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Planning and environmental law

Yaaser’s practice covers the breadth of planning and environmental work. He has appeared in the Court of Appeal and High Court as well as at several Inquiries and hearings. He has been appointed to the Attorney General's C Panel of Counsel. Yaaser is ranked as one of the top juniors under 35 in the 2018 Planning Magazine's Planning Law Survey. 

He is often instructed to advise on the merits of challenging planning decisions as well as CIL, s106 contributions, affordable housing and enforcement issues. In addition, he has worked on compulsory purchase cases, state aid issues and has advised on Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects in relation to electricity transmission infrastructure.

His most recent cases include:

  • R (Preston New Road Action Group) v SSCLG and Cuadrilla [2018] EWCA Civ 9: A Court of Appeal challenge to the first horizontal fracking wells in the UK. The claim involved, amongst other things, air quality issues and whether Environmental Impact Assessment was flawed. 

  • Advising the Government on paragraph 14, footnote 9, of the NPPF. 

  • R (AB) v LB of Hammersmith and Fulham and Fordstam Ltd (2017): A challenge to the decision to grant planning permission for the new Chelsea FC stadium. This was based on air quality, procedural fairness and unlawful conditions. 
  • R (Fishron Properties Ltd) v Basingstoke and Deane BC (2017): Judicial review of a decision by the local authority to dispose of a site to a third party (hotel) with an exclusivity clause that hotel use not be allowed for any other lease in the area. The case also involved potential breaches of the Competition Act 1998.

  • McDonald’s Inquiry in Newcastle (2016): Sole counsel in a 2-week Inquiry for the No McDonald’s Kenton Residents’ Action Group between McDonald’s and Newcastle City Council. It related to a proposed development near one of the biggest secondary schools outside of London. The claim involved issues of transport safety, design and health policy.

Yaaser is a member of UKELA and frequently gives talks on planning and environmental issues.

Environmental

Yaaser has been instructed in some very high profile environmental claims in a broad range of areas, including fracking, Premiership football stadiums, building on public parks and land appropriation. He has particular experience in air quality and climate change issues.

His recent cases include:

  • R (Preston New Road Action Group) v SSCLG and Cuadrilla [2018] EWCA Civ 9: A Court of Appeal challenge to the first horizontal fracking wells in the UK. The claim involved, amongst other things, air quality issues and whether Environmental Impact Assessment was flawed. 

  • R (AB) v LB of Hammersmith and Fulham and Fordstam Ltd (2017): A challenge to the decision to grant planning permission for the new Chelsea FC stadium. This was based on air quality, procedural fairness and a challenge to the conditions in the planning permission. 

  • R (Burton) v SSCLG and Cuadrilla (2017): A challenge to a decision made in relation to fracking sites in Lancashire. A decision by the Secretary of State that a further inquiry should take place to reinvestigate highway safety issues was challenged as unlawful. 

  • Building on open space (2017): Yaaser assisted a local community in Newcastle in relation to a permission for development on their neighbouring open space. 

  • R (Moore) v SSCLG [2016] EWHC 2736 (Admin): Judicial review of the Secretary of State’s decision to grant consent to a local authority to appropriate allotment land for redevelopment. The decision was challenged on the bases of irrationality, misdirection, A1P1 ECHR and legitimate expectations. Yaaser appeared in the High Court for the National Allotment Society (interested party). 

General planning and infrastructure

Yaaser regularly acts in, and advises on, challenges to planning decisions. He also has significant experience on issues ranging from CIL liability to affordable housing to Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects.

His recent cases include:

  • R (Preston New Road Action Group) v SSCLG and Cuadrilla [2017] Env LR 33 (QBD): A High Court challenge to the first horizontal fracking wells in the UK (currently on appeal to the Court of Appeal). The claim involved, amongst other things, interpretation of various local development plan policies and paragraph 109 NPPF. It also involved procedural fairness issues following deviation from the statement of common ground. 

  • R (Fishron Properties Ltd) v Basingstoke and Deane BC (2017): Judicial review of a decision by the local authority to dispose of a site to a third party (hotel) with an exclusivity clause that hotel use not be allowed for any other lease in the area. The case also involved potential breaches of the Competition Act 1998.

  • R (Burton) v SSCLG and Cuadrilla (2017): A challenge to a decision made in relation to fracking sites in Lancashire. A decision by the Secretary of State that a further inquiry should take place to reinvestigate highway safety issues was challenged as unlawful.

  • Challenge to Garden Villages (2017): Challenging the Government’s decision to award funding to one of the 14 proposed new garden villages. This focused on the lack of housing need and flaws in the draft Local Plan relied upon by the Government. 

  • No McDonald’s Resident Action Group Inquiry (2016): Sole counsel in a 2-week inquiry for the No McDonald’s Kenton Residents’ Action Group (Rule 6 party) between McDonald’s and Newcastle City Council. It related to a proposed development near one of the biggest secondary schools outside of London. The claim involved issues of transport safety, design and health policy. 

  • Ofgem and electricity transmission infrastructure (2016): Involving an application by a third party for electricity transmission infrastructure and other issues related to Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects and Development Consent Orders. 

  • Land at 349 Glovershaw Lane (2016): Sole counsel for the applicant at a hearing in a claim that a parcel of land of interest to the applicant should be from the register of common land as it was wrongly registered as common land several decades ago.

  • Sheffield City Council v Oakleigh Homes 2013 Ltd (2016): A claim involving enforcement of payments agreed with developers in s106 agreements. 

  • Community Infrastructure Levy and s106 contributions: Yaaser regularly advises on CIL liability, s106 contributions, pooling restrictions and related issues. 

Enforcement

Yaaser frequently advises on and appears at enforcement matters in inquiries, hearings, the Magistrates’ Court and the Crown Court. 

His cases include: 

  • London Borough of Brent v (1) BSH 3 Ltd (2) Hallmark Estates Ltd (2017): A claim where the local authority argued that the defendants’ had failed to comply with improvement notices (Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004) and were, therefore, guilty of criminal offences. Yaaser succeeded in proving that the local authority had acted ultra vires and that there was a reasonable excuse for failing to comply with the notices. 

  • London Borough of Brent v Clear Channel UK Ltd (2017): Yaaser appeared in Willesden Magistrates Court on behalf of the defendant. The local authority argued that the defendant, an advertising company, had failed to comply with an Advertisement Removal Notice. 

  • Gardeners Farm Inquiry (2016): Appearing on behalf of Maldon District Council at an inquiry in an appeal against an enforcement notice issued by the local authority. The issue was whether a building had been used as a self-contained dwelling for at least four years. 

  • R v Lashmar (2016): A claim in Chelmsford Crown Court where the local authority argued that the defendant had failed to comply with enforcement notices and had, therefore, committed criminal offences. 

  • Ghetia Ltd v London Borough of Newham (2016) – The appellant appealed a notice (s215 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990) related to the appearance of its shop following redevelopment of Romford Road.