Christopher was called to the Bar (Lincoln’s Inn) in November 1994 and he was appointed Queen’s Counsel in March 2013. He joined Landmark Chambers in 2007.
Christopher specialises in Town & Country Planning, Compulsory Purchase, Environmental and Infrastructure Law. He is a member of Planning & Environmental Bar Association (PEBA)and the Compulsory Purchase Association (CPA).
Chambers & Partners 2018 described Christopher as, “He’s one of the best in the market. His public inquiry advocacy is second to none, and he’s also very good in the High Court. Clients love him, inspectors love him, judges love him. He has an incredible ability to get everyone on side and his cross-examination technique is first class.”.
For over 20 years, Christopher has specialised in Town and Country Planning, Compulsory Purchase, Environmental and Infrastructure Law, acting principally for developers, landowners and scheme promoters.
For the past 15 or more years, this has been dominated by the promotion of major housing schemes across the country, at section 78, local plan and now neighbourhood plan levels. These include past and present promotion of 2,500-8,500 houses at Braintree, 4,000-5,000 at Hert District, 1,200 at South Oxfordshire, 482 at Fleet, and 400 at Newmarket and many schemes of around 100-500 units taking advantage of para’s 49 and 14 of the NPPF. Christopher has a recognised expertise in the issues of Objectively Assessed Need, 5-year land supply and neighbourhood plan matters. At Dawlish he defeated the first ever neighbourhood plan to reach examination. His case Woodcock Holdings v SSCLG represents a milestone case in the approach to para. 49 of the NPPF. His clients include many of the Country’s largest house-builders: Berkeley Homes, Barratt/David Wilson, Crest Nicholson, Persimmon, Gleeson Developments, Croudace, Wates, Rydon Homes and Linden Homes among others. He also regularly acts for landpromoters and landowners directly promoting their own sites. Christopher has advised HS2Ltd on heritage matters and is currently advising the DIO on the redevelopment of Hyde Park Barracks.
Town centre regeneration CPOs and retail work has in recent years encompassed protecting and extending retail landownership for major investor/owners at Northleigh Park, Wigan, Telford Town Centre, Skelmersdale Town Centre, Eastbourne Town Centre and schemes for Lidl in East London as well as representing Tescos at Wigan Town Centre CPO, Scarborough Building Society at Leeds Town Centre CPO, John Lewis Partnership at Sheffield Town Centre CPO, Victoria Palace Theatre at Victoria Station LUL CPO, the landowner’s bank at Margate Dreamland CPO.
Christopher was a founder member of the Compulsory Purchase Association, wrote the PEBA Consultation response to the IPC/DCO process in the 2008 Act and has been involved throughout his practice in significant infrastructure promotion. This has included hybrid bill (Central Railways), TWA (eg the Second Tyne Tunnel; the £500m Mersey Gateway Bridge), and conventional planning and highways CPO (eg Mansfield-Ashfield Regeneration Route; Oakham Bypass).
Christopher has a significant practice in energy, waste, minerals and commercial operations. He promoted a major new Solar Farm in Cambridgeshire, and recycling sites in Oxfordshire. He has promoted and opposed major Energy from Waste plants in Cheshire and Cornwall and a power station DCO at Nottingley. Environmental infrastructure includes a mineral-water bottling plant at Buxton and a waste water treatment plant on the Severn. The highly controversial 9,000 prayer-mat ‘mega-mosque’ which he promoted in Newham for the devout Muslim movement ‘Tablij Jaamat’ presented both conventional and novel issues, calling for both robust and sensitive handling at the 3 week inquiry that ensured.
He is used to working with and leading large multi-disciplinary consultant teams. He has a particular aptitude for understanding and leading detailed and technical environmental evidence and takes obvious relish in the opportunities presented by cross-examination.
Secretary, Planning & Environment Bar Association: 2006-2013
Founding committee member, Compulsory Purchase Association: 2006
Chairman, The Georgian Group: July 2015 to date
BA (Hons)(Oxon) – Jurisprudence (Merton College, Oxford)
December: Housing: s.78 at East Molesey for Langham Homes
November: Housing: s.78 at Congresbury for Strongvox Homes
October: Housing: Forest Heath Local Plan Examination for Lord Derby
September: Housing: s.78 at Wrington
July: Housing: s.78 Fleet for Berkeley Strategic
June: Housing: s.77 at Hassocks for Rydon Homes
May: Housing: s.78 at Bournemouth
May: Housing: s.78 at Sayers Common
May: Housing: s.78 at Lindfield for Wates Developments
April: Housing: s.78 at Portchester for Persimmon Homes
February: Housing: s.78 at Crawley Down for Wates Developments
January: Housing: s.78 at Ticehurst for Rydon Homes
December: Housing: s.78 at Colden Common for Bargate Homes
November: Housing: s.78 at Thatcham for Croudace Homes
October: Housing: s.78 at West Chiltington for landowner
October: Housing: s.78 at Crawley Down for Wates Development
September: Minerals: Oxfordshire Minerals and Waste Core Strategy examination
September: Housing: Winchester examination for Bargate Homes
September: Housing: s.78 at Bournemouth for landowner
August: Housing: s.78 at Drayton for Strongvox Homes
August: Housing: s.78 at Sandford for Strongvox Homes
July: Housing: s.78 at Swindon for Hills UK Ltd
June: Housing: West Berkshire DPD examination for Croudace Homes
May: Housing: s.78 at Woodmancote for Crest Nicholson
May: Housing: s.78 at Ringmer for Croudace Homes
March: Energy: s.78 Solar Farm in Cambridgeshire
March: Housing: s.78 at Kentford for Meddler Properties Ltd
January: Housing: s.78 at Stanton Harcourt for Sheehan Ltd
January: Housing: s.78 at Ovingdean for Lightwood Strategic
December: Housing: s.78 at Kingswood for Crest Nicholson
December: Housing: s.78 at St. Ives for Gonwin Developments
November: Housing: s.77 at Haddenham for Lightwood Strategic
October: Housing: s.78 at Netley
October: Leisure: s.78 at University College School for UCS
August: Housing: s.78 at Ringmer for Gleeson Developments
July: Housing: s.78 at Temple Cloud for Barratt
July: Housing: Horsham Local Plan for Berkeley Strategic
June: Housing: s.78 at Maidstone for Croudace Strategic
May: Housing: Cornwall Local Plan for landowner
April: Housing: 3 week s.78 at Newmarket for landowner
March: Housing: s.78 at Hassocks for Gleesons
February: Waste: s.78 at Oxford for re-cycling operator
January: Housing: s. 78 at Nunney for Barratts
January: Housing: s. 78 at Selborne for landowner
October: Moulton Parish Council & Lord Derby v SSCLG ; quashing refusal of permission
June: Ali v SSCLG ; Mosque challenge
January: Skelmersdale Ltd v West Lancashire Borough Council ; Retail conditions
March: Distinctive Properties Ltd v. SSCLG ; TPOs and Tree Replacement Orders
February: Woodcock Holdings Ltd v SSCLG ; Neighbourhood Plans and 5 year land supply
Articles and Presentations
- Virtual Inquiries: Top Tips – webinar
- Revised NPPF: Housing policies, housing need and housing numbers
- Neighbourhood Plans
- Working Successfully with the IPC process – IPC Process, Procedures and Potential Challenges
- The IPC – Open for Business – Examination of Schemes by the IPC
- Inspectors’ Changes to Development Plan Documents – Exploding Some Myths