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Planning Law

Matthew has a wide planning practice encompassing issues across the spectrum of town and country planning and including plan-making, development control, enforcement, and infrastructure delivery. Since becoming a tenant at Landmark he has appeared regularly in the planning court on several occasions and been involved in complex inquiries of range of kinds and scales.

He is a contributor to Garner’s Environmental Law in relation to which he writes the chapter on Strategic Environmental Assessment (with Charles Banner) and is the editor of the Environment section of the Civil Court Practice 2017 (The Green Book). This reflects his particular interest in the environmental aspects of planning work in which respect he has worked on issues relating to EIA, SEA, land contamination, the Water Framework Directive and Habitats Directive.

He regularly advises in relation to neighbourhood plans and has been instructed by a number of parish councils to appear at call-in inquiries and oppose grants of development contrary to made and emerging neighbourhood plans.

High Court work: 

  • R (Shirley) v SSCLG (CO/690/2017) acting (with Reuben Taylor QC) for a developer in response to a judicial review alleging that the Secretary of State’s refusal to call in an application was in breach of the Air Quality Directive.
  • R (Gleeson Homes) v SSCLG (CO/2204/2017): acted (with John Litton QC) on a successful judicial review of the Secretary of State’s decision on housing land supply, the Secretary of State consented to judgment following receipt of the statement of facts and grounds.
  • R (Moody) v SSCLG (CO/4322/2016): acted for Longworth Parish Council on challenge brought by developer to Secretary of State’s decision to call in a planning decision in the area of the Neighbourhood Plan promoted by the Parish Council. The developer withdrew its claim.
  • R (Khan Sherwani) v SSCLG (CO/2983/2016): appeared for a local planning authority to successfully resist s.289 challenge at permission hearing in the High Court.
  • R (Higgs) v LB Hackney (CO/2366/2016): obtained an out of hours injunction to prohibit a local authority from taking direct action under s.178 of the TCPA 1990 and appeared for the Claimant in the subsequent application for permission for judicial review.
  • R (Friends of the Earth) v Welsh Ministers [2015] P.T.S.R. D28: Appeared (with Alex Goodman) for Friends of the Earth in a judicial review of the decision of the Welsh Ministers to adopt a plan to build a new motorway through the Gwent levels to the south of Newport (on grounds relating to SEA).
  • R (Howard) v Wigan Council [2015] Env. L.R. D5: Appearing for the claimant in a judicial review of the decision of Wigan Council to permit a development of 39 houses on a contaminated site. The case also

 Criminal court work:

  • Matthew regularly appears for defendants and for local authorities in the magistrates’ court in relation to prosecutions for failure to comply with enforcement notices, breach of condition and of unauthorised advertising. In this capacity he also frequently advises on issues related to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. 

Plan-making and Infrastructure work:

  • Airports Commission Process (Heathrow Third Runway): Matthew is currently advising Gatwick Airports Limited as part of a team of Landmark Counsel (Neil King QCReuben Taylor QC and Robert Walton) on the Government’s draft Airports NPS.
  • Cheshire East Local Plan Examination: appearing for Save Macclesfield Green Belt over 7 days of hearings into the Cheshire East Local Plan.
  • Walsall MBC Site Allocation Document and Area Action Plan: Advising Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council (with James Maurici QC) in relation to habitats issues arising around promotion of local plans. 

Inquiry work:

  • Proposed residential development at Land South of Weston Road: appeared as sole counsel for Great Horwood Parish Council in a four day call-in inquiry into a housing development brought forward by Taylor Wimpey, at which the successful Parish Council was the sole main party arguing for refusal. Key issues included landscape impact, conflict with Neighbourhood Plan, evidence for local and neighbourhood housing need.
  • Y Crwys Village Green Inquiry: appeared for landowner responding to village green application in the centre of Y Crwys village. Key issues included the interrelation of common land and village green legislation and rights of access under the Law of Property Act 1925.
  • Enforcement appeal at 89 Martindale Road, TW4: appearance for a homeowner on a successful ground d appeal relating to an outbuilding constructed within the curtilage of his home.
  • Ealing Filmworks Scheme CPO: appeared for London Borough of Ealing (as Promoting Authority) on a ten day inquiry into a CPO brought forward to enable the Land Securities’ mixed use leisure, retail and commercial scheme to be built (with Neil King QC). Key issues included the benefits which the scheme would deliver and whether an alternative to the CPO had been properly considered.
  • Frandon Hotel enforcement appeal: appeared for the successful appellant against an enforcement notice who was able to establish a 10-year lawful use of a hotel as a hostel for the homeless.
  • Enforcement appeal at Worldwide Butterfly Site: appeared for West Dorset District Council on a two-day inquiry into an enforcement appeal brought under grounds (a), (c), (d), (f) and (g).
  • Brentford Football Stadium CPO Inquiry: appeared for First Industrial Ltd, statutory objectors to the Brentford Football Stadium CPO, over a nine-day inquiry (as junior to Neil King QC).
  • Appearing for appellants in a number of appeals against an enforcement notice under s.174 TCPA 1990, including at public inquiries. 

On the advisory side, Matthew advises NGOs, developers, local residents and planning authorities on all aspects of planning law. Recent advices relate to enforcement appeals, neighbourhood plans, heritage impacts, permitted development rights, DCO procedure, fracking, the interpretation of planning permissions, and policy including national parks, AONBs, wind turbines, affordable housing and viability assessment. He has experience of drafting grounds and planning appeals statements.

Matthew is a contributor to Leigh Day’s Guide to Fracking Challenges and, prior to joining Landmark, worked as a paralegal for a leading firm of environmental claimant solicitors.

He has recently given talks on Neighbourhood Plans and Enabling Development and Heritage (with Sasha White QC) and provided training to local authority planning members on the nuts and bolts of planning law.