Paul Cairnes was called to the Bar in 1980 and specialises exclusively in Planning and Environmental work. Paul acts for developers and local authorities throughout England and Wales and he has considerable High Court experience with regard to planning and environmental issues. Paul is presently promoting a number of major residential schemes across the country, including a garden communities.
He is regularly instructed to appear and advise in high profile and large-scale development proposals, recent examples of which include:
Housing and Mixed Use
• The successful promotion of a major detailed residential scheme (53 homes and associated infrastructure) in Morpeth, Northumberland. The site was unallocated in the Neighbourhood Plan and the LPA were able to demonstrate a 12.5 years housing land supply (APP/P2935/W/18/3210193)
• The successful promotion of a residential scheme in environmentally sensitive location in West Stafford Dorset (PINS Ref: APP/F1230/W/18/3206604)
• Major residential scheme of 175 dwellings and associated infrastructure on an unallocated site in the Green Belt on land north of Asher Lane, Ruddington, Nottinghamshire (PINS Ref: APP/P3040/W/17/3185493)
• The successful promotion of a major residential (detailed) scheme of 290 dwellings and associated infrastructure on land off Fleckney Road, Fleckney, Leicestershire (PINS Ref: APP/F2415/W/17/3182409)
• The successful promotion of major residential scheme of up to 250 dwellings on land off Coventry Road, Lutterworth, Leicestershire. (PINS Ref: APP/F2415/W/16/3151978).
• The successful promotion of rural residential scheme in North Dorset and consequential discharge of existing planning obligations (PINS Refs: APP/N2515/W/15/3128761 and APP/N1215/Q/15/3131182).
• The successful promotion of major residential development scheme in West Sussex despite the existence of a 5-year housing land supply (PINS Ref: APP/L3815/W/15/3003656).
• The successful promotion of a residential development scheme in Feniton, Devon. This was the only successful appeal in 4 conjoined planning appeals heard together in a “super inquiry” (PINS Ref: APP/U1105/A/13/2191905).
• The successful opposition to a residential housing scheme in the Forest of Deane despite the absence of a 5-year housing land supply (PINS Ref: APP/P1615/A/13/2204158).
• The successful promotion of a mixed-use development comprising 173 residential units, office buildings and retail outlet with associated infrastructure in Weymouth, Dorset (PINS Ref: APP/P1235/A/13/2198549).
• The successful promotion of a residential development of 277 dwellings with associated public open space, affordable housing, recreational facilities, landscaping and access at the former Fremington Army Camp, Devon (PINS Ref: APP/X1118/A/12/2188898).
• The successful promotion of a mixed used development comprising some 51 dwellings plus retail units in Bournemouth (PINS Ref: APP/G1250/A/12/2189589).
• The successful promotion of a mixed-use urban extension to south of Gloucester comprising some 1750 homes and associated community infrastructure (Hunts Grove – PINS Ref: APP/C1625/V/07/1202058)).
• Successfully opposing a proposed development comprising some 137 dwellings and medical centre in Bidford-on-Avon, Alcester, Stratford on Avon despite the absence of a 5 year housing land supply (PINS Ref: APP/J3720/A/12/2176743).
• Successfully opposing a proposed mixed use urban extension to the north of Gloucester comprising some 1750 homes and associated community infrastructure (Land at Innsworth Lane – PINS Ref: APP/G1630/A/09/2097181)).
• Advising on potential major residential development in Cornwall within historically sensitive locations.
• Numerous Gypsy appeals concerning unlawful development in the Green Belt, AONBs and sensitive sites.
• Numerous appeals concerning residential, commercial and Wind Farm development proposals in the Green Belt, AONBs, the setting of listed Buildings and other sensitive sites.
• Paul is presently instructed in connection with the promotion of major residential, mixed use and commercial schemes across England, most recently with respect to sites in Nottinghamshire, Cumbria, Oxfordshire, Dorset, Corby, Northumberland and Stroud.
• The successful promotion of a large-scale low-energy industrial park adjacent to Canford Heath, Poole, Dorset. The appeal was opposed by Natural England in view of contested ecological concerns over the potential adverse impacts upon the European protected Dorset Heathlands (PINS Ref: APP/Q1225/A/13/2204098).
• Promoting large scale residential development allocation (1400 dwellings) of behalf of major developers at the EiP of the draft West Oxfordshire Local Plan (2017).
• Representing Waverley Housing Forum (comprising a group of 10 major developers) at the EiP of the draft Waverley Local Plan (2017).
• Representing interests of large scale developers and site promoters at the EiP of the draft Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Plan (2017).
Minerals and Waste
• Securing district-wide permanent injunctive relief concerning unlawful waste transfer sites in Rotherham.
• Representing Gloucestershire County Council in challenge to minerals extractions permission in Cotswold Water Park
• Promotion of Waste Transfer and linked Employment sites in the SE Dorset conurbation
• Paul has a long history of acting in complex enforcement matters. This has included the successful prosecution recovery of substantial monies on behalf of LPAs using the POCA regime.
• His most recent enforcement appeal (on behalf of Stratford-on-Avon District Council) resulted in a Full costs award in favour of his client [PINS Refs: APP/J3720/C/17/3178642, 3178652, 3178664).
Paul is ranked as a Leading Planning Silk (Band 1) in both the Chambers and Legal 500 Legal Directories and recommendations have included:
“Enormously popular with clients because he is very easy to get along with and he is an impressive advocate and effective cross-examiner.” “He is impressive in his knowledge and approach.”
Chambers UK 2020
“Particularly strong on large scale residential matters.”
Legal 500 2020
“A marvellous barrister” “He seamlessly combines in-depth knowledge, attention to detail, gravitas and charm.”
Legal 500 2019
“Brilliant with clients. He explains things well and has such gravitas.” “Very approachable, very thorough and a very good advocate.”
Chambers and Partners UK Bar Guide 2018
“Well known for his expertise in planning matters”
Legal 500 2017
“He has strength of character, good judgement and strong client-handling skills”
Legal 500 2016
“Very thorough in his research and insightful in his advice”
Legal 500 2015
“An approachable and supportive practitioner, who is superb in cross-examination”
Legal 500 2014
Paul also featured as a top rated junior in Planning magazine (2013 - 2015) before taking Silk in 2016 and he now features as a top rated silk.
Recent significant cases include:
R (Wright) v Forest of Dean DC and Resilient Energy Severndale Ltd  UKSC 53
Supreme Court authority on principles surrounding acceptability of financial incentives attached to a planning application.
Wingrove v Stratford-on-Avon District Council  EWHC 287 (Admin)
Successful resistance to challenge of use by LPA of s.70C TCPA 1990 (introduced by Localism Act 2011) to decline to determine retrospective application for planning permission where enforcement notice in place.
Stratford-on-Avon District Council v Secretary of State and Ors  EWHC 2074 (Admin)
Challenge to grant of planning permission formulated on consultation rights as contained in the Aarhus Convention.
Jenkins v Gloucestershire County Council and Ors  EWHC 292 (Admin)
Opposing challenge to grant of planning permission in the Cotswold Water Park.
Stratford on Avon District Council v David Wilson Homes and Others (2011)
Successful enforcement of s106 obligation to provide financial contribution to community facilities.
Wiltshire Council v (1) Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and (2) Robert Hitchins Ltd  EWHC 1009 (Admin)
Disaggregation of housing land supply and the potential use of summary judgment in s.288 appeals.
R (on the application of Egerton) v Taunton Borough Council  EWHC 2752 (Admin)
The meaning of ‘curtilage’ in the context of the listed buildings legislation.
Planning and Environmental Bar Association
The Bar European Group
As part of the No5 Planning and Environment Group Paul makes an active contribution to its seminar programme. He also provides in-house training on planning and environmental matters to Planning Consultancies and LPAs.
LLB (U.C.W. Aberystwyth)
LLM in Public Law (Bristol University)
Accredited Mediator (BSPC Regent’s Park College)