Matthew Fraser

Call: 2013

Matthew has a broad practice in planning law, environmental law and public law.

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Practice summary

Planning

Environment

Public and Administrative

Practice Summary

Matthew regularly appears in courts of all levels, as well as representing a range of clients in public inquiries and hearings. He has extensive experience acting for and advising private individuals and businesses, local authorities, central government departments, other public bodies, NGOs and interest groups.

Matthew is ranked by the legal directories in both administrative/public law and planning law.

  • In Legal 500 (2024), he is ranked in Band 3 among “Leading Juniors” for Administrative Law and Human Rights, and in Band 4 among “Leading Juniors” in Planning Law
  • In Chambers and Partners (2024), he is ranked in Band 5 for Planning Law
  • Matthew has been ranked among the top barristers in planning law under the age of 35 in the Planning Magazine’s annual Legal Surveys since 2018

Notable court work

Highlights of his court practice include:

  • Marks & Spencer v Secretary of State for Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities (AC-2023-LON-002520) – statutory challenge against refusal of planning permission for redevelopment of flagship Oxford Street store
  • R (Pickering Fishery Association) v Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [2023] EWHC 2918 (Admin) – claim for judicial review against approval of River Basin Management Plan
  • R (Pearce) v West Berkshire Council [2023] EWHC 209 (Admin) - claim for judicial review against the grant of planning permission for a new sports facilities
  • R (Finch) v Surrey CC [2022] PTSR 958 – Scope of requirement to carry out environmental impact assessment in relation to greenhouse gas emissions
  • Kaitey v SSHD [2022] 3 WLR 121 – whether conditional immigration bail can be imposed on a person if it would be unlawful to detain them
  • Antoniades & Ors v Administrator of the Sovereign Base Areas (JR/1, 4 & 5/2015) – represented the successful Administrator resisting a claim for judicial review brought by locally employed civilians in the Sovereign Base Areas (Judgment, 22 June 2022)
  • Monkhill Ltd v SSHCLG [2021] PTSR 1432 – Meaning of policies providing a “clear reason for refusal” in National Planning Policy Framework para. 11(d)
  • Peel Investments (North) Ltd v SSHCLG [2021] PTSR 298 – Whether a time-expired plan is “out of date” under para. 11(d) of the National Planning Policy Framework
  • Tower Hamlets LBC v SSHCLG  [2020] PTSR 111 – Interpretation of National Planning Policy Framework para. 196 on harm to heritage assets
  • RR v SSWP  [2019] 1 WLR 6430 – Major constitutional case in the Supreme Court about what remedy a tribunal can grant to victims of the bedroom tax – acted for the successful appellant
  • Dover DC & China Gateway International Ltd v CPRE Kent  [2018] 1 W.L.R. 108 – Leading case in the Supreme Court concerning the duty on local authorities to give reasons for planning decisions

Notable inquiries/hearings

Highlights of his practice at inquiries/hearings include:

  • Former Gas Works, Dartmouth – block of flats scheme with flood risk and design issues (October 2023)
  • Land South of Mill Road, Sandbach – recovered appeal in respect of reserved matters approval for 160-home scheme (September 2023)
  • Little Chalfont, Buckinghamshire – represented the successful landowner in gaining planning permission for a 380-home scheme in the Green Belt due to "very special circumstances" following a 7-day public inquiry (March 2023)
  • Grove Farm, Havering – represented the successful landowner in appealing against 21 enforcement notices and securing planning permission for large-scale industrial development in the Green Belt on the basis of "very special circumstances" (January 2023)
  • 458 Oxford Street, London – represented the main objector (SAVE Britain's Heritage) opposing the re-development of M&S's flagship store at a two-week public inquiry for the called-in application (October 2022)
  • Warren Golf Club, Maldon – represented the successful council resisting a scheme for luxury holiday lodges at a golf club in a two-week public inquiry (June 2022)
  • Thistle Quay Hotel, Poole – represented the successful council at a two-week public inquiry resisting a major mixed-use residential, hotel and commercial scheme in the historic Poole quayside (June 2022)
  • West Berkshire Minerals and Waste Local Plan – represented the successful council promoting their new plan at public examination hearings (February 2022)
  • Loxwood Road, Alfold – represented the successful developers at a public inquiry securing planning permission for 99 homes in the Surrey countryside (December 2021)
  • Cheshire East Site Allocations DPD – represented the successful council promoting their new plan at public examination hearings (October 2021)
  • Broad Road, Hambrook – represented the successful developer promoting a scheme for 118 homes at a public inquiry (September 2021)
  • Whitstable Oyster Company – represented the successful oyster company at a two-week public inquiry appealing against an enforcement notice requiring the removal of inter-tidal trestles used for the cultivation of oysters (August 2021)

Planning

Since 2018, Matthew has been consistently ranked among the top barristers in planning law under the age of 35 in the Planning Magazine’s annual Legal Surveys. His advocacy and advisory practice extends to all areas of planning and compulsory purchase law.

He is also ranked for Planning Law in both Legal 500 (2024) (Band 4) and Chambers and Partners (2024) (Band 5).

He is a member of the Attorney General’s B Panel of Counsel, and regularly appears for and advises the Secretary of State for Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities. He also acts for a wide range of developers, private clients, local authorities, NGOs, charities and government bodies (including Natural England and the Environment Agency).

Recent testimonials

  • Matthew is a joy to work with
  • He is invested in obtaining the right outcome for his clients, rather than just chalking up a win
  • Matthew’s advocacy is calm, thorough, methodical and highly effective

Notable planning court cases include:

  • Marks & Spencer v Secretary of State for Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities (AC-2023-LON-002520) – statutory challenge against refusal of planning permission for the redevelopment of flagship Oxford Street store
  • R (Pickering Fishery Association) v Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [2023] EWHC 2918 (Admin) – claim for judicial review against approval of River Basin Management Plan
  • R (M White (Skips) Limited) v Sheffield Magistrates’ Court (CO/1215/2023) – claim for judicial review of a restriction order made under section 109D of the Environment Act 1995
  • R (Pearce) v West Berkshire Council [2023] EWHC 209 (Admin) - claim for judicial review against the grant of planning permission for a new sports facilities
  • Standard Life Assurance Ltd v SSLUHC [2022] EWHC 2632 (Admin) – successfully defended the grant of planning permission for mixed-use development in Bath against challenge by neighbouring landowner
  • R (Finch) v Surrey CC [2022] PTSR 958 – defining the “project” and “effects” in environmental impact assessment
  • Monkhill Ltd v SSHCLG [2021] PTSR 1432 – Meaning of policies providing a “clear reason for refusal” in National Planning Policy Framework para. 11(d)
  • Patel v SSHCLG[2021] EWHC 2115 (Admin) – Interpretation of a planning condition concerning noise impacts
  • Hedges v SSHCLG [2021] EWHC 2392 (Admin) – Challenge under section 289 to an Inspector’s decision to dismiss an appeal against an enforcement notice
  • Peel Investments (North) Ltd v SSHCLG [2021] PTSR 298 – Whether a time-expired plan is “out of date” under para. 11(d) of the National Planning Policy Framework
  • Rectory Homes v SSHCLG [2020] EWHC 2098 (Admin) – s.288 challenge to Inspector’s decision concerning approach to C2 and C3 use classes and the meaning of “housing” in local policy
  • Aireborough Neighbourhood Development Forum v Leeds City Council [2020] 1 W.L.R. 2355; [2020] 1461 (Admin); [2020] EWHC 2183 (Admin) – Challenge to the Leeds Site Allocations Plan (three judgments dealing with: legal capacity to bring proceedings; the substantive claim; relief)
  • Keep Bourne End Green v Wycombe Council [2020] EWHC 1984 (Admin) – s.113 challenge to Wycombe Local Plan (represented successful council at permission stage)
  • Advearse v Dorset Council [2020] EWHC 807 (Admin) – judicial review of decision to grant planning permission for major development in the Dorset AONB (acted for successful council)
  • Craven District Council v SSHCLG (CO/58/2020) – s.288 challenge to an Inspector’s decision to grant planning permission for housing development (permission refused at oral renewal hearing; acted for successful IP)
  • Tower Hamlets LBC v SSHCLG  [2020] P.T.S.R. 111 – Interpretation of National Planning Policy Framework para. 196 on harm to heritage assets
  • Xyan Holdings v SSHCLG [2019] EWHC 2907 (Admin) – s.288 challenge raising issues of interpretation of affordable housing policy in the London Plan and local plan
  • R (Locke) v Newcastle City Council (CO/4426/2019) – permission refused in judicial review of a grant of planning permission for 1,200 homes in Newcastle Great Park
  • HJ Banks & Company Ltd v SSHCLG  [2019] P.T.S.R. 668 – a challenge to the decision to refuse planning permission for a new open-cast coal mine (acting for Friends of the Earth)
  • R (Gorst Energy) v East Devon District Council (CO/4635/2019) – challenge to a Breach of Condition Notice
  • Dover DC & China Gateway International Ltd v CPRE Kent  [2018] 1 W.L.R. 108 – Leading case in the Supreme Court concerning the duty on local authorities to give reasons for planning decisions
  • William Davis Ltd v Charnwood BC  [2018] J.P.L. 549 – acted for five major housebuilders in a successful challenge concerning the lawfulness of a Supplementary Planning Document housing mix policy
  • Eatherley v Camden LBC  [2017] P.T.S.R. 288 – key case defining the scope of permitted development rights for basements (acted for the successful claimant)
  • Basildon Council v Whiting  (HQ18X03326) – successful multi-hearing proceedings in High Court seeking an injunction to restrain unauthorised development

Notable planning inquiries and hearings include:

  • Fourells Paddock, Iver –  30 homes on a Green Belt site – very special circumstances (January 2024)
  • Wood Platt Cottage, Knutsford – enforcement appeal concerning unauthorised industrial development in the Green Belt (January 2024)
  • Former Gas Works, Dartmouth – town-centre block of flats scheme with flood risk and design issues (October 2023)
  • Land South of Mill Road, Sandbach – recovered appeal in respect of reserved matters approval for 160-home scheme (September 2023)
  • Former Wisley Airfield, Guildford – appeal against non-determination of application for major housing-led scheme on allocated site (acting for Rule 6 party neighbouring landowner) (September 2023)
  • Mansfield House, Macclesfield – hearing of appeal for waste management facility - January 2023
  • Land between Lodge Lane and Burtons Lane, Little Chalfont – two-week inquiry into scheme for mixed use development in the Green Belt – December 2022
  • Marlpit Lane, Chichester – enforcement appeal concerning unauthorised development in woodland countryside – November 2022
  • Land at Grove Farm, Havering – enforcement appeal concerning unauthorised industrial development in the Green Belt – November 2022
  • 458 Oxford Street, London – two-week inquiry for called-in application by M&S to redevelop Marble Arch store – October 2022
  • Cypress House, Handforth – re-development of a dis-used care home into assisted-living apartments – July 2022
  • Warren Golf Club, Maldon – luxury holiday lodges on an existing golf club estate – June 2022
  • Thistle Quay Hotel, Poole – mixed-use residential, hotel and commercial scheme in historic Poole quayside – June 2022
  • The Sail Lofts, Maldon – Lawful Development Certificate appeal concerning residential riverside accommodation – May 2022
  • Maldon Road, Burnham-on-Crouch – Phase 2 of a retirement village on greenfield site – March 2022
  • West Berkshire Minerals and Waste Local Plan – represented West Berkshire Council at examination hearings for new local plan document – February 2022
  • Skippy Industries Ltd environmental permit revocation appeal – representing the Environment Agency – January 2022
  • Knipton and Eshton Beck water abstraction licence condition appeals – representing the Environment Agency – January 2022
  • Land West of Loxwood Road, Alfold – representing the successful appellants securing planning permission for 99 homes in Surrey countryside – December 2021
  • Land at Cornwall Road, Basildon – representing local authority successfully resisting an enforcement notice appeal – October 2021
  • Site Allocations DPD Examination, Cheshire East – representing Cheshire East Council in the examination hearings for their new Site Allocations DPD – October 2021
  • Old Army Camp, Chichester – Representing Chichester District Council in resisting an appeal against an enforcement notice – September 2021
  • Land East of Broad Road, Hambrook – Representing developer promoting a scheme for 118 homes at a public inquiry – September 2021
  • Whitstable Oyster Company, Whitstable – Representing the oyster company in appealing against an enforcement notice requiring the removal of intertidal trestles used for cultivation of oysters – July/August 2021
  • Madonna Halley Hotel, Edgware – Representing hotel owner in appeal against enforcement notice concerning basement development – July 2021
  • Bullens Green Lane, Colney Heath – two-week public inquiry acting jointly for Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council and St Albans City and District Council in relation to a scheme for 100 homes in the Green Belt – April – May 2021
  • Newbridge Road, Bath – two-week public inquiry acting for appellant Oakhill Group Limited in relation to a major residential and student accommodation scheme – February 2021
  • Oyster Trestles, Whitstable – three-week public inquiry acting for Whitstable Oyster Company appealing an Enforcement Notice seeking removal of oyster trestles on Whitstable foreshore – March – April 2020
  • Land East of Loxwood Road, Alfold – 4-day inquiry concerning a housing scheme in the countryside of Waverley – January 2020
  • Missanda, Wells Lane, Ascot – one-day hearing concerning an appeal against refusal to discharge planning conditions for housing scheme – January 2020
  • Holly House, Harpsden – eight-day inquiry concerning a property in the Chilterns AONB – April, September and December 2019
  • Swanley Town Centre Regeneration, Swanley – four-day inquiry acting for the successful appellant seeking permission for mixed-use regeneration – June 2019
  • Waterside Holiday Park, Essex – three-day inquiry acting for the successful local planning authority resisting an LDC appeal relating to a caravan park – March 2019
  • Land south of Gloucester Road, Thornbury – four-week inquiry for Rule 6 party (Tortworth Estate / St Modwen) opposing 370-home scheme – January to March 2019
  • Former Kumor Nursery, Dover – three-day inquiry for LPA successfully resisting appeal concerning 60-home scheme – December 2018
  • Whitecap Mushroom Farm, Mayland – two-day inquiry for a Lawful Development Certificate appeal, acting for Maldon DC – November 2018
  • Land East of Park Road, Didcot – four-day inquiry concerning 135 homes in South Oxfordshire, acting for the developer – May 2018
  • Racton View, Chichester – one-day enforcement inquiry acting for Chichester District Council concerning a chicken farm – May 2018
  • Earl Road, Handforth – five-week inquiry acting for a retail developer in a called-in application in Handforth Dean, Cheshire East – January to April 2018
  • Worsley Greenway, Salford – four-week inquiry acting for Manchester City Council resisting a 600-dwelling (plus marina, retail and café) appeal – February to March 2018
  • South Eden Park Road, Bromley – four-day circa-100 home inquiry, acting for Bromley Council – January 2018
  • Flatts Lane, Redcar – acted for a housebuilder in a successful appeal concerning a 400-home scheme – April 2017
  • King v Maldon DC– acted for the council in successfully resisting an enforcement appeal raising issues of deliberate concealment – March 2017
  • Gorstyhill “Wychwood Village Extension”, Crewe – acted for Cheshire East Council successfully resisting a recovered appeal concerning a 900-home scheme – February 2017
  • Fontwell Avenue, Fontwell – acted for the successful developer in an inquiry concerning a called-in application for a 400-home residential and employment scheme in West Sussex, raising issues of conflict with made and emerging neighbourhood plans – November 2016
  • Cheshire East Local Plan examination hearings – acting for Cheshire East Council – September to October 2016
  • Olney Rugby Club footpath inquiry – successfully represented a rugby club in a public inquiry to determine the existence of a right of way over the club’s land – May 2016
  • Ahmed v Brent Council– acted for successful appellant in an enforcement inquiry concerning issues of deliberate concealment – November 2015.

Matthew regularly advises developers, local government, community groups and individuals about a wide range of planning and compulsory purchase issues. In addition to his civil practice, he has regular experience prosecuting and defending in criminal planning enforcement proceedings, as well as acting in appeals against other statutory notices, in the Magistrates’ Court and the Crown Court.

Matthew is a Contributing Editor to the Encyclopedia of Planning Law and Practice.

Environment

Matthew is an experienced environmental lawyer. Much of his planning work (see Planning tab) engages environmental issues including climate change, air and water quality, ecology and biodiversity, waste and landfill, land contamination, and arboriculture.

He regularly acts for and advises government bodies such as the Environment Agency, Natural England and the Marine Management Organisation on a range of environmental matters.

Notable recent work includes:

  • R (M White (Skips) Limited) v Sheffield Magistrates’ Court (CO/1215/2023) – Acting for Environment Agency in a claim for judicial review of a restriction order made under section 109D of the Environment Act 1995 (August 2023)
  • R (Pickering Fishery Association) v Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [2023] EWHC 2918 (Admin) – claim for judicial review against approval of River Basin Management Plan (May 2023)
  • R (Finch) v Surrey CC [2022] PTSR 958 – Supreme Court case regarding the scope of requirement to carry out environmental impact assessment in relation to greenhouse gas emissions (June 2023)
  • 458 Oxford Street, London: represented the main objector (SAVE Britain's Heritage) opposing the re-development of M&S's flagship store on sustainability grounds at a two-week public inquiry for the called-in application (October 2022)
  • West Berkshire Minerals and Waste Local Plan – represented West Berkshire Council at examination hearings for new local plan document (February 2022).
  • Skippy Industries waste enforcement appeal – represented the Environment Agency in a waste enforcement appeal (January 2022).
  • Canals and Rivers Trust at Knipton Beck – represented the Environment Agency in a water abstraction licencing appeal (January 2022).

Matthew also acted in:

  • HJ Banks & Company Ltd v SSHCLG [2019] P.T.S.R. 668 – a challenge to the decision to refuse planning permission for a new open-cast coal mine (acting for Friends of the Earth) (May 2019)
  • Dillner v Sheffield City Council [2016] Env. L.R. 31 – acted for the successful interested party resisting a judicial review concerning the lawfulness of tree-felling highway maintenance operations (September 2016)
  • Jim 2 Ltd v Walsall MBC – acted for the council in a two-week public inquiry to determine a contaminated land appeal under Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (the second ever inquiry in the history of the regime) (December 2015)

Public and Administrative

Matthew has a broad practice across a range of areas within public law. He is regularly instructed by local authorities, central government departments, private individuals and companies, local groups, NGOs and charities. He is appointed to the Attorney General’s B Panel of Junior Counsel.

While much of his work relates to planning and environmental law as sub-categories of public law, his practice also extends to a wide array of public law fields including immigration, social security, healthcare, human rights, protest and civil liberties.

Current and recent work for Central Government departments include litigation and advisory matters for the Department for Work and Pensions, the Home Office, HMRC, the Ministry of Defence, and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

In Legal 500 (2024), he is ranked in Band 3 among “Leading Juniors” for Administrative Law and Human Rights.

Notable work includes:

  • Kaitey v SSHD [2022] 3 WLR 121 – whether conditional immigration bail can be imposed on a person if it would be unlawful to detain them
  • Antoniades & Ors v Administrator of the Sovereign Base Areas (JR/1, 4 & 5/2015) – represented the successful Administrator resisting a claim for judicial review brought by locally employed civilians in the Sovereign Base Areas (Judgment, 22 June 2022)
  • R (Balhav Singh) v SSHD (JR/5767/2019) – Acted for the Secretary of State in a case about the duty to remedy an historical injustice in immigration decisions
  • R (Tumani) v Transport for London (CO/2610/2020) – Acted for claimant in a challenge to a decision to re-route a bus
  • RR v SSWP  [2019] 1 W.L.R. 6430 – Major constitutional case in the Supreme Court about what remedy a tribunal can grant to victims of the bedroom tax – acted for the successful appellant
  • KT and SH v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2020] UKUT 252 (AAC) – How to approach in PIP decisions the risk of fire to deaf people while they wash
  • Dover DC & China Gateway International Ltd v CPRE Kent  [2018] 1 W.L.R. 108 – Leading case in the Supreme Court concerning the duty on local authorities to give reasons for planning decisions
  • Aireborough Neighbourhood Development Forum v Leeds City Council [2020] 1 W.L.R. 2355 – Whether unincorporated associations have legal capacity to issue proceedings
  • HJ Banks & Company Ltd v SSHCLG  [2019] P.T.S.R. 668 – a challenge to the decision to refuse planning permission for a new open-cast coal mine (acting for Friends of the Earth)
  • RJ, GMcL and CS v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v RJ (PIP)  [2017] UKUT 105 (AAC) –  three-judge panel of the Upper Tribunal in a case concerning the interpretation of the meaning of “safely” in the Personal Independence Payment Regulations 2013 (acting pro bono for the National Deaf Children’s Society)
  • Bufalo v SSHD; Moradi v SSHD; TDZ v SSHD; Wiles v SSHD – Acting pro bono (through the AIRE Centre) in multiple successful appeals by EEA nationals against Deportation Orders

He has considerable expertise in planning and environmental law (see separate tabs), and regularly advises on cases that combine public and property law.

Matthew regularly acts for claimants in judicial review claims challenging detention and deportation, and he also acts for appellants in the First-Tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) and in the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber).

He regularly acts pro bono, in particular for the AIRE Centre and the National Deaf Children’s Society.

Prior to joining Landmark Chambers, Matthew was a Legal Assistant at the European Council of Refugees and Exiles in Brussels, Belgium. He has also volunteered for a number of legal charities in London, including the Free Representation Unit, the Afghan and Central Asia Association, the National Centre for Domestic Violence, the Bar Pro Bono Unit, Southwark Law Centre and the Refugee Children’s Rights Project.

Specialisms

Commercial/Retail

Compulsory Purchase and Compensation

Development Contracts and Overage

Development Contribution: Section 106 and CIL

Development Plans and other planning policy

Energy

Environment

Green Belt

Heritage

Infrastructure

Minerals and Waste

Neighbourhood Planning

Planning Appeals, Inquiries and Hearings

Planning Crime

Planning Enforcement and Injunctions

Planning Judicial and Statutory Reviews

Residential

Specialisms

Aarhus Convention and Environmental Justice

Air Quality

Climate Change and Emissions Trading

Ecology and Biodiversity

Energy

Environmental Enforcement

Environmental Regulation

Habitats and Species

Pollution and Contaminated Land

Protection of the Countryside

Utilities

Waste

Water

Wildlife

Specialisms

Energy and Utilities

High Court Planning

Highways and Public Rights of Access

Human Rights and Civil Liberties

Immigration

Judicial Review

Social Security

"
Matt is an excellent barrister with a detailed knowledge of law and is particularly good with clients. His advocacy skills are calm and collected, delivered in a structured and methodological manner, which is very compelling."

Legal 500

Chambers Top Ranked UK Bar 2024 Uk leading juniors 2024

Qualifications and achievements

Qualifications

  • Balliol College, University of Oxford (BA, Philosophy, Politics and Economics)
  • Birkbeck, University of London (Distinction, LLM Qualifying Law Degree)
  • City University London (Outstanding, BPTC)

Awards

  • The William Rose Memorial Prize for Excellence in Drafting (for the highest mark in the BPTC drafting assessment)
  • The Sibel Dedezade Pro Bono Award (for exceptional pro bono work)
  • Winner of the Human Rights Lawyers’ Association Judicial Review Competition 2013
  • Winner of the Access to Justice Foundation Student Essay Competition 2013
  • Highest ranked UK team, International Monroe E. Price Media Law Moot
  • Balliol College Markby Exhibitioner

Scholarships

  • Inner Temple Major Scholarship

Memberships

Appointed to the Attorney General’s B Panel of Junior Counsel

  • Planning and Environmental Bar Association
  • United Kingdom Environmental Law Association

Recommendations

Practice Managers

Contact our friendly and helpful Practice Managers for more information about our barristers and services or to make an enquiry.

Kevin Squires New background

Kevin Squires

Senior Practice Manager

020 7421 1351

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Jason Allen

Practice Manager

020 7421 1306

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Noel Pudney

Assistant Practice Manager

020 7421 1398

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