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Heather Sargent

Heather Sargent

YEAR OF CALL 2011HSargent@landmarkchambers.co.uk

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Heather practises primarily in planning, environmental and EU law.

Planning Law

Heather is listed as one of the top five junior planning barristers under 35 in the Planning Law Survey 2017. She was appointed to the Attorney General’s "C" panel of counsel in February 2016. Current and recent work includes the following:

Court work

  • Appearing in the Court of Appeal for an affordable housing developer in a statutory challenge to the grant of planning permission for a rural exception site (sole counsel);
  • Acting for a local planning authority in Court of Appeal proceedings in relation to a s.215 notice (sole counsel);
  • Appearing in the High Court on behalf of a commercial objector in a challenge relating to a Development Consent Order (sole counsel);
  • Acting for a local planning authority in three High Court judicial review and statutory challenges, defending the grant of planning permission for retail and housing development (sole counsel);      
  • Appearing for Lambeth Borough Council in a claim for judicial review of its decision to grant planning permission for the "Garden Bridge" (led by Nathalie Lieven QC);
  • Successfully defending the judicial review claim in Smech Properties Limited v Runnymede Borough Council [2016] EWCA Civ 42, which raised before the Court of Appeal an important point concerning the High Court’s discretion not to quash a defective grant of planning permission (led by Nathalie Lieven QC and David Forsdick QC);
  • Successfully resisting on behalf of the developer a judicial review challenge to the grant of planning permission for the redevelopment of the former HMS Ganges site at Shotley Gate, Suffolk (led by David Elvin QC);
  • Acting as junior counsel for the developer in a successful challenge to the refusal of consent for a wind farm in Powys; and
  • Regular appearances in the Magistrates' Court in planning enforcement proceedings.

Planning inquiries

  • Acting for the local planning authority in respect of a forthcoming four day inquiry concerning heritage and landscape issues;
  • Acting for Northampton Borough Council at two inquiries in respect of proposed Sustainable Urban Extensions of 1,000 houses (led by Timothy Corner QC);
  • Appearing for the appellant (led by Charles Banner) at a six day inquiry in relation to a retail-led regeneration scheme on the edge of Newmarket town centre; and
  • Appearing for the Order Making Authority at a two day inquiry in respect of the proposed diversion of a footpath which ran across a taxiway at Southend Airport.

Advisory work

  • Advising the Department for Transport on airports expansion in the South-east of England (as part of a team of barristers led by James Maurici QC);
  • Advising on a proposed challenge to the Secretary of State’s decision not to "call in" an application for planning permission for development at London Luton Airport (sole counsel); and
  • Regular advisory work on compulsory purchase issues, most recently in respect of the proposed Worcestershire Parkway Regional Interchange Railway Station (sole counsel).

Heather is an Assistant Editor of the Encyclopedia of Planning Law and Practice.

Environmental Law

Heather has a particular interest in EU environmental law, having worked on Case C-258/11 Sweetman v Ireland (Article 6 of the Habitats Directive) as a trainee at the Court of Justice of the EU in 2012. Current and recent EU environmental work includes:

  • Advising in respect of the Air Quality Directive;
  • Advising the Department of Energy and Climate Change in relation to infraction proceedings proposed by the European Commission (junior counsel to David Blundell);
  • Acting for the Environment Agency defending a claim for damages brought on human rights grounds in relation to flooding (junior counsel to Gwion Lewis); and
  • Successfully defending (in both the High Court and the Court of Appeal) on behalf of the Homes and Communities Agency a judicial review challenge on Habitats grounds to the grant of planning permission by Forest of Dean District Council for development in Cinderford’s "Northern Quarter" (led by James Maurici QC and Timothy Corner QC).

Other environmental experience includes:

  • Defending injunctive proceedings on behalf of Natural England (sole counsel);
  • Acting for the defendant in a prosecution pursuant to section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990;
  • Advising on the Climate Change Act 2008 (as junior to David Elvin QC); and
  • Advising in respect of the Aarhus Convention fixed costs regime for judicial review.

EU Law

Heather spent 10 months working as a trainee in the EU institutions during 2011-2012, first for the Legal Service of the European Commission (Competition law) and subsequently at the Court of Justice of the EU (Cabinet of Advocate-General Sharpston).

In addition to EU environmental law (particularly EIA, SEA, Air Quality and Habitats), Heather is particularly interested in both EU State aid law and EU public procurement law and regularly advises in respect of the application of both to planning matters. She is co-author of an article in the Journal of Planning and Environment Law on "State aid in planning and compulsory purchase order cases" with James Maurici QC (JPL 2015, 6, 621-643).

Heather recently acted for the claimant developer in a public procurement, best value and State aid challenge to a £125 million development agreement (as junior to Charles Banner).   

Other recent EU law experience includes acting pro bono in three sets of proceedings before the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal concerning EU residence rights, instructed by the AIRE Centre on behalf of the claimants. 

Public Law

Heather has a long-standing interest in public law, having previously given tuitions in Administrative Law to students at the University of Oxford, taught Constitutional and Administrative Law at Birkbeck and written an MPhil thesis on the Human Rights Act 1998.

Other Interests

Heather speaks fluent French and is learning Welsh. Away from Chambers she enjoys playing the piano and the viola, taking dance classes and going to the theatre.