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Heather Sargent

Call: 2011
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Practice Summary

Heather practises primarily in planning and compulsory purchase, environmental and EU law. She is ranked in both Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500. She is also listed as one of the top rated planning juniors and as the second highest rated planning junior under 35 in the Planning Law Survey 2019.

Heather is a member of the Attorney General’s C Panel of Counsel and of the Welsh Government’s B Panel of Junior Counsel. She is an Assistant Editor of the Encyclopedia of Planning Law and Practice, with a focus on heritage matters.

Planning

Heather’s experience includes:

Court work

  • Acting for the successful respondents both at first instance and in the Court of Appeal in DLA Delivery Ltd v Baroness Cumberlege of Newick [2018] EWCA Civ 1305. The High Court decision was one of Planning magazine’s ten “need to know” court rulings for 2017.
  • Defending two judicial review challenges to the Revised NPPF for MHCLG (led by Rupert Warren QC).
  • Defending six judicial review challenges to the recently designated Airports National Policy Statement (counsel team led by James Maurici QC).
  • Appearing for the successful local planning authority in Oldham MBC v Tanna [2017] 1 WLR 1970, in which the Court of Appeal considered the proper interpretation of the service provisions in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, in the context of proceedings in respect of a s.215 notice.
  • Appearing at first instance and before the Court of Appeal for an affordable housing developer in a statutory challenge to the grant of planning permission for a rural exception site.
  • Acting for the first interested party, a telecommunications operator, in R (o.a.o. Mawbey) v Lewisham LBC [2018] EWHC 263 (Admin), a decision on the meaning of the word “mast” as used in Part 16 of the 2015 GPDO. The operator’s appeal is to be heard by the Court of Appeal in March 2019.
  • Successfully defending the judicial review claim in Smech Properties Limited v Runnymede Borough Council [2016] JPL 677, which raised before the Court of Appeal an important point concerning the High Court’s discretion not to quash a defective grant of planning permission (led by Nathalie Lieven QC and David Forsdick QC).
  • Successfully resisting on behalf of the developer a judicial review challenge to the grant of planning permission for the redevelopment of the former HMS Ganges site at Shotley Gate, Suffolk (led by David Elvin QC).
  • Appearing for nine claimant London local planning authorities in a High Court challenge to the Mayor of London’s Revised Early Minor Alterations to the London Plan, on grounds relating to affordable rented housing (led by Nathalie Lieven QC).
  • Regular appearances in the Crown Court and in the Magistrates’ Court in planning enforcement proceedings.

Planning inquiries and development plan examinations

  • Appearing at a Local Plan examination for the promoter of a site allocated for 2,000 homes.
  • Acting for the developer at a forthcoming inquiry in relation to a motorway service area (led by Timothy Corner QC).
  • Appearing for the appellant at an inquiry in respect of a proposed mixed-use development that includes 1,200 dwellings (junior to Christopher Lockhart-Mummery QC).
  • Acting for the developer at a five week inquiry into the proposed development of up to 2,068 dwellings at the former Wisley Airfield, Surrey, a Green Belt site that is partially previously developed land (led by James Maurici QC).
  • Appearing for the local planning authority at two inquiries in respect of proposed Sustainable Urban Extensions of 1,000 houses each (led by Timothy Corner QC).
  • Appearing for the appellant at a six day inquiry into a retail-led regeneration scheme (led by Charles Banner).
  • Sole counsel for the successful local planning authority at a four day inquiry that raised heritage and landscape issues.
  • Acting for the local planning authority at two forthcoming inquiries in respect of (i) residential development and (ii) a sheltered accommodation scheme.
  • Regular appearances for appellants and local planning authorities in lawful development certificate inquiries and enforcement inquiries.”

Infrastructure

Heather’s experience includes:

  • Advising the Department for Transport on airports expansion in the South-east of England and the forthcoming Airports National Policy Statement (counsel team led by James Maurici QC).
  • Advising in respect of the National Policy Statement for new nuclear above 1GW post 2025: siting criteria and process (junior counsel).
  • Advising as sole counsel on the Space Industry Act 2018 (at Bill stage).
  • Appearing for the claimant, a commercial objector, in R (Trago Mills Ltd) v SSCLG [2016] EWHC 1792 (Admin), a High Court challenge relating to a Development Consent Order.
  • Advising on EIA of a biomass plant.
  • Acting as junior counsel for the developer in a successful challenge to the refusal of consent for a wind farm in Powys.
  • Successfully resisting (on behalf of the developer) a judicial review challenge to the grant of planning permission for the Beddington Energy Recovery Facility (led by David Elvin QC).
  • Appearing for Lambeth Borough Council in a claim for judicial review of its decision to grant planning permission for the “Garden Bridge” (led by Nathalie Lieven QC).
  • Advising on a proposed challenge to the Secretary of State’s decision not to “call in” an application for planning permission for development at London Luton Airport.

Compulsory Purchase

Heather’s experience includes:

  • Acting for the acquiring authority at the inquiry into the recently confirmed Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (Calverley Square) Compulsory Purchase Order 2018, led by Craig Howell Williams QC. The purpose of the CPO is to facilitate the Calverley Square redevelopment scheme, which was granted planning permission in June 2018 and includes a new 1,200 seat theatre, a new civic centre for the Council and commercial office space.
  • Acting for the acquiring authority at the inquiry into the (subsequently confirmed) London Borough of Enfield (Alma Estate Regeneration) CPO 2016 (junior to David Elvin QC).
  • Advising Highways England in relation to a claim for compensation in respect of compulsory acquisition pursuant to a Development Consent Order for a road improvement scheme.
  • Advising in respect of the Worcestershire Parkway Regional Interchange CPO.
  • Advising on the Worcester Southern Link Road CPO.

Environment

Heather has a particular interest in EU environmental law, having worked on Case C-258/11 Sweetman v Ireland (Article 6 of the Habitats Directive) as a trainee at the Court of Justice of the EU in 2012. Her EU environmental experience includes:

  • Acting for the successful respondents both at first instance and in the Court of Appeal in DLA Delivery Ltd v Baroness Cumberlege of Newick [2018] EWCA Civ 1305, which addresses the requirements of reg. 68(3) of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010.
  • Successfully defending (in both the High Court and the Court of Appeal) on behalf of the Homes and Communities Agency a judicial review challenge on Habitats grounds to the grant of planning permission by Forest of Dean District Council for development in Cinderford’s “Northern Quarter” (led by James Maurici QC and Timothy Corner QC).
  • Extensive advisory experience in respect of the EIA, SEA and Air Quality Directives and of the related domestic transposing provisions.
  • Advising the Department of Energy and Climate Change on infraction proceedings proposed by the European Commission (junior to David Blundell).

Other environmental experience includes:

  • Successfully defending King v Environment Agency [2018] EWHC 65 (QB), a claim for damages brought on human rights grounds in relation to flooding (led by Gwion Lewis).
  • Successfully acting for the Environment Agency in High Court challenges relating to the operation of the environmental permitting regime in the waste context.
  • Defending injunctive proceedings on behalf of Natural England.
  • Defending a prosecution pursuant to section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
  • Advising on the Climate Change Act 2008.
  • Advising a local authority on how to approach long-term flood risk.
  • Regularly advising in respect of the Aarhus Convention fixed costs regime.

European Union Law

Heather spent 10 months working as a trainee in the EU institutions during 2011-2012, first for the Legal Service of the European Commission (Competition law) and subsequently at the Court of Justice of the EU (Cabinet of Advocate-General Sharpston).

In addition to EU environmental law (see “Environment”) , she has particular experience of both EU State aid law and EU public procurement law. This includes:

  • Acting for the claimant in a judicial review challenge to the local planning authority’s interpretation of State aid provisions in the Community Infrastructure Levy (“CIL”) Regulations 2010 (led by James Maurici QC).
  • Appearing for the claimant in the High Court in R (o.a.o. Faraday Development Ltd) v West Berkshire Council [2016] EWHC 2166 (Admin), a public procurement, best value and State aid challenge to a £125 million development agreement (led by Charles Banner).
  • Advising a contracting authority on the procurement of community transport services.
  • Co-author (with James Maurici QC) of an article in the Journal of Planning and Environment Law on “State aid in planning and compulsory purchase order cases” (JPL 2015, 6, 621-643).

Other EU law experience includes acting pro bono in several sets of proceedings before the First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support) and the Upper Tribunal concerning EU residence rights, instructed by the AIRE Centre on behalf of the claimants.

State aid and Public Procurement

Heather’s State aid and public procurement experience includes:

  • Co-author with James Maurici QC of State aid in planning and compulsory purchase order cases (JPL, 2015).
  • Advising a local authority on the procurement of transport services.
  • Junior counsel for the claimant in the High Court in R (o.a.o. Faraday Development Ltd) v West Berkshire Council (led by Charles Banner).
  • Acting for the claimants in a judicial review challenge to the local planning authority’s interpretation of the State aid provisions in the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations.”

Other

Heather speaks fluent French and is learning Welsh.

In addition to her main areas of practice Heather has a long-standing interest in public law more generally, having previously given tuitions in Administrative Law to students at the University of Oxford, taught Constitutional and Administrative Law at Birkbeck and written an MPhil thesis on the Human Rights Act 1998.

Qualifications

  • 2010 – 2011: Bar Professional Training Course, Kaplan Law School, London
  • 2009 – 2010: Master of Philosophy in Law, University of Oxford
  • 2008 – 2009: Bachelor of Civil Law, University of Oxford (Distinction)
  • 2004 – 2008: BA in Jurisprudence – Law with Law Studies in Europe (French), University of Oxford.

Scholarships and Prizes

  • 2012: Sunley Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
  • 2011: Sir Peter Bristow Scholarship, Middle Temple (to spend time working in the EU institutions)
  • 2010: Lord Denning Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
  • 2009: Hardwicke Entrance Award, Lincoln’s Inn
  • 2009 – 2010: Peter Birks Memorial Scholarship, Faculty of Law, University of Oxford
  • 2009: Book Prize, Hertford College, University of Oxford (for performance on the BCL)
  • 2006: Scholarship, Hertford College, University of Oxford (for performance as an undergraduate).

Recommendations

“Widely regarded as a rising star, with particular expertise in infrastructure, housing and compulsory purchase matters.” “She was very effective at cross-examination, highly organised and excellent at working collaboratively with us to build a strong case.” “She’s excellent – the quality of her written work and submissions is fantastic. She acts as a really effective junior in being available and going between all parties.” Chambers & Partners 2019 – Planning

“Razor sharp and completely unflappable: without a doubt a rising star of the planning Bar.” Legal 500, 2019 – Planning

“She has an incisive and unstuffy approach.” Planning Law Survey 2019

Publications

“State aid in planning and compulsory purchase order cases” JPL 2015, 6, 621-643
Co-authored with James Maurici QC

Inquiries

CPO confirmed for new theatre, civic centre and office development in Tunbridge Wells

03/05/2019

Following a twelve-day inquiry, the Secretary of State has confirmed the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (Calverley Square) Compulsory Purchase Order 2018. The purpose of the CPO is to facilitate the Calverley Square redevelopment scheme, which was granted planning permission in June 2018 and includes a new 1,200 seat theatre, a new civic centre for the Council and commercial office space.

Heather Sargent appeared for Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, the acquiring authority (led by Craig Howell Williams QC and instructed by DAC Beachcroft).

The decision confirming the CPO is available here.

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Inquiries

Wisley Airfield inquiry opens

19/09/2017

Today an inquiry opens into a recovered appeal seeking outline planning permission for:

“the phased development of a new settlement of up to 2,068 dwellings incorporating up to 60 sheltered accommodation units and 8 Gypsy and Traveller pitches and associated infrastructure including accesses onto the A3 (Ockham Interchange), Ockham Lane and Old Lane and revised access to Elm Corner, a secondary school, a primary school, community provision, nursery provision, health facility, a local centre (incorporating food & drink, retail, a visitor centre and offices), employment area, sports and recreational facilities (incorporating a floodlit sports pitch and pavilion). Sustainable drainage Systems and an area of Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) incorporating a landform feature and car parking. The erection of associated utilities infrastructure. The development Proposal to incorporate the demolition/ removal of the runway and VOR Beacon (and any associated outbuildings). Outline application, matter for determination access (matters reserved scale, appearance, landscaping and layout”.

Wisley Airfield contains the largest previously developed Site within the Guildford Borough part of the Metropolitan Green Belt and is proposed to be removed from the Green Belt and allocated under draft Allocation A35 of the Proposed Submission Local Plan (‘GBLP’) for a residential and mixed use development.

The appeal is opposed by Guildford Borough Council and a number of other rule 6 parties and is expected to last 5 weeks.

James Maurici QC and Heather Sargent are acting for the appellant Wisley Property Investments Limited instructed by Herbert Smith Freehills LLP.

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Inquiries

Secretary of State grants permission for Northampton Sustainable Urban Extension

01/03/2016

The Secretary of State today allowed an appeal under s. 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and granted outline planning permission for “a sustainable urban extension to include up to 1,000 dwellings (class C3); a local centre with up to 1,320m2 net floorspace of retail, professional and financial services, and restaurants/ cafes (classes A1, A2 and A3); up to 375m2 net for a public house (class A4); 2.09ha of land for a two-form entry primary school; up to 750m2 for community uses which may include a medical centre, a pharmacy and a community centre (class D1); infrastructure improvements including a pumping station, green infrastructure and highway access” at land to the east of Hardingstone, Northampton.

The appellant was the Homes & Communities Agency.  The proposed sustainable urban extension was the subject of Policy N6 of the West Northamptonshire Core Strategy. The local planning authority refused planning permission based on the impact on character and appearance and traffic issues. An Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State held an inquiry that sat for 9 days in June and July 2015. The Secretary of State’s decision to allow the appeal and grant permission in agreement with the Inspector’s recommendation is dated 29 February 2016.

James Maurici QC and Toby Fisher appeared for the Homes and Communities Agency, the appellant, instructed by Walker Morris LLP.

Tim Corner QC and Heather Sargent appeared for Northampton Borough Council.

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Inquiries

Land off Cheltenham Road, Bredon, Wychavon District

02/12/2014

Five day inquiry into proposed 33 dwelling development on a greenfield site, concerning the approach to assessing whether the Council had a five year housing land supply, whether the development plan was ‘out of date’ within the meaning of NPPF para. 14, the adequacy of the ecological survey work undertaken and the sustainability of the site.

This was a five day inquiry into a proposed 33 dwelling development by Knarsboro Homes Ltd on a greenfield site. The issues included:

  1. the appropriate requirement figure for calculating whether the Council had a five year housing land supply;
  2. the level of evidence required to enable the conclusion that sites without planning permission were deliverable within five years and should therefore be included within the five year housing land supply;
  3. whether the whether the development plan was ‘out of date’ within the meaning of NPPF para. 14 even if there was a five year housing land supply;
  4. the adequacy of the ecological survey work undertaken;
  5. the landscape and visual impact of the development; and
  6. the sustainability of the site, housing land supply issues and whether the development plan was ‘out of date’ within the meaning of NPPF para. 14.

Charles Banner and Heather Sargent appeared for the Appellant, Knarsboro Homes Ltd, instructed by RPS Planning.

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Inquiries

Southend Airport footpath inquiry

29/07/2014

Two day inquiry into the proposed diversion of Footpath 36, which currently runs across a taxiway at Southend Airport.

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Inquiries

Newmarket retail inquiry

26/02/2014

Six day inquiry into the refusal by Forest Heath District Council of planning permission and listed building consent for a retail-led regeneration scheme on the edge of Newmarket town centre, including a 3716sqm ASDA food store, 4 retail units, a cafe and restaurant, an art gallery and the restoration of a complex of highly dilapidated listed buildings on the High Street frontage.

This was a six day inquiry into an appeal by Unex (No 3) Ltd against the refusal by Forest Heath District Council of planning permission and listed building consent for a retail-led regeneration scheme on the edge of Newmarket town centre, including a 3716sqm ASDA food store, 4 retail units, a cafe and restaurant, an art gallery and the restoration of a complex of highly dilapidated listed buildings on the High Street frontage.

The issues included:
1) whether the development would be in breach of development plan policies designed to safeguard the horse-racing industry in Newmarket, having regard to the site’s former use as a racehorse training establishment;

2) whether those policies were compliant with the NPPF, having regard to the judgment of Kenneth Parker J in Colman v SSCLG [2013] EWHC 1138 (Admin);

3) whether the impact of the development on the conservation area within which it would be located would be substantial or less than substantial, and whether the appropriate test in NPPF paras 133-134 to justify the degree of harm was satisfied; and

4) whether the scheme’s impact on the viability and vitality of the town centre would be beneficial by virtue of clawing back trade lost to out of centre locations (as alleged by the appellant) or harmful by virtue of its cumulative impact taken together with recently consented out of centre retail schemes proposed by Tesco and Morrisons (as alleged by the Council).

Charles Banner and Heather Sargent appeared for the Appellant, instructed by Savills and The Unex Group.

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Inquiries

CPO confirmed for new theatre, civic centre and office development in Tunbridge Wells

03/05/2019

Following a twelve-day inquiry, the Secretary of State has confirmed the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (Calverley Square) Compulsory Purchase Order 2018. The purpose of the CPO is to facilitate the Calverley Square redevelopment scheme, which was granted planning permission in June 2018 and includes a new 1,200 seat theatre, a new civic centre for the Council and commercial office space.

Heather Sargent appeared for Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, the acquiring authority (led by Craig Howell Williams QC and instructed by DAC Beachcroft).

The decision confirming the CPO is available here.

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Inquiries

Wisley Airfield inquiry opens

19/09/2017

Today an inquiry opens into a recovered appeal seeking outline planning permission for:

“the phased development of a new settlement of up to 2,068 dwellings incorporating up to 60 sheltered accommodation units and 8 Gypsy and Traveller pitches and associated infrastructure including accesses onto the A3 (Ockham Interchange), Ockham Lane and Old Lane and revised access to Elm Corner, a secondary school, a primary school, community provision, nursery provision, health facility, a local centre (incorporating food & drink, retail, a visitor centre and offices), employment area, sports and recreational facilities (incorporating a floodlit sports pitch and pavilion). Sustainable drainage Systems and an area of Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) incorporating a landform feature and car parking. The erection of associated utilities infrastructure. The development Proposal to incorporate the demolition/ removal of the runway and VOR Beacon (and any associated outbuildings). Outline application, matter for determination access (matters reserved scale, appearance, landscaping and layout”.

Wisley Airfield contains the largest previously developed Site within the Guildford Borough part of the Metropolitan Green Belt and is proposed to be removed from the Green Belt and allocated under draft Allocation A35 of the Proposed Submission Local Plan (‘GBLP’) for a residential and mixed use development.

The appeal is opposed by Guildford Borough Council and a number of other rule 6 parties and is expected to last 5 weeks.

James Maurici QC and Heather Sargent are acting for the appellant Wisley Property Investments Limited instructed by Herbert Smith Freehills LLP.

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Inquiries

Secretary of State grants permission for Northampton Sustainable Urban Extension

01/03/2016

The Secretary of State today allowed an appeal under s. 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and granted outline planning permission for “a sustainable urban extension to include up to 1,000 dwellings (class C3); a local centre with up to 1,320m2 net floorspace of retail, professional and financial services, and restaurants/ cafes (classes A1, A2 and A3); up to 375m2 net for a public house (class A4); 2.09ha of land for a two-form entry primary school; up to 750m2 for community uses which may include a medical centre, a pharmacy and a community centre (class D1); infrastructure improvements including a pumping station, green infrastructure and highway access” at land to the east of Hardingstone, Northampton.

The appellant was the Homes & Communities Agency.  The proposed sustainable urban extension was the subject of Policy N6 of the West Northamptonshire Core Strategy. The local planning authority refused planning permission based on the impact on character and appearance and traffic issues. An Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State held an inquiry that sat for 9 days in June and July 2015. The Secretary of State’s decision to allow the appeal and grant permission in agreement with the Inspector’s recommendation is dated 29 February 2016.

James Maurici QC and Toby Fisher appeared for the Homes and Communities Agency, the appellant, instructed by Walker Morris LLP.

Tim Corner QC and Heather Sargent appeared for Northampton Borough Council.

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Inquiries

Land off Cheltenham Road, Bredon, Wychavon District

02/12/2014

Five day inquiry into proposed 33 dwelling development on a greenfield site, concerning the approach to assessing whether the Council had a five year housing land supply, whether the development plan was ‘out of date’ within the meaning of NPPF para. 14, the adequacy of the ecological survey work undertaken and the sustainability of the site.

This was a five day inquiry into a proposed 33 dwelling development by Knarsboro Homes Ltd on a greenfield site. The issues included:

  1. the appropriate requirement figure for calculating whether the Council had a five year housing land supply;
  2. the level of evidence required to enable the conclusion that sites without planning permission were deliverable within five years and should therefore be included within the five year housing land supply;
  3. whether the whether the development plan was ‘out of date’ within the meaning of NPPF para. 14 even if there was a five year housing land supply;
  4. the adequacy of the ecological survey work undertaken;
  5. the landscape and visual impact of the development; and
  6. the sustainability of the site, housing land supply issues and whether the development plan was ‘out of date’ within the meaning of NPPF para. 14.

Charles Banner and Heather Sargent appeared for the Appellant, Knarsboro Homes Ltd, instructed by RPS Planning.

:

Inquiries

Southend Airport footpath inquiry

29/07/2014

Two day inquiry into the proposed diversion of Footpath 36, which currently runs across a taxiway at Southend Airport.

:

Inquiries

Newmarket retail inquiry

26/02/2014

Six day inquiry into the refusal by Forest Heath District Council of planning permission and listed building consent for a retail-led regeneration scheme on the edge of Newmarket town centre, including a 3716sqm ASDA food store, 4 retail units, a cafe and restaurant, an art gallery and the restoration of a complex of highly dilapidated listed buildings on the High Street frontage.

This was a six day inquiry into an appeal by Unex (No 3) Ltd against the refusal by Forest Heath District Council of planning permission and listed building consent for a retail-led regeneration scheme on the edge of Newmarket town centre, including a 3716sqm ASDA food store, 4 retail units, a cafe and restaurant, an art gallery and the restoration of a complex of highly dilapidated listed buildings on the High Street frontage.

The issues included:
1) whether the development would be in breach of development plan policies designed to safeguard the horse-racing industry in Newmarket, having regard to the site’s former use as a racehorse training establishment;

2) whether those policies were compliant with the NPPF, having regard to the judgment of Kenneth Parker J in Colman v SSCLG [2013] EWHC 1138 (Admin);

3) whether the impact of the development on the conservation area within which it would be located would be substantial or less than substantial, and whether the appropriate test in NPPF paras 133-134 to justify the degree of harm was satisfied; and

4) whether the scheme’s impact on the viability and vitality of the town centre would be beneficial by virtue of clawing back trade lost to out of centre locations (as alleged by the appellant) or harmful by virtue of its cumulative impact taken together with recently consented out of centre retail schemes proposed by Tesco and Morrisons (as alleged by the Council).

Charles Banner and Heather Sargent appeared for the Appellant, instructed by Savills and The Unex Group.

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