Richard was called to the Bar in 2007 and specialises in planning, environmental and public law. He has a broad court, inquiry and advisory practice and a wide client base, including major developers and landowners, central Government, local authorities, NGOs, and individuals. His experience as an advocate spans every level of court and tribunal – from the magistrates’ to the Supreme Court. He is a member of the Attorney General’s “A” Panel of Counsel.
He is consistently ranked as a top junior in planning and environmental law in the directories.
In Chambers & Partners 2020, praise included:
- “A fantastic advocate, very user-friendly, commercial and always gets the answer right.”
- “He is agile on his feet and will read the direction of travel in the court and adjust accordingly.”
- “He is unbelievably sharp and switched-on, and a consistent top performer on or off his feet in any forum.”
In 2019 and 2020, Planning Magazine ranked him as the top planning junior at the Bar, being described by one solicitor as “one of the best advocates of his generation”.
In June 2021 Richard was appointed to the council of UKELA.
Planning and Environment
Richard has a “great reputation for his regular court and inquiry appearances tackling statutory challenges, judicial reviews and criminal or environmentally implicated planning cases” (Chambers & Partners).
He has an extensive advisory practice, and covers all types of development from the very largest infrastructure schemes to the smallest household developments. For five years he was ranked in the top 5 juniors under 35 years old in Planning Magazine, and is now ranked as the no 1 planning juniors at the Bar.
Richard’s infrastructure work spans all sectors including energy, transport and water. The directories have described Richard as “an infrastructure specialist who attracts significant praise from market sources”and “well versed in infrastructure matters relating to a wide variety of sectors”.
From 2012 to 2016, Richard was instructed by the Department of Transport as part of the team of Counsel (led by Tim Mould QC) to promote Phase 1 of High Speed 2 through a hybrid Bill. This work included:
- Defending the decision to promote HS2 in the Supreme Court;
- Advising on the environmental assessment of the scheme;
- Advising on overall strategy, environmental policies (including noise policies) and land acquisition;
- Supporting negotiations with petitioners;
- Appearing on numerous occasions for the Promoter in the Select Committees in the House of Commons and House of Lords.
He has been involved in the NSIP regime under the Planning Act 2008 regime since its inception:
- Acting for National Grid on its North Wales Connection project;
- Promoting Fieldes Lock power station DCO for Veolia Environmental Services (UK) plc (subsequently withdrawn);
- Advising on the implications of the Rookery South DCO for waste procurement processes;
- Acting for the claimant in the first legal challenge to a DCO (Heysham to M6 link road);
- Appearing for the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and for St James Group Limited at the Thames Tideway Tunnel DCO examinations;
- Appearing for Natural England at the Burbo Bank Extension offshore windfarm DCO examination;
- Editing the Planning Encylopedia’s commentary on the Planning Act 2008.
Richard has recently been engaged by Network Rail to promote two Transport and Works Act Orders relating to the closure of level crossings in East Anglia. Other infrastructure work includes acting for objectors to a Water Resources Management Plan, and appearing in the High Court in legal challenges to infrastructure consents, such as Buckinghamshire County Council’s Energy from Waste facility (led by David Elvin QC), and London City Airport (led by Simon Pickles).
Regeneration and CPO
Richard has advised on some of the largest London regeneration schemes in recent years.
Notably, he acted for the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham on the Earls Court regeneration scheme (led by Russell Harris QC) which is expected to deliver around 7,500 new homes. Since 2013, Richard has been acting for the London Borough of Croydon on the £1.4bn Whitgift Centre redevelopment (led by David Elvin QC), including promoting a CPO (through joint instructions from Westfield and Hammerson) for the acquisition of the existing shopping centre.
Richard has advised on a number of estate regeneration schemes throughout London. He also regularly advises on CPO implementation and on land compensation matters.
Richard has a growing developer practice (inquiry, High Court and advisory), including recently:
- Acting for the promoters of Dunsfold Park, a 1,800+ home new village in Surrey (led by Christopher Katkowski QC);
- Obtaining permission following an Inquiry for 90 homes in an ancient woodland clearing in Kent;
- Defending in the High Court the grants of planning permission for a large residential-led scheme in Marylebone, and an affordable housing scheme in Cornwall;
- Advising Thakeham Homes on their 600 house scheme within an AONB at Pease Pottage (with David Elvin QC);
- Acting for a large number of clients on office to residential conversion schemes.
Richard advised DCLG on the early implementation of the NPPF by Inspectors and has acted for the Secretary of State and other parties on several challenges to the interpretation of national policy relating to housing delivery. In recent years he has worked extensively on matters relating to affordable housing viability and delivery.
Richard acts for local planning authorities and local residents seeking to influence development in their area and regularly appears at housing inquiries for LPAs and rule 6 parties. His residential practice also includes acting for homeowners developing their own properties (including through permitted development rights).
Commercial and community
Richard has acted for the developers of various retail and commercial developments, including promoting a “local centre” in Nottinghamshire and acting on retail-led CPOs in Derbyshire, Sunderland and Croydon.
He acted for the Nishkam School Trust in defending their planning permission for a new faith-based Free School in Hounslow. He has acted for hotel operators, restauranteurs and publicans. He has appeared in a number of cases relating to the redevelopment of public houses, and in particular the designation of such premises as Assets of Community Value under the Localism Act 2011.
Richard’s practice is underpinned by a strong understanding of environmental law and practice. As well as advising on EIA and habitats implications of major schemes, he has appeared in the High Court and appellate courts on numerous environmental challenges. Notable work includes:
- Quashing the grant of planning permission for 500 homes in Oxfordshire on EIA grounds;
- Quashing the grant of planning permission for residential development in the setting of a Grade 1 listed castle;
- Resisting at a public inquiry on heritage grounds the construction of a large solar farm;
- Challenging the implementation of Defra’s Badger Cull on behalf of the Humane Society International. Richard is currently acting on two further challenges to badger culling in England.
His environmental advisory work has included acting for waste operators, owners of contaminated land, and victims of nuisance, covering both public and private law remedies.
Planning and environmental enforcement
Richard has appeared at over 40 enforcement inquiries and hearings and in some of the leading enforcement cases in the High Court in recent years.
His enforcement caseload has varied from minor householder developments, to digital advertising boards, to large industrial buildings. He has acted for local authorities, landowners and neighbours. He has obtained and resisted injunctions and defended and prosecuted planning and environmental cases in the Crown Court and magistrates’ court, including recovery of the proceeds of crime. His enforcement work has included numerous listed building/heritage matters.
Richard has particular experience of noise related enforcement matters, and recently appeared for the successful appellants in a high profile appeal against a noise abatement notice relating to piano practice in a house in central London. He has also recently acted for local authorities and a major restaurant operator on noise nuisance matters.
Richard regularly acts for the Environment Agency in waste and pollution enforcement matters, including appearing at inquiries concerning the definition of waste and implementation of the Water Framework Directive.
Section 106 and CIL
Richard advises on the drafting and enforcement of s 106 agreements and on CIL liabilities. He has particular experience of affordable housing obligations and viability issues. He acted for the landowners in Medway v SSCLG, the first reported case on s 106BA TCPA 1990, and successfully defended the removal of their obligation to pay a commuted sum of over £1m. He is acting for the local planning authority in a claim for the recovery of over £500,000 in unpaid affordable housing contributions, first in the Chancery Division and now in the Court of Appeal.
Richard appears in the tribunals and the High Court and appellate courts in social security matters, for the DWP and for claimants and others:
- He acted for the Child Poverty Action Group (led by Richard Drabble QC) in House of Lords in Zalewska, concerning the issue of social security entitlements for EU accession state workers;
- He appeared in the Court of Appeal and CJEU on the interpretations of the Citizenship Directive in Lassal (led by Richard Drabble QC);
- He appeared in the Supreme Court on the recovery of social security overpayments in CPAG (led by Richard Drabble QC).
Healthcare and regulatory
Richard acted for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service in its claim for a declaration in respect of the proper interpretation of the Abortion Act 1967 (led by Nathalie Lieven QC). In professional regulatory matters, he has acted in judicial review proceedings for the General Dental Council and against the General Pharmaceutical Council, including obtaining urgent relief to prevent the closure of a pharmacy.
Richard regularly acts for both claimants and the Secretary of State in immigration matters in the First Tier Tribunal, Upper Tribunal and High Court
Other public law
Other public law work has included:
- Acting for the applicant in RP v United Kingdom  1 F.L.R. 744, concerning the role of the Official Solicitor in care proceedings (led by Nathalie Lieven QC);
- Successfully challenging (by way of judicial review) funding decisions by the Legal Services Commission;
- Appearing before a Private Bill Committee in the House of Commons for the Kennel Club in petitioning against the City of London Corporation (Open Spaces) Bill and obtaining an amendment to the Bill relating to freedom of information;
- Acting for TfL and other public authorities in striking out private law proceedings relating to regulatory functions;
- Advising on negligence actions against public authorities relating to planning and environmental decisions;
- Obtaining an extended civil restraint order on behalf of a local authority against a vexatious litigant and striking out proceedings against other public authorities by another vexatious litigant;
- Appearing in information rights appeals in the First-tier Tribunal;
- Regulatory prosecutions in the criminal courts (e.g. under HMO licensing legislation);
- Advising government departments and local authorities on a wide range of issues including public procurement, FOI, council tax, constitutional matters and members’ conduct.
Richard’s property work relates closely to his planning and environmental practice and includes:
- Proceedings in respect of nuisance and trespass arising out of the development of land;
- Disputes in respect of s106 agreements;
- Rights of light and restrictive covenants;
- Public sector land transactions;
- Disputes arising out of development or overage agreements where planning issues arise.
Richard recently acted for the claimant local planning authority in four day Chancery Division trial arising out of the failure of a developer to pay affordable housing commuted sums (led by Neil King QC): York City Council v Trinity One (Leeds) Ltd  EWHC 318 (Ch).
Richard also has experience of general property litigation in the county courts.
Richard has acted for both ratepayers and the Valuation Officer in ratings cases, often in respect of complex hereditaments. He appeared for ratepayer in the Upper Tribunal in Esso Petroleum v Walker (VO) (led by Neil King QC) and has advised the HMRC on appeals relating to Harrods (led by Daniel Kolinsky QC), Tata Steel (led by Daniel Kolinsky QC) and Anglian Water (led by Tim Morshead QC). He has appeared for ratepayers in the magistrates’ courts and Valuation Tribunal.
Richard advises public authorities and operators on all aspects of public procurement law. His particular specialism relates to procurement in the context of infrastructure and the development of land by public authorities. As a member of the Attorney General’s A Panel, he regularly advises central government on procurement issues. Recent experience includes:
- advising DCMS on procurement issues in the telecoms sector;
- advising a central government department on contractual issues arising from a high profile procurement process for provision of services;
- advising on local authorities on procurement and State Aid issues from compulsory purchase and planning processes for town centre and estate regeneration schemes;
- advising on a proposed challenge to a procurement process in the education sector.
Richard is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators having obtained a qualification in International Arbitration.
Having previously taught public law as a tutor and lecturer Cambridge, SOAS and UCL, Richard now regularly gives lectures and training in all areas of his practice.
Prior to joining the Bar, Richard worked as a research assistant at the Law Commission during which time he worked on projects relating to the reform of the Housing Acts and the regulation of residential landlords, as well as monetary remedies in public law.
Richard is a member of the Planning and Environment Bar Association, the Administrative Law Bar Association, the National Infrastructure Planning Association and the United Kingdom Environmental Law Association.
“Calm, efficient and good at explaining complex concepts, he can also put difficult cases with force, tirelessly supporting his clients.” Legal 500, 2022 – Environment
“QC eminence is now surely imminent. A joy to work with and his cross-examination style and his written advice in major cases has been exceptional.” Legal 500, 2022 – Planning
“Richard is very bold and incisive in his advice and extremely good on his feet.” “He is extremely good at getting to the heart of the issue and putting the client at ease.” “He has the presence and gravitas of a silk.” Chambers & Partners, 2022 – Planning
“An experienced advocate.” “He is a team player who takes the initiative.” Chambers & Partners, 2021 – Environment
“His broad-level strategic advice is completely sound and he’s pragmatic.” “He is super efficient and organised, and he has a very nice manner with clients.” Chambers & Partners, 2021 – Planning
- 13/10/2018Lordswood Urban Extension, Maidstone
- 22/09/2018Bakersfield, Rainham
- 18/07/2018Dunsfold Park
- 28/11/2017Network Rail (Cambridgeshire Level Crossing Reduction) Order
- 25/10/2017Bedmond Lane Field
- 29/06/2017Waverley Local Plan
- 25/04/2017Astley Sand and Aggregates v EA
- 14/03/2017Folders Lane, Burgess Hill
- 20/12/2016Funton Brickworks, Sittingbourne
- 18/11/2016Maidstone Borough Local Plan Examination (for landowner objector)
- 25/10/2016Hill Place Farm, East Grinstead
- 04/10/2016Trinity House, Bristol
- 23/02/2016Papplewick Lane, Hucknall
- 16/09/2015Beech Cottage, Odiham
- 17/03/2015Cranbourne Close, Slough
- 05/02/2015Whitgift Centre CPO
- 03/11/2014Horsham Local Plan Examination
- 19/08/2014Haine Road, Ramsgate
- 24/06/2014Chesham Arms, Hackney
- 03/06/2014Boon v Environment Agency
- 20/05/2014Luddington Golf v Environmental Agency
- 08/04/2014Snare and Trap Public House, South Molton
- 05/03/2014Buttercrock Wharf, Hoo St Werburgh
- 20/02/2014Stonehill Piggery, Dunstall Green
- 19/11/2013Burbo Bank Extension Offshore Windfarm DCO
- 25/09/2013Hacheston, Suffolk
- 19/09/20131-13 Park Street, Borough Market
- 12/09/2013Thames Tideway Tunnel DCO examination
- 13/07/2013Blackheath Cottage, Guidford
- 25/06/2013Stapleford Farm, Dorset
- 22/05/2013Medway Core Strategy Examination
- 14/05/2013Sydenham Scrap Metals, Burnham Way, Lower Sydenham
- 16/04/2013Windsor Drive, High Wycombe
- 26/03/2013Spring Farm Barn, Waltham Cross
- 05/02/2013Hayes Wood Avenue, Bromley
- 27/11/2012Manor Park Farm, Buckingham
- 20/11/2012Merlin Park, Portishead
- 08/11/20121 Whites Cottages, Bromley
- 10/10/2012Whitchurch, Buckinghamshire
- 10/07/2012Tin Pot Public House, Hertfordshire
- 27/06/2012Little Beach Farm, Wadhurst
- 29/05/2012Tottenham Lane, Crouch End
- 17/05/2012Horsham Road, Petworth
- 07/03/2012The Drive, Ickenham
- 21/02/2012Gloucester Place, Westminster
- 08/02/2012St Mary’s Place, Kensington
- 07/02/2012Great Linch, Milton Keynes
- 10/01/2012Chelsfield Ammunition Depot
- 05/01/2012Winterhead, Winscombe
- 06/12/2011Floriston Avenue, Hillingdon
- 15/11/2011Hertfordshire Waste Core Strategy Examination
- 04/10/2011Sunderland Retail Park CPO
- 02/08/2011The Haybarn, South Allington
- 24/05/2011Trevelyan Avenue, Newham
- 17/05/2011Stonehenge Camping and Caravan Site
- 04/05/2011Colegrave Road, Newham
- 19/04/2011Pacific Wharf, Southwark
- 12/04/2011Conyer Brickworks
- 30/03/2011Wellington Road, East Ham
- 18/01/2011Royal Victoria Square, Western Gateway
- 22/07/2010High Street North, Newham
- 29/06/2010Gainsborough Avenue
- 05/01/2010Holborn Road, Plaistow
- 24/11/2009Little Ilford Lane, Manor Park
- 18/11/2009Bennett Road, Plaistow
- 18/08/2009Bartle Avenue, East Ham
- 18/08/2009Bartle Avenue, East Ham
- 04/08/2009Glenparke Road, Forest Gate
- 27/05/2009Third Avenue, Manor Park
- 17/03/2009Hanworth Road, Hounslow
- 12/03/2009Station Road, Newham
- 10/03/2009Basildene Road, Hounslow
- 03/03/2009Wanlip Road, Newham
- 19/02/2009Rectory Road, Manor Park
- 04/02/2009Caledon Road, Manor Park
Call-in inquiry in respect of proposal for 1,800 home new village on a former airfield in Surrey (led by Christopher Katkowski QC).
Articles and Presentations
- Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill – Planning Overview and Key Practical Implications – webinar
- Planning Act 2008 challenges: the last year
- Part 1 – Planning High Court Challenges – webinar series
- Biodiversity net gain in the Environment Bill
- Environmental Law Conference 2021 – webinar
- Habitats and Net Gain
- What’s new in infrastructure development? – webinar
- Tall buildings in national policy and the approach of the Secretary of State
- Tall Buildings in London – where next? – webinar
- Habitats case law: review of the year
- Planning High Court Challenges Annual Conference, Part 1 – webinar
- Permitted Development – Webinar
- Justifying the acquisition of land: the promoter’s perspective
- Delivering Major Infrastructure: Part 2 – Justifying the land acquisition strategy – Webinar
- Biodiversity Net Gain and the Environment Bill
- Current Issues in Environmental Law Part 4: The Environment Bill, biodiversity net gain and nature conservation – Webinar
- Finney v Welsh Ministers – Webinar
- Where Does Finney Leave Us?
- Planning in the COVID-19 Crisis – Webinar
- Planning Court And COVID-19
- EIA And SEA Update
- Development Plans Current Legal Issues
- The Airports NPS Litigation Lessons To Be Learned
- The Role Of LPAs Local Impact Reports, Participation In Examinations, Etc.
- EIR case-law update
- Recent Environmental Information Cases In The Tribunals
- Biodiversity and the Revised NPPF
- Judging housing land supply
- Planning for Water Supply
- Planning for Infrastructure after Brexit
- Appearing before the Select Committee
- Local authority land disposals: Key issues
- What is ‘the scheme’? Section 6D Land Compensation Act 1961
- Appearing before the Select Committee
- Estate Renewal in London
- The New Aarhus Costs Rules: Financial Disclosure Requirements
- Unoccupied Properties
- Discretionary Compensation Schemes
- Empty Properties
- Compulsory Acquisition
- Judicial Review: An Introduction
- Making Best Use of Compulsory Purchase Powers
- Planning Act 2008: High Court challenges
- NHS Consultation Duties
- NHS Consultation Duties: Lawful consultation
- SEA and Habitats case law update
- Fracking and NPPF
- Legitimate Expectation, Consultation and Fairness
- Article 8 and Deportation
- Neighbourhood Development Orders and the Community Right to Build
- High Court Planning Challenges – Procedure & Costs
- Costs in Environmental & Planning Cases after Garner – Recent Developments
- Judicial Review – Costs in Judicial Review
- Recent Developments in Waste Law – The Meaning of Waste
- Working Successfully with the IPC process – EIA and Infrastructure Projects
- High Court Planning Challenges – EIA and Habitat Update
- A Practical Guide to Enforcing the Mortgage’s Security – Defences to Mortgage Possession Claims
- Climate Change and the Law – Climate Change Act 2008 – What does it mean in practice?
- Defences to Mortage Possession Claims
- The Climate Change Act 2008: What Does it Mean in Practice?
- Possible Legal Issue Arising under the Regulatory and Enforcement Sanctions Act 2008
- Environmental Impact Assessments and Protected Habitats
Call-in inquiry in respect of proposal for 1,800 home new village on a former airfield in Surrey (led by Christopher Katkowski QC).