John Hobson QC

Call: 1980Silk: 2000
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Practice Summary

John’s principal areas of practice are in the fields of planning, environmental, compulsory purchase and highway law, together with a broad range of local government and public law cases.

He appears in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, as well as public inquiries throughout the country, representing a wide variety of clients including developers, local and other public authorities. He is also a Special Adviser to the House of Commons Select Committee reviewing Northern Irish planning law. Prior to coming to the Bar John worked as a Solicitor in private practice.

John’s recent cases include:

  • Acting successfully for a Local Authority in a challenge to quash part of Lewes Joint Core Strategy;
  • Represented Lincolnshire County Council in the Court of Appeal regarding a judicial review of quashed planning permission for the Grantham Relief Road;
  • Representing the Mayor of London at the Shard of Glass and Heron Tower inquiries, and at an inquiry into proposals for the ram Brewery site in Wandsworth;
  • Promoting compulsory purchase orders for Birmingham City Council to secure the regeneration of New Street Station and Paradise Circus, Birmingham;
  • Acting on behalf of Claimants seeking compensation claims in the Upper Tribunal arising from the Olympic Games CPO, including pursuing applications for Certificates of Appropriate Alternative Development;
  • Representing English Heritage on appeals in respect of proposals for a new visitor centre at Stonehenge;
  • Appearing on behalf of the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the House of Lords (Supreme Court) in a case concerning the scope of possession orders and injunctions against travellers occupying Forestry Commission land;
  • Appearing for Hampshire and Dorset County Councils in the Court of appeal in cases concerning village greens;
  • Acting on behalf of Nottingham City Council and Worcestershire County Council at inquiries concerning proposals for waste to energy incinerators;
  • Inquiries and litigation, including appearing in the House of Lords, in respect of proposals for the future of County Hall, London;
  • Parliamentary experience includes the Channel Tunnel Bill (both Houses), the Cross Rail Bill and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Bill;
  • John has also appeared at the T5, Stansted, London City and other airport inquiries.

John is ranked as a recommended leader by Chambers & Partners, 2017 in Planning law: “extensive experience of appearing on behalf of local government and the Mayor of London’s office in relation to significant planning cases.” He has previously been described in the directory as a “charming advocate” (2008), a “commanding presence in court… adept at winning over planning inspectors” (2009) and possessing “an extremely effective and client-friendly approach… [he has] a commanding presence [and] a manner that immediately secures peoples trust” (2010). In the Legal 500, 2017 he is a recommended leader for Planning law where he is noted as “highly experienced in judicial reviews”, and for Environment, “recommended for environmental impact assessment cases.”

Judicial Appointments
Recorder

Other Appointments
Hon Standing Counsel CPRE

Affiliations
PEBA
ALBA
Compulsory Purchase Association
Parliamentary Bar
Western Circuit
Irish Bar

Qualifications

  • St John’s College, Cambridge, LLM
  • Recorder
  • Former solicitor

Publications

Contributor: Halsbury’s Laws of England, 4th Ed Vol 29(1): Local Government

Joint author: Atkins Court Forms, 2nd Ed Vol 12(1): Commons

Contributor to “Law Reform for All”, Blackstone Press, 1996: “The Future of the Planning System”

Contributor to “Law Reform 2015”, Chapter 12: “Planning Law and House Building”

Inquiries

Inquiries

Planning appeal in Durham dismissed: absence of a five year supply of housing land outweighed by significant harm to undesignated landscape

25/07/2016

Planning appeal in Durham dismissed: absence of a five year supply of housing land outweighed by significant harm to undesignated landscape

An Inspector has dismissed an appeal (appeal number – APP/X1355/W/15/3135895) in respect of a proposal for residential development of 149 houses with associated access and landscaping at Lanchester, County Durham.

The Inspector concluded that Durham County Council was unable to demonstrate a five year supply of housing land, accordingly the relevant policies in the Local Plan were to be considered as out of date for the purposes of paragraph 49 of the NPPF. However she also held that the proposed development would result in significant harm to the character of the landscape and some harm to visual amenity. The Inspector noted that the site was not subject to any statutory or locally designated landscape or ecological constraints, or of heritage value but nevertheless accepted that the site was of value to the local community.

In striking the overall planning balance the Inspector concluded:

“157. The lack of a five year supply of housing land does not automatically lead to the grant of planning permission. In this case the adverse impact of granting permission that I have identified would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits when assessed against the policies of the Framework when taken as a whole. Overall the proposal would not represent sustainable development.

158. Whilst the policies breached are out of date the proposal would nevertheless be contrary to the development plan and this conflict would not be outweighed by other material considerations including the provisions of the Framework and paragraph 14 in particular”

Please click here for the appeal decision letter.

John Hobson QC represented Durham County Council.

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Inquiries

Paradise Circus CPO, Birmingham

01/12/2013

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Inquiries

Ranger inquiry under s. 18 Land Compensation Act

01/10/2012

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Inquiries

2nd Rooff inquiry under s. 18 Land Compensation Act

01/05/2012

:

Inquiries

Waste to Energy Incinerator, Hartlebury, Worcestershire

01/12/2011

:

Inquiries

Road stopping up orders for new Visitor Centre, Stonehenge

01/10/2011

:

Inquiries

Established Use Certificate re Swansea Docks

01/11/2010

:

Inquiries

CPO for Thames Gateway Development Corporation, Barking Riverside

01/09/2010

:

Inquiries

Ram Brewery, Wandsworth

01/12/2009

:

Inquiries

New Street Station CPO, Birmingham

01/02/2009

:

Inquiries

1st Rooff inquiry under s. 18 Land Compensation Act

01/01/2009

:

Inquiries

Waste to Energy Incinerator, Nottingham

01/09/2008

:

Inquiries

Desalination Plant at Beckton

01/05/2008

:

Inquiries

Appeal re Pelican Wharf, Bromley-by-Bow

01/07/2007

:

Inquiries

Silvertown Way CPO, Thames Gateway

01/01/2007

:

Inquiries

Stonehenge Visitor Centre Inquiry

05/12/2006

John Hobson QC appeared for English Heritage at this two week inquiry concerning the controversial proposal for a new visitor centre at Stonehenge. English Heritage’s application was to remove the intrusive road traffic and the existing unsightly visitor facilities to a new location enabling the Stones to be visited and appreciated in a restored open down land setting. The proposal included a vastly improved visitor experience in a building that had won several design awards and a ‘land train’ to facilitate visitor access to different parts of the World Heritage Site, including the Stones. Objections came from local residents, interest groups and societies including the Stonehenge Alliance. The objections focused on the use of a ‘land train’ to facilitate access to the World Heritage site. The appeal has been called in by the Secretary of State and is likely to be considered in conjunction with the proposal by the Highways Agency to tunnel the part of the A303 that runs alongside Stonehenge.

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Inquiries

Swanswell CPO, Coventry

01/07/2006

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Inquiries

Chequers Corner CPO

28/09/2004

Planning inquiry. John Hobson QC represented the London Development Agency.

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Inquiries

A3 Hindhead: Devils Punch Bowl

07/09/2004

Planning inquiry. John Hobson QC represented the National Trust.

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Inquiries

New Secondary School, Worcester

18/05/2004

Planning inquiry. John Hobson QC represented Worcestershire County Council.

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Inquiries

Bathside Bay Container Terminal

20/04/2004

Planning inquiry

:

Inquiries

London Bridge Tower: “Shard of Glass”

15/04/2003

Planning inquiry

:

Inquiries

London Bridge Tower: “Shard of Glass”

15/04/2003

Planning inquiry

:

Inquiries

London Gateway Shellhaven Container Terminal

25/02/2003

Planning inquiry

:

Inquiries

London Gateway Shellhaven Container Terminal

25/02/2003

Planning inquiry

:

Inquiries

Dibden Bay Inquiry

27/11/2002

Planning inquiry. Represented Southampton City Council.

:

Inquiries

Kidderminster Incinerator Inquiry

19/02/2002

Planning inquiry

:

Inquiries

Ropetackle CPO

28/11/2001

Planning inquiry. Represented South East of England Development Agency.

:

Inquiries

Heron Tower Inquiry

23/10/2001

Planning inquiry. Represented Mayor of London.

:

Inquiries

Thameslink 2000

26/09/2001

Planning inquiry

:

Inquiries

Lord Mayor Treloar Hospital

01/02/2000

Planning inquiry

:

Inquiries

Heathrow T5

06/03/1995

Planning inquiry. Represented Berkshire and Buckinghamshire County Councils.

:

Inquiries

Planning appeal in Durham dismissed: absence of a five year supply of housing land outweighed by significant harm to undesignated landscape

25/07/2016

Planning appeal in Durham dismissed: absence of a five year supply of housing land outweighed by significant harm to undesignated landscape

An Inspector has dismissed an appeal (appeal number – APP/X1355/W/15/3135895) in respect of a proposal for residential development of 149 houses with associated access and landscaping at Lanchester, County Durham.

The Inspector concluded that Durham County Council was unable to demonstrate a five year supply of housing land, accordingly the relevant policies in the Local Plan were to be considered as out of date for the purposes of paragraph 49 of the NPPF. However she also held that the proposed development would result in significant harm to the character of the landscape and some harm to visual amenity. The Inspector noted that the site was not subject to any statutory or locally designated landscape or ecological constraints, or of heritage value but nevertheless accepted that the site was of value to the local community.

In striking the overall planning balance the Inspector concluded:

“157. The lack of a five year supply of housing land does not automatically lead to the grant of planning permission. In this case the adverse impact of granting permission that I have identified would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits when assessed against the policies of the Framework when taken as a whole. Overall the proposal would not represent sustainable development.

158. Whilst the policies breached are out of date the proposal would nevertheless be contrary to the development plan and this conflict would not be outweighed by other material considerations including the provisions of the Framework and paragraph 14 in particular”

Please click here for the appeal decision letter.

John Hobson QC represented Durham County Council.

:

Inquiries

Paradise Circus CPO, Birmingham

01/12/2013

:

Inquiries

Ranger inquiry under s. 18 Land Compensation Act

01/10/2012

:

Inquiries

2nd Rooff inquiry under s. 18 Land Compensation Act

01/05/2012

:

Inquiries

Waste to Energy Incinerator, Hartlebury, Worcestershire

01/12/2011

:

Inquiries

Road stopping up orders for new Visitor Centre, Stonehenge

01/10/2011

:

Inquiries

Established Use Certificate re Swansea Docks

01/11/2010

:

Inquiries

CPO for Thames Gateway Development Corporation, Barking Riverside

01/09/2010

:

Inquiries

Ram Brewery, Wandsworth

01/12/2009

:

Inquiries

New Street Station CPO, Birmingham

01/02/2009

:

Inquiries

1st Rooff inquiry under s. 18 Land Compensation Act

01/01/2009

:

Inquiries

Waste to Energy Incinerator, Nottingham

01/09/2008

:

Inquiries

Desalination Plant at Beckton

01/05/2008

:

Inquiries

Appeal re Pelican Wharf, Bromley-by-Bow

01/07/2007

:

Inquiries

Silvertown Way CPO, Thames Gateway

01/01/2007

:

Inquiries

Stonehenge Visitor Centre Inquiry

05/12/2006

John Hobson QC appeared for English Heritage at this two week inquiry concerning the controversial proposal for a new visitor centre at Stonehenge. English Heritage’s application was to remove the intrusive road traffic and the existing unsightly visitor facilities to a new location enabling the Stones to be visited and appreciated in a restored open down land setting. The proposal included a vastly improved visitor experience in a building that had won several design awards and a ‘land train’ to facilitate visitor access to different parts of the World Heritage Site, including the Stones. Objections came from local residents, interest groups and societies including the Stonehenge Alliance. The objections focused on the use of a ‘land train’ to facilitate access to the World Heritage site. The appeal has been called in by the Secretary of State and is likely to be considered in conjunction with the proposal by the Highways Agency to tunnel the part of the A303 that runs alongside Stonehenge.

:

Inquiries

Swanswell CPO, Coventry

01/07/2006

:

Inquiries

Chequers Corner CPO

28/09/2004

Planning inquiry. John Hobson QC represented the London Development Agency.

:

Inquiries

A3 Hindhead: Devils Punch Bowl

07/09/2004

Planning inquiry. John Hobson QC represented the National Trust.

:

Inquiries

New Secondary School, Worcester

18/05/2004

Planning inquiry. John Hobson QC represented Worcestershire County Council.

:

Inquiries

Bathside Bay Container Terminal

20/04/2004

Planning inquiry

:

Inquiries

London Bridge Tower: “Shard of Glass”

15/04/2003

Planning inquiry

:

Inquiries

London Bridge Tower: “Shard of Glass”

15/04/2003

Planning inquiry

:

Inquiries

London Gateway Shellhaven Container Terminal

25/02/2003

Planning inquiry

:

Inquiries

London Gateway Shellhaven Container Terminal

25/02/2003

Planning inquiry

:

Inquiries

Dibden Bay Inquiry

27/11/2002

Planning inquiry. Represented Southampton City Council.

:

Inquiries

Kidderminster Incinerator Inquiry

19/02/2002

Planning inquiry

:

Inquiries

Ropetackle CPO

28/11/2001

Planning inquiry. Represented South East of England Development Agency.

:

Inquiries

Heron Tower Inquiry

23/10/2001

Planning inquiry. Represented Mayor of London.

:

Inquiries

Thameslink 2000

26/09/2001

Planning inquiry

:

Inquiries

Lord Mayor Treloar Hospital

01/02/2000

Planning inquiry

:

Inquiries

Heathrow T5

06/03/1995

Planning inquiry. Represented Berkshire and Buckinghamshire County Councils.

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