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Simon Pickles

Simon Pickles



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A more detailed indication of areas of work undertaken since January 2011: 

General Advisory

Frequent advice and opinions in respect of construction of planning permissions and applications for Certificates of Lawfulness (or enforcement). Areas covered include: residential development, retail permissions including warehouse permissions (range of goods), exploratory deep on-shore mining, A3/4 uses inc. hours of operation, hotel development, the development of an aerobic digestion plant, a museum, and use classes and permitted development rights including Class O (office to resi.), Frequent advice also on the implementation of planning permission (the Whitley principle), development in the Green Belt, environmental impact assessment, proper interpretation & enforcement of s.106 planning obligations and advertisements. 

Residential & retail

Many appearances at inquiries into residential developments, mixed use and retail developments. Assisting in preparation for and attendance at hearings into residential & retail development. Schemes considered have ranged from conventional residential schemes to more complicated or controversial examples including a garden suburb, affecting the Green Belt, loss of open space, Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas. Advice on specialist residential schemes for those approaching retirement or retired and on affordable housing contributions. Advice on the application of the retail impact and sequential tests.


Advice and inquiries concerning: enforcement notices (eg residential conversions including consideration of deception and waste-related development). Defence of prosecutions for breach of a stop notice in the Crown Court (a two weeks trial) and magistrates court. Proper interpretation & enforcement in the High Court of s.106 obligations (to connect to District Heating Facility). 

High Court / Judicial review

Frequent advice, principally to developers and local planning authorities, on resisting JR claims. That advice has concerned challenges to planning permissions for regeneration proposals, a hotel (claim by a councillor), the substantial expansion of a settlement, flats, school development and extensions, play facilities, tennis facilities, a park & ride scheme, multi-storey car park, replacement abattoir, solar and windfarm development and development in the Green Belt. Hearings have involved: the refusal of permission to challenge planning permission for a large-scale incinerator; rejection of a challenge to the decision to vary planning permission to enable further flights at London City Airport (R (on the application of Griffin) v. Newham LB [2011] EWHC 53 (Admin)); the proper construction of planning permission for retail development, including the range of goods to be sold (R (Prudential Ass) v. Sunderland CC and Peel Investments [2010] EWHC 1771 (Admin)) (junior counsel); the proper construction of planning permission including TCPA s. 75 (Peel Land & Property Investments v. Hyndburn BC [2013] EWCA Civ 1680) (junior counsel); resistance to a rival’s application to quash a superstore permission (R (Sainsbury`s Supermarkets Ltd) v. Hillingdon LB [2015] EWHC 2571 (Admin) (junior counsel)); and upholding of solar farm permission (Boden v. East Staffs BC [2016] EWHC 1151 (Admin)). 

Energy & Waste

Advice over several years to a team of officers at Surrey County Council on the grant and subsequent variation of planning permission for a Waste Management ‘Eco Park’ (now under construction) comprising: a Gasification Facility (60,000 tpa); Anaerobic Digestion Facility (40,000 tpa); Community Recycling Facility; etc. Issues included: classification of the gasification plant as ‘disposal’; safety; Best Available Techniques); reference back to committee; and the application of section 73 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990. Simon also represented the County Council at associated FP diversion inquiries. The original permission was not challenged and permission to challenge its variation was refused. 

Advice on other anaerobic digestion and pyrolysis plant proposals and wind farm development. This work is against the backdrop of appearances at inquiries into major waste projects including: an energy-from-waste/incineration plant to accept waste from central London; and a major integrated facility including de-inking, anaerobic digestion, combined heat & power, and MBT technologies in Essex. Advice also on planning permission for windfarm development and exploratory deep on-shore mining (with a view to fracking or not). 

Other related spheres of work

Advice on Assets of Community Value, local authority disposal of land including best value. Advice on operation of the planning regime in Gibraltar.