful claimant in Wavendon Properties v SSCLG [2019] EWHC 1524 (Admin) (led by Peter Goatley QC) and one of the successful Interested Parties in Hopkins Homes [2017] UKSC 37 (led by Chris Young QC), which remain two of the leading cases on the interpretation of the presumption.
In the Local Plan s113 sphere, he has extensive experience of litigation involving Housing Requirements, Green Belt and the Duty to Cooperate stretching back to 2014. Cases in recent years have included: Flaxby Park v Harrogate BC [2020] EWHC 3204 Compton PC v Guildford BC [2019] EWHC 3242 (Admin) (led by Chris Young QC) and Aireborough Neighbourhood Development Forum v Leeds City Council [2020] EWHC 2183 (Admin).
Appeal Work
James has appeared at over 40 planning inquiries and hearings.
Appeal work in recent years has included:
- Garner Holdings, securing permission for three new B1/B2/B8 use units in the Green Belt on land adjacent to Denby Hall Business Park;
- Gladman Developments, securing permission for 180 dwellings - Land at Pear Tree Lane Chorley (led by Chris Young QC)
- Oxford Brookes University, securing permission for 500 units at Wheatley Campus – the largest Green Belt permission of its kind (led by Chris Young QC)
- The successful Appellant securing planning permission for 150 homes in Brimington, Chesterfield;
- Newcastle Under Lyme Borough Council in the dismissal of an appeal for 80 homes at Loggerheads, Newcastle- Under-Lyme;
- Forest Care, successfully securing permission for a care home development in Hartley Wintney, in Hart District Council.
- Davidson Homes securing planning permission for 141 dwellings at Hanslope, Milton Keynes;
- Cove Homes, in its successful appeal securing planning permission for 23 dwellings in Alfold, Waverley Borough Council
- Derbyshire Dales Borough Council in the dismissal of an appeal for 165 dwellings at Doveridge
Local Plan Examinations
James advises regularly on the promotion of sites through the local plan process, especially in the context of strategic planning at the City Region level.
Instructions in recent years have included appearing at the Harrogate, Bedford, West of England, St Helens and Salford examinations.
His work on s113 challenges informs all of his advice in this area, including work in the context of National Policy, Strategic Environmental Assessment, Green Belt, Viability and the Duty to Cooperate.
Neighbourhood Plan Examinations
James is one of the leading barristers operating in the field of neighbourhood planning.
In the last five years, he has advised on a total of more than 60 neighbourhood plans at all stages of development.
He has also appeared for parties at 10 neighbourhood plan hearings and in several of the judicial review challenges in this field, notably one of the leading Court of Appeal cases: DLA Delivery Ltd v Lewes DC [2017] EWCA Civ 58.
The majority of his work in this field is for housebuilders and land promoters. He assists them and their consultants with detailed written representations covering the “basic conditions”, site assessment, strategic environmental assessment and procedure, as well as related public law and local government issues. He has however also advised local planning authorities on procedure on several occasions.
In 2016, he represented Milton Keynes Town Council in the major called-in inquiry concerning a town centre retail development, which raised a number of issues concerning Localism.
Assets of Community Value
James has appeared in three cases before the First Tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber):
- CR2014/0016 : Idsall School v Shropshire Council – an early challenge to an ACV designation of school playing fields
- CR2016/0014: New Barrow Ridge Ltd v Ribble Valley Borough Council – successful challenge to ACV designation of allotments
- CR2017/0017Hickinbottom v Telford; Wrekin Council: successful defence of ACV designation for public house
He has also advised extensively in this area, and also conducted non-Tribunal advocacy including securing the removal of the designation at the internal review stage, appearing before the Council in person.
Bar Representation
James is a member of the Planning and Environmental Bar Association’s (PEBA) Committee and is its representative on Bar Council
He also sits on Bar Council Legal Services Committee and IT Panel.
He is a qualified Advocacy Tutor with Lincoln’s Inn, and has taught on a number of pupillage and new practitioner events.
He is a registered pupillage supervisor.
He is a registered pupillage supervisor.
Academic and International Work
James has an active interest in academic work, with a strong international focus, alongside his practice in England and Wales.
He is a member of the Planning Law and Property Rights Association (PLPR) and has delivered papers at their conferences in the USA (2019), Czechia (2020) and was a co-author of a paper presented remotely in 2021.
He has been appointed a member of the Platform of Experts in Planning Law.
He is a member of the International Society of City and Regional Planners, the International Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the American Planning Association and the International Planning History Society.
He is the co-author (with Ashley Bowes) of a Chapter in Professor Rachelle Altermann’s forthcoming major work, Routledge Handbook of Comparative Planning Law (forthcoming, 2022).
James has a particular interest in the development of planning legislation and policy to promote and support new technologies (PropTech, PlanTech) and international comparative land use law (notably in the USA, France and Germany).
Prior to coming to the Bar, James worked on post-war London planning history to postgraduate level. This grounding in the historical development of the British planning system informs all of his professional work today.
“James is clear, precise, relaxed and encouraging. He is very forensic and detailed.”
Chambers UK 2022
Notable Cases
Leech Homes v Northumberland CC [2021] EWCA Civ 198
Flaxby Park v Harrogate BC [2020] EWHC 3204 (Admin)
Peel Investments v SSCHLG [2020] EWCA Civ 1175
Airebourough Neighbourhood Forum v Leeds CC [2020] EWHC 45 (Admin) and [2020] EWHC 2183 (Admin)
Compton PC v Guildford BC [2019] EWHC 3242 (Admin)
R(Wright) v Resilient Energy Severndale Ltd [2019] UKSC 53 ([2017] EWCA Civ 2102; 2016] EWHC 1349 (Admin))
Peel Investments (North) Ltd v SSHCLG [2019] EWHC 2143 (Admin)
Wavendon Properties v SSHCLG [2019] EWHC 1524 (Admin)
Richborough Estates v SSCLG [2018] EWHC 33 (Admin)
St Modwen v SSCLG [2017] EWCA Civ 1643 ([2016] EWHC 968 (Admin))
Verdin (t/a The Darnhall Estate) v SSCLG [2017] EWHC 2079 (Admin)
Baroness Cumberlege of Newick v SSCLG and DLA Delivery [2017] EWHC 2057 (Admin)
East Staffordshire BC v SSCLG [2017] EWCA Civ 89 ([2016] EWHC 2973 (Admin))
R(Williams) v Powys CC [2017] EWCA Civ 42
Suffolk Coastal DC v Hopkins Homes ; Cheshire East BC v SSCLG [2017] UKSC 37 ([2016] EWCA Civ 168)
DLA Delivery Ltd v Lewes DC ([2017] EWCA Civ 58 [2015] EWHC 2311 (Admin)
Trustees of the Barker Mill Estates v Test Valley BC [2016] EWHC 3028 (Admin)
R(Kebbell Developments Ltd) v Leeds City Council [2016] EWHC 2664 (Admin)
R(Flint) v South Gloucestershire Council [2016] EWHC 2180 (Admin)
Stryjak v Hounslow LBC [2016] EWHC 1897 (Admin)
Cheshire East BC v SSCLG and Renew Land Developments [2016] EWHC 571 (Admin)
R(Williams) v Powys County Council and Bagley [2016] EWHC 480 (Admin)
R(Dudfield) v Forest of Dean DC [2016] EWHC 291 (Admin)
West Berkshire DC v SSCLG and HDD Burghfield Common Ltd [2016] EWHC 267 (Admin)
IM Properties Development Ltd v Lichfield DC [2015] EWHC 2077 (Admin)
Kings Lynn and West Norfolk BC v SSCLG and Elm Park Holdings [2015] EWHC 2464 (Admin)
IM Properties Development Ltd v Lichfield DC [2015] EWHC 1982 (Admin)
Bar Council
Bar Council Legal Services Committee
Bar Council IT Panel
University of Oxford: Demy (Full College Academic Scholarship) Oxford Half-Blue, Modern Pentathlon
Lincoln’s Inn: Hardwicke Entrance Award Lord Bowen Scholarship Lord Mansfield Scholarship Sunley Pupillage Award
Other:UKELA Moot: Winner of both Senior and Junior Competitions
Planning and Environmental Bar Association (PEBA)
UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA)
National Infrastructure Planning Association (NIPA)
Constitutional and Administrative Law Bar Association (ALBA)
International Bar Association (IBA)
American Bar Association (ABA)
American Planning Association (APA)
International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP)
International Planning History Society (IPHS)
International Planning History Society (IPHS)
BA(Hons) Modern History (First Class), Magdalen College, University of Oxford
Mst Modern History, Magdalen College, University of Oxford
CPE (Distinction), City University
LLM (Distinction), University College London
BPTC, BPP (London)

Latest News & Publications

Permission has been granted on s78 appeal for a 60 bed care home (Use Class C2) in Hartley Wintney, within Hart District Council: APP/N1730/W/18/3203638...

Date: Tue, 09 Apr 2019
James Corbet Burcher examines PlanTech at the No5 Annual Planning Seminar...

Date: Wed, 03 Apr 2019