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Robert Walton QC

Call: 1999Silk: 2019
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Practice Summary

Robert Walton QC was called in 1999 and took silk in 2019. He has an extensive practice in all aspects of planning, public, environmental and compulsory purchase and compensation law. He undertakes work for private clients, central and local government, public bodies, private objectors and interest groups.

Planning

Robert’s planning work focuses on advising clients in preparation for, and appearing at public inquiries, hearings and in the higher courts. He also advises clients on all aspects of planning law, including policy formulation, development control and enforcement. For further information on Robert’s planning work and examples of recent cases click on the link to the right.

Public Law

Robert has a wide ranging public law practice including all aspects of judicial review / statutory challenges, challenging and defending decisions of central and local government as well as other bodies whose decisions are amenable to challenge in the courts. Click on the link on the right for further information and examples of recent cases.

Environment

Robert’s environmental work covers all aspects of environmental law, including regulatory and enforcement work. For further information and examples of recent cases click on the link on the right.

Compulsory Purchase and Compensation

Robert’s compulsory purchase work centres on advising and representing acquiring authorities in respect of the making and securing of compulsory purchase orders. He also advises and acts for objectors. Robert specialises in compensation work, both for compensating authorities and claimants. For further information and examples of recent cases click on the link on the right.

View Robert’s profile on our International site

Policy formulation

Current and recent caseload includes:

  • Advice / promotion through EiP in respect of Core Strategies / DPDs: Eastbourne; Hastings; West Berkshire; Wokingham; North Yorkshire; South Oxfordshire; Hastings, Harrogate.

Promotion of development schemes

  • Aviation: promoting 2nd runway at Gatwick Airport;
  • Employment: Paddington Cube (Sellar Property Group), Severnside (Severnside Distribution Land Limited), Cuerden Strategic Site (Eric Wright Group), 500 White Hart Lane (Tottenham Hotspur), Welton Bibby (Midsomer Norton Retail Estates Ltd); Finsbury Tower, (Finsbury Tower Estates Ltd) Great Malborough Street (Hendersons);
  • Energy from Waste: new plants at Shrewsbury, Cardiff and Bristol; Integrated Waste Recycling Facility, Padworth;
  • Heritage: Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site;Spitalfields regeneration; USAF Upper Heyford; the Gherkin; Waterloo regeneration; Elephant and Castle regeneration; residential development in Bath City Centre;
  • Housing: Nationwide open market and affordable housing schemes, currently promoting 1,000 unit mixed used scheme in London, other recent examples include: Mount Pleasant, London; Braintree, Essex; Stroud, Gloucestershire; Harrogate, North Yorks; Clutton, Bath and North East Somerset; Godalming, Surrey; Exmouth, Devon; King’s Road, London; Berkhamstead; Promotion of strategic housing allocations: Berkhamsted (35 hectare urban extension site); Cole Green (proposed urban extension to Welwyn Garden City); Exmouth (350 dwellings, 1.5ha employment land); Brandon; Axminster; Liphook; Petersfield;
  • Paragraph 55 houses: Waverley, Cornwall.
  • Hydrocarbons / Oil: West Sussex, Derbyshire
  • Incineration: Addenbrookes Hospital;
  • Mining: CoalThoresbury Colliery (UK Coal); Portland Stone: (Portland); Potash (North Yorks, £1.7bn mine);
  • Transport Infrastructure: Metrolink Manchester (Trafford Line extension, TWA application); Trolleybus scheme, Leeds (TWA application);
  • Retail: retail outlet centres Scotch Corner; J27 M5; retail: Blossom Street London (British Land), Eden Walk Richmond (British Land);
  • Stadiums: Tottenham, Arsenal
  • Tourist destination facilities: Eden Westwood J27, M5
  • Wind farms: North Norfolk (off shore), Powys (on shore)

Enforcement

  • Enforcement notice / stop notices in respect of: change of use from retail to residential; cessation of scrap yard use; removal of island from a lake; demolition of “Class E” outhouse; alteration of dwellinghouse roof; cessation of restaurant use; removal of marquee; removal of stables; removal of houseboat; demolition of residential extension; cessation of residential use; cessation of garden use; removal of static caravans; cessation of equestrian use; and demolition of house.
  • Injunctions: R (Cherkley Campaign Ltd) v Mole Valley DC [2014] EWCA Civ 567; Trillium v Tower Hamlets LBC [2011] EWHC 560 (Admin); West Sussex County Council v Lawson Hunt Developments Ltd [2011] Claim no: HC10CO1901;
  • Revocation / modification orders: e.g. Portland Stone Firms Ltd v Dorset County Council [2015].

Environment

Current and recent examples of environmental work:

  • Advising Utilities Company in relation to claim for minerals compensation pursuant to Schedule 14 of the Water Industry Act 1991
  • Compulsory Purchase under the Water Industry Act 1991
  • Energy from waste incinerator at Addenbrookes Hospital
  • Enforcement action by Council, in conjunction with Environment Agency, in respect of industrial use of greenfield site in Wokingham
  • Habitats: Gatwick Airport, Ashdown Forest SAC
  • Noise abatement proceedings in respect of the East London Line Extension; noise impact case in relation to summertime concerts at the Emirates Stadium, London
  • Pollution prevention proceedings in respect of sewage discharge from caravan park
  • Environment Agency proceedings in respect of Oak Processionary Moths
  • Building Act 1984 proceedings in respect of demolition of Billingham House, Middlesbrough
  • Minerals extraction: Guildford, Nottinghamshire, West Berkshire, Somerset
  • Waste schemes at Newbury, Shrewsbury, Bristol, Cardiff and Guildford
  • Wastewater Treatment Works, East Sussex.

Qualifications

Robert was awarded a major scholarship by Lincoln’s Inn before being called to the Bar in 1999. Prior to that he was a scholar at BPP Law School. He studied History and English Literature at Edinburgh University, being awarded an MA(Hons) in 1995.

Robert sits as a member of the Council of the Inns of Court’s Disciplinary Tribunal. He also sits as a member of the Inns Conduct Committee Panel.

Robert has been appointed by Lincoln’s Inn as an advocacy tutor for its compulsory advocacy courses for pupil barristers and new practitioners.

Robert has also been appointed as a case reviewer for the Bar Pro Bono unit.

Robert is a member of PEBA and the Compulsory Purchase Association.

Robert is the co-editor of Nationally Important Infrastructure Projects – Lexis Nexis Planning Law Service.

Recommendations

Robert is consistently rated as one the top barristers in the UK in the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners directories, the latest editions of which describe him as “an absolute class act who …just reads situations very well” and “thorough, articulate and brilliant at explaining complex legal situations. He has solid technical knowledge and good tactical ideas, and is also very approachable”.

Inquiries

Inquiries

Planning permission granted on appeal for C2 development in the Green Belt

17/07/2019

Castleoak Care Developments Ltd has secured planning permission on appeal for 110 C2 care apartments and bungalows in the Green Belt at Great Boughton Chester.  The Inspector concluded that in addition to the harm caused by the development’s inappropriateness the scheme would also have a substantial impact on the openness of the Green Belt and constitute encroachment into the countryside.  The Inspector also concluded that the scheme’s failure to deliver any affordable housing constituted a breach of the development plan.  The Inspector concluded however that the need for the scheme coupled with the lack of alternative sites to meet that need, including in settlements, amounted to the very special circumstances necessary to justify permission.

Appeal reference: App/A0665/W/18/3203413.

Robert Walton QC acted for Castleoak, instructed by David Phillips of Strutt & Parker. Robert’s other Green Belt cases include securing permission for residential-led mixed used development in the Guildford Green Belt and securing permission for the new £90m Heatherwood hospital in the Ascot Green Belt, together with the redevelopment of the former hospital site for 230 homes.

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Inquiries

Spurs regeneration scheme approved

28/06/2019

Tottenham Hotspur FC has secured planning permission on appeal for the residential-led mixed use regeneration on the former Goods Yard site on White Hart Lane, London.

The scheme will deliver up to 316 new homes. It was promoted on a hybrid basis, with “matters of layout, scale, appearance, landscaping and access within the site reserved for residential-led mixed-use redevelopment to comprise the demolition of existing buildings/structures and associated site clearance and erection of new buildings/structures and basement to provide residential units, employment (B1 Use), retail (A1 Use), leisure (A3 and D2 Uses) and community (D1 Use) uses, with associated access, parking (including basement parking) and servicing space, infrastructure, public realm works and ancillary development”. The scheme also included the change of use of No. 52 White Hart Lane (Station Master’s House) from C3 use to A3 use.

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Inquiries

Agri-tech inquiry opens

14/06/2019

The public inquiry into SmithsonHill Ltd’s proposals for a new Agri-tech park at Hinxton, nr Cambridge opened this week.  The scheme comprises the development of an AgriTech technology park comprising up to 112,000 sqm (gross) employment floorspace, supporting infrastructure, amenities and landscape works including publicly accessible informal open space, vehicle and cycle parking; service areas; bus / cycle interchange on land west of the A1301 / north of A505; and infrastructure works including bridge crossings over A1301 / A505 and the River Cam.

Details of the scheme can be found here: https://www.smithsonhill.co.uk/outline_planning_nov2017/

Neil King QC and Robert Walton QC are acting for SmithsonHill Ltd instructed by Terence O’Rourke Ltd.

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Inquiries

Spurs inquiry

15/05/2019

Public inquiry into major regeneration scheme proposed by Tottenham Hotspur FC on land it owns in the vicinity of its new stadium.  The scheme comprises a mixed use scheme comprising up to 316 new homes, including 35% affordable housing (increasing to 40% with grant), new employment, retail and leisure facilities on the former goods yard site immediately opposite White Hart Lane station.  Issues at the inquiry included viability, infrastructure contributions, urban design and heritage.

Robert Walton QC acted for Spurs, instructed by Richard Max & Co

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Inquiries

Harrogate Local Plan EIP

14/01/2019

Robert is acting for Harrogate Borough Council at the 5 week EIP opening on 15.1.19

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Inquiries

Major development scheme refused in AONB

22/11/2018

Suffolk Coastal District Council’s decision to refuse permission for a 43 unit in the Suffolk Coasts and Heaths AONB on the edge of Aldeburgh has been upheld on appeal.  Inspector Lesley Coffey upheld the Council’s argument that the scheme comprised major development for the purposes of NPPG [172], concluding that the scheme would have an unacceptably adverse impact on the AONB.  The Inspector also upheld the Council’s contention that it had a 5 year supply, before concluding overall that notwithstanding the need for affordable housing in the area there were no exceptional circumstances to justify the grant of permission.

Robert Walton acted for Suffolk Coastal DC.

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Inquiries

1350 new London homes – inquiry closes

11/10/2018

The public inquiry into the appeal by the Comer Homes Group into the London Borough of Barnet’s refusal of planning permission for the mixed use redevelopment of the North London Business Park is hearing closing submissions today. The scheme comprises a  hybrid planning application with the detailed element comprising 360 residential units in five blocks up to eight storeys, a 5 form entry secondary school, a gymnasium, a multi-use sports pitch and associated changing facilities, improvements to open space and transport infrastructure. The outline element comprises up to 990 additional residential units in buildings ranging from two to nine storeys, up to 5,177 sq.m. of non-residential floor space (use Classes A1-A4, B1 and D1) and 2.54 hectares of open space.

Comer Homes are represented by Christopher Katkowski QC and Robert Walton, instructed by Taylor Wessing LLP.

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Inquiries

AONB and Heritage Coast inquiry closes

20/09/2018

The 6 day public inquiry into proposals to build 43 new homes beyond the settlement limits of Aldeburgh, in the Suffolk Coasts and Heaths Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Suffolk Heritage Coast has closed.  Issues concern Appropriate Assessment, 5 year housing supply, landscape character and visual impact, locational sustainability and the sustainable growth of Aldeburgh in terms of the need for more open market and affordable housing.

Robert Walton acted for Suffolk Coastal District Council.

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Inquiries

Permission granted for contemporary scheme in Conservation Area

19/07/2018

Following a three day public inquiry, McCarthy & Stone has secured planning permission for the demolition of three houses and their replacement with two linked blocks containing 37 retirement living apartments in the Branksome Park Conservation Area in Poole.

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Inquiries

Metro Bank gets planning permission in Oxford

17/07/2018

Metro Bank has secured planning permission to change the use of the ground floor and basement of 4-5 Queen St, Oxford, from A1 (retail) to A2 (bank).

The permission comes after the Council had refused to certify that the change of use could take place under permitted development rights (Class D of Part 3) despite the unit having an active retail use in place pursuant to a mixed use permission issued by the Council, the Council notably contending that the new retail use had to be in place for a year before the use could be changed under PD rights.

Robert Walton advised Metro Bank, instructed by Guthrie McGruer at Blake Morgan.

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Inquiries

Poole retirement housing

20/06/2018

4 day public inquiry into retirement housing scheme in Poole, comprising demolition of 1950s properties in the Branksome Park conservation area and replacement with contemporary scheme comprising 38 units of retirement housing.  Acting for McCarthy & Stone, instructed by the Planning Bureau.

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Inquiries

Ryde School

16/05/2018

S.78 appeal into new boarding house for Ryde School.  Acted for the school, instructed by Martha James of Plan Research.

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Inquiries

World Heritage Site inquiry

19/04/2018

Proposed development adjacent to the Vaillant Factory in Belper, in Buffer Zone of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.

Robert Walton acted for Historic England, instructed by Beth Harries.

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Inquiries

Planning permission granted for major mixed use scheme

12/04/2018

MNRE (Midsomer Norton Retail Estate) S.A. has secured planning permission on appeal for the redevelopment of the former Welton Bibby factory site in Midsomer Norton, Somerset.  The outline permission authorises the redevelopment of the entire 5.1ha site, comprising the demolition of existing buildings and the mixed use redevelopment for employment (including light industrial/office B1 and B2 uses, A1, A3 and A4 retail uses including a convenience store and public house and A5/C1 uses including a hotel); institutional uses (C2 and D1) and residential uses (market and affordable C3 uses) including approximately 3,730 sqm of employment development and 200 housing units and associated car parking, landscaping and roads/links.

Robert Walton advised and appeared at the inquiry for MNRE, instructed by Nigel Whitehead at WPB (Bath) Ltd.

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Inquiries

Welton Bibby planning inquiry opens

20/03/2018

The public inquiry has opened into the proposed redevelopment of the former Welton Bibby factory site in Midsomer Norton, Somerset.  The scheme comprises the mixed use redevelopment of the 5 hectare site, including residential and employment uses.  

Robert Walton is acting for the developer, Midsomer Norton Retail Estates.

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Inquiries

Ripon Police Station inquiry

11/01/2018

s.78 appeal against LPA’s refusal of planning permission for redevelopment of Ripon Police Station.  Scheme refused by LPA on grounds of harm to neighbouring listed building and conservation area, design and amenities of future occupiers.

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Inquiries

Alfa Laval Tower inquiry

25/11/2017

s.78 appeal against LPA’s refusal of advertising consent for installation of a 200sqm illuminated advert on the western elevation of the redeveloped Alfa Laval tower, Hounslow.

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Inquiries

Planning permission granted on appeal for new student accommodation in Canterbury

22/09/2017

CSQ Ltd has secured planning permission on appeal for the development of 223 student studio units on the site of the former Dairy Crest building at 57-64 Military Road, Canterbury.  The new building, which will stand in the Canterbury (Clyde, Alma and Notley) Conservation Area and be seen in views of the Canterbury Cathedral World Heritage Site, had been refused by the City Council on heritage grounds.

Robert Walton advised CSQ Ltd throughout the appeal process, instructed by Mishcon de Reya LLP.

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Inquiries

McCarthy & Stone gets planning permission and full costs award

29/08/2017

McCarthy & Stone Retirement Lifestyles Ltd has secured planning permission on appeal for 31 new apartments in Ruscombe, Wokingham.  The Council had refused planning permission on design grounds contrary to officer recommendation.  The appeal Inspector, Simon Warder  MA BSc(Hons) DipUD(Dist) MRTPI rejected the Council’s case and awarded McCarthys all its costs.  Appeal reference APP/X0360/W/17/3170553​.

Robert Walton acted for McCarthy & Stone Retirement Lifestyles Ltd, instructed by the Planning Bureau.

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Inquiries

New homes approved in Guildford Green Belt

24/08/2017

Ripley Carriage Ltd (RCL) has secured planning permission for 26 new homes in Guildford’s Green Belt. Guildford Borough Council is promoting the site for residential development in its emerging Local Plan but had refused planning permission on the basis that the scheme would be inappropriate development in the Green Belt and (rejecting RCL’s very special circumstances case) that the development would cause harm to the character and appearance of the Ripley Conservation Area and nearby listed buildings, would result in the loss of a non-designated heritage asset (an 18th Century Coachworks building) and would result in the loss of employment generating floorspace.

The Inspector concluded that the loss of employment floorspace was justifiable and although the scheme would be inappropriate and would cause some heritage harm, there were nonetheless very special circumstances to justify the grant of permission, concluding that “the substantial benefits of delivering housing including affordable housing in excess of policy, only limited harm to heritage assets and an improvement to the High Street frontage of the site within the CA, and the Council’s intention to take forward this site as a residential allocation in the ELP are together sufficient to constitute the VSC necessary to allow the proposed development in the GB”.

Robert Walton advised and acted for RCL, instructed by James Brown at Shrimplin Brown.

Click here for a copy of the decision.

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Inquiries

New £90m Hospital approved in the Green Belt

24/08/2017

Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust has secured planning permission for a new £90m hospital in Ascot’s Green Belt.  Heatherwood Hospital (the Trust’s existing hospital in Ascot) will be demolished and the site will be redeveloped for 230 new homes which will part fund the new hospital.

Robert Walton is advising the Trust, instructed by James Lacey at Vail Williams.

Click here for BBC coverge.

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Inquiries

Flooding concerns raised at Public Inquiry

13/06/2017

Acting for national housebuilder in relation to proposed scheme in Patcham, opposed by LPA and local residents on flooding grounds.

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Inquiries

Secretary State refuses York Green Belt scheme

06/06/2017

The Secretary of State has upheld York City Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for a large scale residential development in the York Green Belt. The decision is important given that the precise extent of York’s Green Belt has yet to be defined, the only applicable development plan policies (being contained in the Yorkshire and Humber Plan Regional Spatial Strategy) only serving to identify the general extent of the Green Belt rather than its defined boundaries. The Appellant argued that the site was not in the Green Belt, but this was rejected by the Inspector and the Secretary of State, both of whom concluded that there was no reason not to apply Green Belt policy unless or until an adopted Local Plan defines the long-term Green Belt boundary. The appeal was rejected on the basis that the proposal would constitute inappropriate development in the Green Belt and that there were no very special circumstances to justify the grant of permission.

Click here for the decision.

Robert Walton acted for York City Council.

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Inquiries

B1 to C3 permitted development appeal

25/04/2017

Acting for LPA in relation to appeal against refusal of proposed conversion of major office block to residential.

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Inquiries

Grade II* Fulham Town Hall redevelopment plans dismissed

12/04/2017

The Secretary of State has dismissed Dory Ventures Ltd’s proposal to redevelop Fulham Town Hall.  The proposals comprised the retention and refurbishment of the Fulham Town Hall building with redevelopment behind, to provide 18 residential units (Use Class C3), flexible retail uses (Use Class A1-A3) and community uses (Use Class D1).  The proposals were refused by Hammersmith & Fulham LBC on the basis that (inter alia) the scheme would cause significant harm to the significance of the building as a heritage asset.  The Council took advice on this issue from Heritage England, who also appeared at the Inquiry in support of the Council’s position.

Robert Walton acted for Heritage England.

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Inquiries

Housing Scheme in York

15/12/2016

Call-in appeal into proposed housing scheme to the north of York, the critical issue in the appeal being the unusual question: “is the site in the Green Belt”?  The relevant development policies comprises two saved policies from the RSS which serve only to define the general extent of the Green Belt.  Separate issues arose as to the landscape and visual impact of the scheme and the extent of the impact on openess and the purposes of including land within the Green Belt.

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Inquiries

Secretary of State confirms Tamworth regeneration CPO

07/12/2016

The Secretary of State has confirmed the Tamworth Borough Council (Kerria Estate Tamworth) Compulsory Purchase Order 2016.  The CPO underpins the Council’s regeneration of the estate, comprising the replacement of  the existing 1960s purpose-built neighbourhood centre, community hall, and residential units, with a mixed use scheme comprising 44 new homes, all of which will be affordable, and 380sqm of A1 Retail.  The scheme will be delivered alongside the Council’s regeneration of the Tinkers Green Estate with an overall cost of some £17m.

Click here for the decision letter.

Robert Walton was instructed by the City Solicitor, Birmingham City Council, on behalf of Tamworth Borough Council.

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Inquiries

Secretary of State grants planning permission for new designer outlet centre at Scotch Corner

02/12/2016

The Secretary of State has granted two planning permissions for alternative proposals for a new fashion outlet centre at Scotch Corner, at the junction of the A1(M) and the A66 in North Yorkshire. A copy of the decision can found here.  The larger of the two consented schemes would have a total gross internal floor area (GIA) of some 23,381 sq. m comprising 84 Class A1 Retail units with mezzanine floors; 8 Class A3 Food & Drink units and 1,291 car parking spaces and would generate some 700 jobs. ​ The smaller scheme would have a GIA of 16,178 sq. m comprising 70 Class A1 Retail units with mezzanine floors, of varying size; 8 Class A3 Food & Drink units and 1,138 car parking spaces and would create 500 jobs.  The schemes were supported by the Local Planning Authority, Richmondshire District Council, but opposed by a number of local authorities on grounds of (inter alia) retail impact on local town centres.  The Secretary of State concluded that the scheme passed the sequential test and would not harm the vitality and viability of local town centres, noting that even on Darlington Borough Council’s case (a 6.9% impact) the impact would not be significantly adverse.

Christopher Katkowski QC and Richard Moules represented the developer, Scotch Corner Richmond LLP.

Robert Walton represented Richmondshire District Council.

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Inquiries

Extension to Manchester’s Metrolink

17/10/2016

The Secretary of State for Transport has approved a five-and-a-half kilometre extension to Manchester’s Metrolink tram system, extending the network past Old Trafford football stadium, the Imperial War Museum and out to the Intu Trafford Centre.

The Secretary of State’s decision letter can be found here.

Christopher Katkowski QC and Robert Walton acted for Transport for Greater Manchester, the scheme promoters, instructed by Nick Evans at Bircham Dyson Bell.

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Inquiries

Permission granted for new para.55 house

15/06/2016

Mr Jason Mort has secured planning permission on appeal for a new “paragraph 55” house in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Green Belt, near Godalming in Surrey.  The new house is described as follows in the Inspector’s decision letter:

“The proposed design would be contemporary with a flat ‘green’ roof and a simple rectangular form. There would be 3 storeys, one of which would be below the general ground level, only visible at the rear, with views out over falling ground to the north east. The lower floor would also accommodate vehicles which would normally be out of sight. Seen from the front and sides, the building would be self confident in the expression of its elevations, which would consist of recessed glass and polished plaster at the ground floor level with a ‘floating’ box above supported on thin regular columns. The principle of the floating box is an established design philosophy, seen most notably in Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye but since interpreted by many others, which deliberately seeks to contrast man with nature. What makes this project uniquely interesting and innovative in design terms, is the expression of the first floor with a high quality permeable screen of narrow vertical elements which reflects the predominant silver birch trees in the surrounding woods. The glass reinforced concrete fins would be unsupported at the top and would hide the interior bedrooms and terraces but also reflect the light in different ways depending on the weather and time of day; but at all times being intrinsically linked with and seen against the surrounding trees. The fins also provide solar shading. The building would be seen as a contrast and yet a part of the landscape … The addition of this building of high quality design, that responds to its location in a way that enhances the ability to appreciate the natural landscape, together with a landscape strategy that seeks to reinforce and enhance the existing woodland, represents a positive benefit and an exemplar of how such development could be carried out”.

Robert Walton acted for Mr Mort, instructed by Janet Long of Planit Consulting.

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Inquiries

New housing schemes, Newmarket and Reading

01/02/2016

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Inquiries

New housing schemes, 35 units, Reigate

01/10/2015

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Inquiries

Promoting new tramline, Manchester

07/07/2015

Connecting central Manchester with Old Trafford Football Stadium, the Imperial War Museum, Trafford Park and the Trafford Centre, acting for Transport for Greater Manchester.

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Inquiries

Planning permission granted at Dibden Purlieu

15/01/2015

Advising and acting for McCarthy & Stone (Developments) Ltd, successfully securing planning permission for 36 retirement flats in Dibden Purlieu.  Issues include design, affordable housing, highways and residential amenity.

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Inquiries

2 week housing inquiry in Camden

20/12/2014

Advising and acting for Camden LBC in respect of proposed residential development of the former nurses’ hostel in New End, Camden. Issues include conservation area and listed buildings impact, highways, affordable housing and trees.

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Inquiries

Leeds New Generation Transport (NGT)

08/10/2014

£250m rapid transport scheme, promoted at 18 week Transport & Works Act Order Inquiry from May – October 2014.

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Inquiries

Village Green, Richmond

16/12/2013

Acting for landowner opposing application by local residents for registration of playing fields as a village green

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Inquiries

Emirates Stadium

03/12/2013

Acting for London Borough of Islington opposing increase in number of summertime concerts held at the Emirates Stadium, London

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Inquiries

Old Sarum, Wiltshire

05/11/2013

Acting for Wiltshire Council opposing new housing development at Old Sarum, Wilshire

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Inquiries

Clutton, Bath and North East Somerset

15/10/2013

Promoting new open market and affordable houses against backdrop of housing shortfall, instructed by GL Hearn

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Inquiries

Certificate of lawfulness appeal allowed with costs

26/01/2012

Robert Walton acted for Galaxy Ltd on an appeal against Reigate and Banstead Borough Council’s decision to refuse Galaxy’s application for a certificate of lawfulness. The Council agreed that the proposed development (a garage and a new access) met all the relevant permitted development tolerances under Class E of the Permitted Development Order but argued that the development was not incidental to the enjoyment of the existing dwelling as it was (the Council argued) designed to be used in connection with a second house on the site (for which planning permission had recently been refused but which Galaxy still wanted to pursue). The Inspector upheld the appeal and awarded costs against the Council. PINs ref APP/L3625/X/11/2154708.

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Inquiries

Gas extraction in the North York Moors

01/12/2011

Robert Walton acted for the North York Moors National Park Authority, opposing the grant of planning permission for gas extraction and processing plant in and adjacent to the North York Moors National Park.

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Inquiries

Halcyon Waters

14/11/2011

Robert Walton acted for the landowner in respect of enforcement action taken by Waverley Borough Council against extensions to an island in a private lake.  Enforcement notice dismissed with costs.

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Inquiries

Green Belt enforcement notice dismissed with costs

05/10/2011

Waverley Borough Council served an enforcement notice requiring the removal of part of an island  from a private lake at Halcyon Waters, Wonnersh.  The island had been extended by some 60m using material dredged from the lake. The appeal was determined under the written reps procedure.  Robert Walton advised the Appellant throughout the appeal, which culmiinated in the enforcement notice being quashed, retrospective planning permission being granted and the Council being ordered to pay all of the Appellant’s costs.

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Inquiries

Mushroom Farm, North Yorkshire

01/10/2011

Robert Walton acted for Harrogate Borough Council, successfully securing the refusal of planning permission on appeal for a 70,000m2 mushroom farm in the open countryside.  Issues included highways impact, landscape impact, ecology including loss of veteran trees and adequacy of s.106 obligations.

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Inquiries

Planning Permission granted for mixed use scheme in Haslemere

20/07/2011

Robert Walton acted for Brettenwood Investment (Holdings) Ltd.  Planning permission granted on appeal for mixed-use scheme comprising 25 x 1-bed apartments, 14 x 2-bed apartments (including Affordable Housing) and 683sqm of B1 commercial floorspace.  Appeal ref: APP/R3650/A/11/2145602.  Reasons for refusal: Affordable Housing; Traffic, Servincing and Parking; Character and Appearance; Infrastructure and Services.

The Council was ordered to pay Brettenwood costs.

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Inquiries

Scrap yard permitted in residential area

04/07/2011

Robert Walton acted for scrap yard operator, successfully securing permission for a scrap yard in close proximity to residential dwellings.  Appeal reference: APP/D5120/C/10/2142685.

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Inquiries

New House in the Green Belt rejected

01/05/2011

Planning permission refused for new house in the Green Belt in Yorkshire. Issues over inappropriate development, impact on openness, curtilage, landscape and visual impact, loss of dwellings. Acted for Harrogate Borough Council.

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Inquiries

Hari Krishna wedding venue rejected

01/04/2011

Planning permission refused and enforcement notice upheld in respect of proposed wedding marquee in the grounds of Bhaktivedanta Manor, Hertfordshire. Issues over inappropriate development, impact on openness, curtilage, landscape and visual impact, religious rights and noise impact. Acted for Hertsmere Council.

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Inquiries

Sheltered Housing, Chiping Ongar

01/03/2011

Permission granted for McCarthy & Stone scheme: issues over affordable housing viability, listed buildings, curtilage and design.

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Inquiries

Inland Revenue Sorting Office scheme rejected

01/02/2011

Planning permission refused for redevelopment of the former Inland Revenue Sorting Office, Kew. Issues over urban design, open space and amenity provision and affordable housing. Acted for Richmond Upon Thames LBC.

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Inquiries

Proposed new Motorway Service Area on the A1(M) in North Yorkshire

02/11/2010

Three month inquiry into the need for, and location of, a new Motorway Service Area on the A1(M) in North Yorkshire.

This public inquiry, which commenced on 2nd November 2010 and is scheduled to last until February 2011, will hear evidence on whether there is a need for a new MSA (including the views of the Highways Agency, who consider that there is a need, and objections from Harrogate Borough Council and Moto Hospitality Ltd, who operate other MSAs in the region) as well as evidence on the four competing proposals for the location of the new MSA in the event that a need is established.

Four of the eight parties at the inquiry are represented by members of Landmark:

John Litton QC is appearing on behalf of Jaytee Rainton Ltd, the promoters of a proposed new MSA at Baldersby Junction (instructed by DPP).

Charles Banner is appearing on behalf of Heather Ive Associates, the promoters of a proposed new MSA at Kirby Hill (instructed by Marrons LLP).

Robert Walton is appearing on behalf of Harrogate Borough Council, the local planning authority.

Guy Williams is appearing on behalf of North Yorkshire County Council, the local highway authority.

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Inquiries

Yorkshire MSA

01/12/2009

Advising and acting for Harrogate Borough Council in respect of three proposed Motorway Service Areas in North Yorkshire.

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Inquiries

Waste composting

01/11/2009

Acted for Guildford Borough Council objecting to waste composting facility at Wisley Airfield.

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Inquiries

Brandon Housing

01/10/2009

Advising Landowners’ consortium in respect of proposed development of 1850 houses at Brandon, Essex.

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Inquiries

Inquiry into state-of-the art in-vessel composting facility at Wisley Airfield

18/09/2009

The Secretary of State granted planning permission following the recommendations of his Inspector (inquiry September 2009) for a new in-vessel composting facility on part of the former Wisley Airfield, Surrey in the Green Belt. Although earlier objections had been made by Natural England due to potential impact on the Thames Basin Heaths SPA amendments to the scheme (permitted by the Inspector and subject to EIA before the inquiry) led to the withdrawal of the NE habitats objection.

The IVC facility would process 30,000 tonnes of biodegradable waste per annum, sourced from Surrey and neighbouring counties. It would handle both municipal organic waste separated at source and biodegradable wastes from the commercial sector to produce high-quality compost for the horticultural and agricultural sectors. The operation would be fully commercial, with no public access. It would be fully enclosed such that the entire composting process would take place within a single building without the need for an external maturation area. The composting process would consist of 3 stages, each performed in separate parts of the building: waste reception and pre-treatment; in-vessel composting: and maturation, screening and bagging. The composting building would be a fully enclosed steel portal frame construction with a fully sealed concrete floor. It would be mechanically ventilated to keep it under negative pressure and fitted with fast acting roller shutter doors that open and close automatically, triggered by vehicle sensors.

The Inspector and Secretary of State accepted the case for the need for waste management facilities in Surrey and found that there was compliance with the Surrey Waste Plan and very special circumstances to warrant development in the Green Belt. Objections by the Royal Horticultural Society and local groups based on concerns about biopathogens and potential impact on the RHS Gardens at Wisley and on human health were rejected.

(This is the second major waste management facility approved by the Secretary of State in a week: see also news item for 2 March 2010 concerning the Rivenhall Airfield facility in Essex)

David Elvin QC and Gwion Lewis represented the Appellant, Wharf Land Investments (Jersey) Ltd.

Robert Walton and Toby Fisher represented Guildford Borough Council

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Inquiries

Stansted Airport

31/05/2009

Advising and acting for English Heritage in respect of the now adjourned G2 Inquiry.

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Inquiries

Planning permission granted for new multi-sports facility in Surrey countrysideha site

01/04/2009

The Secretary of State has granted planning permission for a major new multi-sports facility on a 8.2 ha site

The Secretary of State has granted planning permission for a major new multi-sports facility on a 8.2 ha site in the Strategic Gap between Farnham and Aldershot. The scheme will provide extensive facilities for indoor and outdoor sport, including outdoor tennis courts and rugby pitches, a multi-use games area (MUGA), swimming pool, squash courts, health and fitness areas and treatment rooms, together with provision of new facilities for the relocation of Farnham Rugby Football Club. The “multi-sports” concept has been pioneered by Sport England with the active and consistent support of Central Government and the scheme will significantly enhance the sporting and recreational facilities available to residents in the area.

The Applicant, Stax (Farnham) Ltd, was represented by Russell Harris QC. The scheme was supported by Waverly Borough Council, represented by Robert Walton. The scheme was opposed by Surrey County Council (in respect of sustainability and minerals sterilisation) and by Cannons, a rival operator (in respect of wider planning considerations including the proper application of PPS6 and emerging RSS policies, qualitative and quantitative need, visual impact and the scheme’s impact on the Strategic Gap).

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Inquiries

Farm Lane, Leckhampton

26/03/2009

A call-in inquiry into the development of 360 houses

Robert Walton acted for Tewkesbury Borough Council at call-in inquiry into 360 houses. The key issues included whether development would prejudice comprehensive planning and development of an Area of Search identified in the draft RSS; assessment of housing need; appropriate infrastructure contributions; and adequacy of proposed design.

The Secretary of State and Inspector accepted the Council’s case that the scheme would prejudice the proper planning of the area and refused permission despite acknowledged significant shortfall of housing.

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Inquiries

Nottinghamshire Scrap Yard

10/03/2009

Robert Walton represented Nottinghamshire County Council at long-running inquiry into enforcement notices served by the County Council in respect of scrap yard activities on land next to the A1 near Newark (made famous by the Lightening Aircraft on the site).

The Inspector rejected appeals against enforcement notices and appeals against Council’s refusal of s.191 Notices.

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Inquiries

Upper Heyford, Bicester

01/03/2009

Robert Walton represented English Heritage at the long-running call-in inquiry into proposals by North Oxfordshire Consortium in connection with the proposed development of 1000 houses on at the former American Air Base at Upper Heyford, together with the re-use of 45 of the Hardened Aircraft Shelters for B8 purposes all within a Conservation Area.

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Inquiries

Houses in AA Milne Country

10/02/2009

A dismissal by the Secretary of State of three schemes comprising total of 750 houses in Uckfield.

Robert Walton represented Downlands Action Group and the Woodland Trust in opposition to the largest of the three schemes.

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Inquiries

Waste Management Compulsory Purchase Order

01/02/2009

Robert Walton successfully promoted a compulsory purchase order in respect of large waste management site at Padworth, West Berks.

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Inquiries

East Gateshead CPO

03/07/2008

Represented Gateshead BC at inquiry into the Council’s proposed compulsory purchase of c.300 houses in East Gateshead for demolition and redevelopment. Order confirmed.

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Inquiries

Regent Quarter

01/07/2008

Lands Tribunal reference pursuant to compulsory acquisition of underground interests in connection with the CTRL project.

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Inquiries

McCarthy & Stone

01/01/2008

I regularly advise and appear at planning inquiries for McCarthy & Stone (the UK’s largest provider of sheltered accommodation for the elderly) following refusal of their schemes by local planning authorities. The schemes tend to be controversial by reason of their size and their relationship with their built environment. Instructed by Pete Graham at the Planning Bureau.

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Inquiries

Isle of Man: housing

01/01/2008

Represent the Isle of Man Department of Local Government and Environment at inquiry into the Department’s proposals to build c.200 houses on the outskirts of Douglas.

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Inquiries

Newbury Regeneration

11/06/2007

Instructed with Neil King QC to promote the compulsory purchase of a large part of Newbury Town Centre on behalf of Newbury Council and their development partner, Standard Life. Inquiry held summer 2007. Scheme comprises the provision of nearly 30,000 sqm of new retail floorspace (including a three level department store and 54 other new unit) 184 new residential units, of which 20% affordable housing, 757 parking spaces and associated infrastructure provision and improvements. The Compulsory Purchase Order has been upheld without modification by the Secretary of State in accordance with the recommendations of her Inspector. Instructed by Jonathan Bower at Bond Pearce.

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Inquiries

Maidstone MSA

09/11/2006

£24m claim by Roadchef in connection with compulsory acquisition for the CTRL of land forming part of the access to the Maidstone Motorway Service Area.

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Inquiries

Channel Tunnel Rail Link

08/11/2006

Regularly instructed by the Secretary of State in respect of compensation claims arising out of the compulsory purchase of land required for the construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. Recent examples include the £20m claim made by Roadchef in respect of land acquired at the Maidstone Motorway Service Area; and the multi-million pound claim by a P&O subsidiary in respect of works beneath King’s Cross station. These claims are determined by the Lands Tribunal. Instructed by Tony Curnow at Ashurst and Jennifer Rickard at Nabarro.

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Inquiries

Major development schemes refused because of impacts on World Heritage Site

The Secretary of State has refused permission for two development schemes proposed within the buffer zone of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.

The schemes comprised (i) outline planning permission for a maximum of 150 dwellings and public open space, employment floor space – max 6,000 sq m of B1/B8 for the manufacture/assembly of heating appliances/boilers and parts; Offices (Non-ancillary); the storage and distribution of heating appliances/boilers and parts; and for any other use or uses within Class B1 and/or B8; and (ii) a maximum of 6,000 sq m of B1/B8 floor space for the manufacture/assembly of heating appliances/boilers and parts; Offices (Non-ancillary); the storage and distribution of heating appliances/boilers and parts; and for any other use or uses within Class B1 and/or B8; and a maximum of 6,500 sq m (B1a – Offices) and maximum of 7,500 sq m (B1c- Light Industry).

The LPA, Amber Valley Borough Council, had refused planning permission for the residential-led scheme but supported the grant of permission for the employment scheme on the basis that the application site was allocated for employment use in the adopted development plan.

Following a 7 day public inquiry in April 2018 Inspector C J Ball DArch DCons RIBA IHBC recommended that both schemes should be rejected, in particular because of their impact on the WHO, an asset of international significance.  The Secretary of State agreed with Inspector Ball’s conclusions.

Robert Walton acted for Historic England, instructed by Beth Harries.

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Inquiries

Planning permission granted on appeal for C2 development in the Green Belt

17/07/2019

Castleoak Care Developments Ltd has secured planning permission on appeal for 110 C2 care apartments and bungalows in the Green Belt at Great Boughton Chester.  The Inspector concluded that in addition to the harm caused by the development’s inappropriateness the scheme would also have a substantial impact on the openness of the Green Belt and constitute encroachment into the countryside.  The Inspector also concluded that the scheme’s failure to deliver any affordable housing constituted a breach of the development plan.  The Inspector concluded however that the need for the scheme coupled with the lack of alternative sites to meet that need, including in settlements, amounted to the very special circumstances necessary to justify permission.

Appeal reference: App/A0665/W/18/3203413.

Robert Walton QC acted for Castleoak, instructed by David Phillips of Strutt & Parker. Robert’s other Green Belt cases include securing permission for residential-led mixed used development in the Guildford Green Belt and securing permission for the new £90m Heatherwood hospital in the Ascot Green Belt, together with the redevelopment of the former hospital site for 230 homes.

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Inquiries

Spurs regeneration scheme approved

28/06/2019

Tottenham Hotspur FC has secured planning permission on appeal for the residential-led mixed use regeneration on the former Goods Yard site on White Hart Lane, London.

The scheme will deliver up to 316 new homes. It was promoted on a hybrid basis, with “matters of layout, scale, appearance, landscaping and access within the site reserved for residential-led mixed-use redevelopment to comprise the demolition of existing buildings/structures and associated site clearance and erection of new buildings/structures and basement to provide residential units, employment (B1 Use), retail (A1 Use), leisure (A3 and D2 Uses) and community (D1 Use) uses, with associated access, parking (including basement parking) and servicing space, infrastructure, public realm works and ancillary development”. The scheme also included the change of use of No. 52 White Hart Lane (Station Master’s House) from C3 use to A3 use.

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Inquiries

Agri-tech inquiry opens

14/06/2019

The public inquiry into SmithsonHill Ltd’s proposals for a new Agri-tech park at Hinxton, nr Cambridge opened this week.  The scheme comprises the development of an AgriTech technology park comprising up to 112,000 sqm (gross) employment floorspace, supporting infrastructure, amenities and landscape works including publicly accessible informal open space, vehicle and cycle parking; service areas; bus / cycle interchange on land west of the A1301 / north of A505; and infrastructure works including bridge crossings over A1301 / A505 and the River Cam.

Details of the scheme can be found here: https://www.smithsonhill.co.uk/outline_planning_nov2017/

Neil King QC and Robert Walton QC are acting for SmithsonHill Ltd instructed by Terence O’Rourke Ltd.

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Inquiries

Spurs inquiry

15/05/2019

Public inquiry into major regeneration scheme proposed by Tottenham Hotspur FC on land it owns in the vicinity of its new stadium.  The scheme comprises a mixed use scheme comprising up to 316 new homes, including 35% affordable housing (increasing to 40% with grant), new employment, retail and leisure facilities on the former goods yard site immediately opposite White Hart Lane station.  Issues at the inquiry included viability, infrastructure contributions, urban design and heritage.

Robert Walton QC acted for Spurs, instructed by Richard Max & Co

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Inquiries

Harrogate Local Plan EIP

14/01/2019

Robert is acting for Harrogate Borough Council at the 5 week EIP opening on 15.1.19

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Inquiries

Major development scheme refused in AONB

22/11/2018

Suffolk Coastal District Council’s decision to refuse permission for a 43 unit in the Suffolk Coasts and Heaths AONB on the edge of Aldeburgh has been upheld on appeal.  Inspector Lesley Coffey upheld the Council’s argument that the scheme comprised major development for the purposes of NPPG [172], concluding that the scheme would have an unacceptably adverse impact on the AONB.  The Inspector also upheld the Council’s contention that it had a 5 year supply, before concluding overall that notwithstanding the need for affordable housing in the area there were no exceptional circumstances to justify the grant of permission.

Robert Walton acted for Suffolk Coastal DC.

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Inquiries

1350 new London homes – inquiry closes

11/10/2018

The public inquiry into the appeal by the Comer Homes Group into the London Borough of Barnet’s refusal of planning permission for the mixed use redevelopment of the North London Business Park is hearing closing submissions today. The scheme comprises a  hybrid planning application with the detailed element comprising 360 residential units in five blocks up to eight storeys, a 5 form entry secondary school, a gymnasium, a multi-use sports pitch and associated changing facilities, improvements to open space and transport infrastructure. The outline element comprises up to 990 additional residential units in buildings ranging from two to nine storeys, up to 5,177 sq.m. of non-residential floor space (use Classes A1-A4, B1 and D1) and 2.54 hectares of open space.

Comer Homes are represented by Christopher Katkowski QC and Robert Walton, instructed by Taylor Wessing LLP.

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Inquiries

AONB and Heritage Coast inquiry closes

20/09/2018

The 6 day public inquiry into proposals to build 43 new homes beyond the settlement limits of Aldeburgh, in the Suffolk Coasts and Heaths Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Suffolk Heritage Coast has closed.  Issues concern Appropriate Assessment, 5 year housing supply, landscape character and visual impact, locational sustainability and the sustainable growth of Aldeburgh in terms of the need for more open market and affordable housing.

Robert Walton acted for Suffolk Coastal District Council.

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Inquiries

Permission granted for contemporary scheme in Conservation Area

19/07/2018

Following a three day public inquiry, McCarthy & Stone has secured planning permission for the demolition of three houses and their replacement with two linked blocks containing 37 retirement living apartments in the Branksome Park Conservation Area in Poole.

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Inquiries

Metro Bank gets planning permission in Oxford

17/07/2018

Metro Bank has secured planning permission to change the use of the ground floor and basement of 4-5 Queen St, Oxford, from A1 (retail) to A2 (bank).

The permission comes after the Council had refused to certify that the change of use could take place under permitted development rights (Class D of Part 3) despite the unit having an active retail use in place pursuant to a mixed use permission issued by the Council, the Council notably contending that the new retail use had to be in place for a year before the use could be changed under PD rights.

Robert Walton advised Metro Bank, instructed by Guthrie McGruer at Blake Morgan.

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Inquiries

Poole retirement housing

20/06/2018

4 day public inquiry into retirement housing scheme in Poole, comprising demolition of 1950s properties in the Branksome Park conservation area and replacement with contemporary scheme comprising 38 units of retirement housing.  Acting for McCarthy & Stone, instructed by the Planning Bureau.

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Inquiries

Ryde School

16/05/2018

S.78 appeal into new boarding house for Ryde School.  Acted for the school, instructed by Martha James of Plan Research.

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Inquiries

World Heritage Site inquiry

19/04/2018

Proposed development adjacent to the Vaillant Factory in Belper, in Buffer Zone of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.

Robert Walton acted for Historic England, instructed by Beth Harries.

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Inquiries

Planning permission granted for major mixed use scheme

12/04/2018

MNRE (Midsomer Norton Retail Estate) S.A. has secured planning permission on appeal for the redevelopment of the former Welton Bibby factory site in Midsomer Norton, Somerset.  The outline permission authorises the redevelopment of the entire 5.1ha site, comprising the demolition of existing buildings and the mixed use redevelopment for employment (including light industrial/office B1 and B2 uses, A1, A3 and A4 retail uses including a convenience store and public house and A5/C1 uses including a hotel); institutional uses (C2 and D1) and residential uses (market and affordable C3 uses) including approximately 3,730 sqm of employment development and 200 housing units and associated car parking, landscaping and roads/links.

Robert Walton advised and appeared at the inquiry for MNRE, instructed by Nigel Whitehead at WPB (Bath) Ltd.

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Inquiries

Welton Bibby planning inquiry opens

20/03/2018

The public inquiry has opened into the proposed redevelopment of the former Welton Bibby factory site in Midsomer Norton, Somerset.  The scheme comprises the mixed use redevelopment of the 5 hectare site, including residential and employment uses.  

Robert Walton is acting for the developer, Midsomer Norton Retail Estates.

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Inquiries

Ripon Police Station inquiry

11/01/2018

s.78 appeal against LPA’s refusal of planning permission for redevelopment of Ripon Police Station.  Scheme refused by LPA on grounds of harm to neighbouring listed building and conservation area, design and amenities of future occupiers.

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Inquiries

Alfa Laval Tower inquiry

25/11/2017

s.78 appeal against LPA’s refusal of advertising consent for installation of a 200sqm illuminated advert on the western elevation of the redeveloped Alfa Laval tower, Hounslow.

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Inquiries

Planning permission granted on appeal for new student accommodation in Canterbury

22/09/2017

CSQ Ltd has secured planning permission on appeal for the development of 223 student studio units on the site of the former Dairy Crest building at 57-64 Military Road, Canterbury.  The new building, which will stand in the Canterbury (Clyde, Alma and Notley) Conservation Area and be seen in views of the Canterbury Cathedral World Heritage Site, had been refused by the City Council on heritage grounds.

Robert Walton advised CSQ Ltd throughout the appeal process, instructed by Mishcon de Reya LLP.

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Inquiries

McCarthy & Stone gets planning permission and full costs award

29/08/2017

McCarthy & Stone Retirement Lifestyles Ltd has secured planning permission on appeal for 31 new apartments in Ruscombe, Wokingham.  The Council had refused planning permission on design grounds contrary to officer recommendation.  The appeal Inspector, Simon Warder  MA BSc(Hons) DipUD(Dist) MRTPI rejected the Council’s case and awarded McCarthys all its costs.  Appeal reference APP/X0360/W/17/3170553​.

Robert Walton acted for McCarthy & Stone Retirement Lifestyles Ltd, instructed by the Planning Bureau.

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Inquiries

New homes approved in Guildford Green Belt

24/08/2017

Ripley Carriage Ltd (RCL) has secured planning permission for 26 new homes in Guildford’s Green Belt. Guildford Borough Council is promoting the site for residential development in its emerging Local Plan but had refused planning permission on the basis that the scheme would be inappropriate development in the Green Belt and (rejecting RCL’s very special circumstances case) that the development would cause harm to the character and appearance of the Ripley Conservation Area and nearby listed buildings, would result in the loss of a non-designated heritage asset (an 18th Century Coachworks building) and would result in the loss of employment generating floorspace.

The Inspector concluded that the loss of employment floorspace was justifiable and although the scheme would be inappropriate and would cause some heritage harm, there were nonetheless very special circumstances to justify the grant of permission, concluding that “the substantial benefits of delivering housing including affordable housing in excess of policy, only limited harm to heritage assets and an improvement to the High Street frontage of the site within the CA, and the Council’s intention to take forward this site as a residential allocation in the ELP are together sufficient to constitute the VSC necessary to allow the proposed development in the GB”.

Robert Walton advised and acted for RCL, instructed by James Brown at Shrimplin Brown.

Click here for a copy of the decision.

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Inquiries

New £90m Hospital approved in the Green Belt

24/08/2017

Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust has secured planning permission for a new £90m hospital in Ascot’s Green Belt.  Heatherwood Hospital (the Trust’s existing hospital in Ascot) will be demolished and the site will be redeveloped for 230 new homes which will part fund the new hospital.

Robert Walton is advising the Trust, instructed by James Lacey at Vail Williams.

Click here for BBC coverge.

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Inquiries

Flooding concerns raised at Public Inquiry

13/06/2017

Acting for national housebuilder in relation to proposed scheme in Patcham, opposed by LPA and local residents on flooding grounds.

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Inquiries

Secretary State refuses York Green Belt scheme

06/06/2017

The Secretary of State has upheld York City Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for a large scale residential development in the York Green Belt. The decision is important given that the precise extent of York’s Green Belt has yet to be defined, the only applicable development plan policies (being contained in the Yorkshire and Humber Plan Regional Spatial Strategy) only serving to identify the general extent of the Green Belt rather than its defined boundaries. The Appellant argued that the site was not in the Green Belt, but this was rejected by the Inspector and the Secretary of State, both of whom concluded that there was no reason not to apply Green Belt policy unless or until an adopted Local Plan defines the long-term Green Belt boundary. The appeal was rejected on the basis that the proposal would constitute inappropriate development in the Green Belt and that there were no very special circumstances to justify the grant of permission.

Click here for the decision.

Robert Walton acted for York City Council.

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Inquiries

B1 to C3 permitted development appeal

25/04/2017

Acting for LPA in relation to appeal against refusal of proposed conversion of major office block to residential.

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Inquiries

Grade II* Fulham Town Hall redevelopment plans dismissed

12/04/2017

The Secretary of State has dismissed Dory Ventures Ltd’s proposal to redevelop Fulham Town Hall.  The proposals comprised the retention and refurbishment of the Fulham Town Hall building with redevelopment behind, to provide 18 residential units (Use Class C3), flexible retail uses (Use Class A1-A3) and community uses (Use Class D1).  The proposals were refused by Hammersmith & Fulham LBC on the basis that (inter alia) the scheme would cause significant harm to the significance of the building as a heritage asset.  The Council took advice on this issue from Heritage England, who also appeared at the Inquiry in support of the Council’s position.

Robert Walton acted for Heritage England.

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Inquiries

Housing Scheme in York

15/12/2016

Call-in appeal into proposed housing scheme to the north of York, the critical issue in the appeal being the unusual question: “is the site in the Green Belt”?  The relevant development policies comprises two saved policies from the RSS which serve only to define the general extent of the Green Belt.  Separate issues arose as to the landscape and visual impact of the scheme and the extent of the impact on openess and the purposes of including land within the Green Belt.

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Inquiries

Secretary of State confirms Tamworth regeneration CPO

07/12/2016

The Secretary of State has confirmed the Tamworth Borough Council (Kerria Estate Tamworth) Compulsory Purchase Order 2016.  The CPO underpins the Council’s regeneration of the estate, comprising the replacement of  the existing 1960s purpose-built neighbourhood centre, community hall, and residential units, with a mixed use scheme comprising 44 new homes, all of which will be affordable, and 380sqm of A1 Retail.  The scheme will be delivered alongside the Council’s regeneration of the Tinkers Green Estate with an overall cost of some £17m.

Click here for the decision letter.

Robert Walton was instructed by the City Solicitor, Birmingham City Council, on behalf of Tamworth Borough Council.

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Inquiries

Secretary of State grants planning permission for new designer outlet centre at Scotch Corner

02/12/2016

The Secretary of State has granted two planning permissions for alternative proposals for a new fashion outlet centre at Scotch Corner, at the junction of the A1(M) and the A66 in North Yorkshire. A copy of the decision can found here.  The larger of the two consented schemes would have a total gross internal floor area (GIA) of some 23,381 sq. m comprising 84 Class A1 Retail units with mezzanine floors; 8 Class A3 Food & Drink units and 1,291 car parking spaces and would generate some 700 jobs. ​ The smaller scheme would have a GIA of 16,178 sq. m comprising 70 Class A1 Retail units with mezzanine floors, of varying size; 8 Class A3 Food & Drink units and 1,138 car parking spaces and would create 500 jobs.  The schemes were supported by the Local Planning Authority, Richmondshire District Council, but opposed by a number of local authorities on grounds of (inter alia) retail impact on local town centres.  The Secretary of State concluded that the scheme passed the sequential test and would not harm the vitality and viability of local town centres, noting that even on Darlington Borough Council’s case (a 6.9% impact) the impact would not be significantly adverse.

Christopher Katkowski QC and Richard Moules represented the developer, Scotch Corner Richmond LLP.

Robert Walton represented Richmondshire District Council.

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Inquiries

Extension to Manchester’s Metrolink

17/10/2016

The Secretary of State for Transport has approved a five-and-a-half kilometre extension to Manchester’s Metrolink tram system, extending the network past Old Trafford football stadium, the Imperial War Museum and out to the Intu Trafford Centre.

The Secretary of State’s decision letter can be found here.

Christopher Katkowski QC and Robert Walton acted for Transport for Greater Manchester, the scheme promoters, instructed by Nick Evans at Bircham Dyson Bell.

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Inquiries

Permission granted for new para.55 house

15/06/2016

Mr Jason Mort has secured planning permission on appeal for a new “paragraph 55” house in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Green Belt, near Godalming in Surrey.  The new house is described as follows in the Inspector’s decision letter:

“The proposed design would be contemporary with a flat ‘green’ roof and a simple rectangular form. There would be 3 storeys, one of which would be below the general ground level, only visible at the rear, with views out over falling ground to the north east. The lower floor would also accommodate vehicles which would normally be out of sight. Seen from the front and sides, the building would be self confident in the expression of its elevations, which would consist of recessed glass and polished plaster at the ground floor level with a ‘floating’ box above supported on thin regular columns. The principle of the floating box is an established design philosophy, seen most notably in Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye but since interpreted by many others, which deliberately seeks to contrast man with nature. What makes this project uniquely interesting and innovative in design terms, is the expression of the first floor with a high quality permeable screen of narrow vertical elements which reflects the predominant silver birch trees in the surrounding woods. The glass reinforced concrete fins would be unsupported at the top and would hide the interior bedrooms and terraces but also reflect the light in different ways depending on the weather and time of day; but at all times being intrinsically linked with and seen against the surrounding trees. The fins also provide solar shading. The building would be seen as a contrast and yet a part of the landscape … The addition of this building of high quality design, that responds to its location in a way that enhances the ability to appreciate the natural landscape, together with a landscape strategy that seeks to reinforce and enhance the existing woodland, represents a positive benefit and an exemplar of how such development could be carried out”.

Robert Walton acted for Mr Mort, instructed by Janet Long of Planit Consulting.

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Inquiries

New housing schemes, Newmarket and Reading

01/02/2016

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Inquiries

New housing schemes, 35 units, Reigate

01/10/2015

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Inquiries

Promoting new tramline, Manchester

07/07/2015

Connecting central Manchester with Old Trafford Football Stadium, the Imperial War Museum, Trafford Park and the Trafford Centre, acting for Transport for Greater Manchester.

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Inquiries

Planning permission granted at Dibden Purlieu

15/01/2015

Advising and acting for McCarthy & Stone (Developments) Ltd, successfully securing planning permission for 36 retirement flats in Dibden Purlieu.  Issues include design, affordable housing, highways and residential amenity.

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Inquiries

2 week housing inquiry in Camden

20/12/2014

Advising and acting for Camden LBC in respect of proposed residential development of the former nurses’ hostel in New End, Camden. Issues include conservation area and listed buildings impact, highways, affordable housing and trees.

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Inquiries

Leeds New Generation Transport (NGT)

08/10/2014

£250m rapid transport scheme, promoted at 18 week Transport & Works Act Order Inquiry from May – October 2014.

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Inquiries

Village Green, Richmond

16/12/2013

Acting for landowner opposing application by local residents for registration of playing fields as a village green

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Inquiries

Emirates Stadium

03/12/2013

Acting for London Borough of Islington opposing increase in number of summertime concerts held at the Emirates Stadium, London

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Inquiries

Old Sarum, Wiltshire

05/11/2013

Acting for Wiltshire Council opposing new housing development at Old Sarum, Wilshire

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Inquiries

Clutton, Bath and North East Somerset

15/10/2013

Promoting new open market and affordable houses against backdrop of housing shortfall, instructed by GL Hearn

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Inquiries

Certificate of lawfulness appeal allowed with costs

26/01/2012

Robert Walton acted for Galaxy Ltd on an appeal against Reigate and Banstead Borough Council’s decision to refuse Galaxy’s application for a certificate of lawfulness. The Council agreed that the proposed development (a garage and a new access) met all the relevant permitted development tolerances under Class E of the Permitted Development Order but argued that the development was not incidental to the enjoyment of the existing dwelling as it was (the Council argued) designed to be used in connection with a second house on the site (for which planning permission had recently been refused but which Galaxy still wanted to pursue). The Inspector upheld the appeal and awarded costs against the Council. PINs ref APP/L3625/X/11/2154708.

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Inquiries

Gas extraction in the North York Moors

01/12/2011

Robert Walton acted for the North York Moors National Park Authority, opposing the grant of planning permission for gas extraction and processing plant in and adjacent to the North York Moors National Park.

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Inquiries

Halcyon Waters

14/11/2011

Robert Walton acted for the landowner in respect of enforcement action taken by Waverley Borough Council against extensions to an island in a private lake.  Enforcement notice dismissed with costs.

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Inquiries

Green Belt enforcement notice dismissed with costs

05/10/2011

Waverley Borough Council served an enforcement notice requiring the removal of part of an island  from a private lake at Halcyon Waters, Wonnersh.  The island had been extended by some 60m using material dredged from the lake. The appeal was determined under the written reps procedure.  Robert Walton advised the Appellant throughout the appeal, which culmiinated in the enforcement notice being quashed, retrospective planning permission being granted and the Council being ordered to pay all of the Appellant’s costs.

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Inquiries

Mushroom Farm, North Yorkshire

01/10/2011

Robert Walton acted for Harrogate Borough Council, successfully securing the refusal of planning permission on appeal for a 70,000m2 mushroom farm in the open countryside.  Issues included highways impact, landscape impact, ecology including loss of veteran trees and adequacy of s.106 obligations.

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Inquiries

Planning Permission granted for mixed use scheme in Haslemere

20/07/2011

Robert Walton acted for Brettenwood Investment (Holdings) Ltd.  Planning permission granted on appeal for mixed-use scheme comprising 25 x 1-bed apartments, 14 x 2-bed apartments (including Affordable Housing) and 683sqm of B1 commercial floorspace.  Appeal ref: APP/R3650/A/11/2145602.  Reasons for refusal: Affordable Housing; Traffic, Servincing and Parking; Character and Appearance; Infrastructure and Services.

The Council was ordered to pay Brettenwood costs.

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Inquiries

Scrap yard permitted in residential area

04/07/2011

Robert Walton acted for scrap yard operator, successfully securing permission for a scrap yard in close proximity to residential dwellings.  Appeal reference: APP/D5120/C/10/2142685.

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Inquiries

New House in the Green Belt rejected

01/05/2011

Planning permission refused for new house in the Green Belt in Yorkshire. Issues over inappropriate development, impact on openness, curtilage, landscape and visual impact, loss of dwellings. Acted for Harrogate Borough Council.

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Inquiries

Hari Krishna wedding venue rejected

01/04/2011

Planning permission refused and enforcement notice upheld in respect of proposed wedding marquee in the grounds of Bhaktivedanta Manor, Hertfordshire. Issues over inappropriate development, impact on openness, curtilage, landscape and visual impact, religious rights and noise impact. Acted for Hertsmere Council.

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Inquiries

Sheltered Housing, Chiping Ongar

01/03/2011

Permission granted for McCarthy & Stone scheme: issues over affordable housing viability, listed buildings, curtilage and design.

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Inquiries

Inland Revenue Sorting Office scheme rejected

01/02/2011

Planning permission refused for redevelopment of the former Inland Revenue Sorting Office, Kew. Issues over urban design, open space and amenity provision and affordable housing. Acted for Richmond Upon Thames LBC.

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Inquiries

Proposed new Motorway Service Area on the A1(M) in North Yorkshire

02/11/2010

Three month inquiry into the need for, and location of, a new Motorway Service Area on the A1(M) in North Yorkshire.

This public inquiry, which commenced on 2nd November 2010 and is scheduled to last until February 2011, will hear evidence on whether there is a need for a new MSA (including the views of the Highways Agency, who consider that there is a need, and objections from Harrogate Borough Council and Moto Hospitality Ltd, who operate other MSAs in the region) as well as evidence on the four competing proposals for the location of the new MSA in the event that a need is established.

Four of the eight parties at the inquiry are represented by members of Landmark:

John Litton QC is appearing on behalf of Jaytee Rainton Ltd, the promoters of a proposed new MSA at Baldersby Junction (instructed by DPP).

Charles Banner is appearing on behalf of Heather Ive Associates, the promoters of a proposed new MSA at Kirby Hill (instructed by Marrons LLP).

Robert Walton is appearing on behalf of Harrogate Borough Council, the local planning authority.

Guy Williams is appearing on behalf of North Yorkshire County Council, the local highway authority.

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Inquiries

Yorkshire MSA

01/12/2009

Advising and acting for Harrogate Borough Council in respect of three proposed Motorway Service Areas in North Yorkshire.

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Inquiries

Waste composting

01/11/2009

Acted for Guildford Borough Council objecting to waste composting facility at Wisley Airfield.

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Inquiries

Brandon Housing

01/10/2009

Advising Landowners’ consortium in respect of proposed development of 1850 houses at Brandon, Essex.

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Inquiries

Inquiry into state-of-the art in-vessel composting facility at Wisley Airfield

18/09/2009

The Secretary of State granted planning permission following the recommendations of his Inspector (inquiry September 2009) for a new in-vessel composting facility on part of the former Wisley Airfield, Surrey in the Green Belt. Although earlier objections had been made by Natural England due to potential impact on the Thames Basin Heaths SPA amendments to the scheme (permitted by the Inspector and subject to EIA before the inquiry) led to the withdrawal of the NE habitats objection.

The IVC facility would process 30,000 tonnes of biodegradable waste per annum, sourced from Surrey and neighbouring counties. It would handle both municipal organic waste separated at source and biodegradable wastes from the commercial sector to produce high-quality compost for the horticultural and agricultural sectors. The operation would be fully commercial, with no public access. It would be fully enclosed such that the entire composting process would take place within a single building without the need for an external maturation area. The composting process would consist of 3 stages, each performed in separate parts of the building: waste reception and pre-treatment; in-vessel composting: and maturation, screening and bagging. The composting building would be a fully enclosed steel portal frame construction with a fully sealed concrete floor. It would be mechanically ventilated to keep it under negative pressure and fitted with fast acting roller shutter doors that open and close automatically, triggered by vehicle sensors.

The Inspector and Secretary of State accepted the case for the need for waste management facilities in Surrey and found that there was compliance with the Surrey Waste Plan and very special circumstances to warrant development in the Green Belt. Objections by the Royal Horticultural Society and local groups based on concerns about biopathogens and potential impact on the RHS Gardens at Wisley and on human health were rejected.

(This is the second major waste management facility approved by the Secretary of State in a week: see also news item for 2 March 2010 concerning the Rivenhall Airfield facility in Essex)

David Elvin QC and Gwion Lewis represented the Appellant, Wharf Land Investments (Jersey) Ltd.

Robert Walton and Toby Fisher represented Guildford Borough Council

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Inquiries

Stansted Airport

31/05/2009

Advising and acting for English Heritage in respect of the now adjourned G2 Inquiry.

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Inquiries

Planning permission granted for new multi-sports facility in Surrey countrysideha site

01/04/2009

The Secretary of State has granted planning permission for a major new multi-sports facility on a 8.2 ha site

The Secretary of State has granted planning permission for a major new multi-sports facility on a 8.2 ha site in the Strategic Gap between Farnham and Aldershot. The scheme will provide extensive facilities for indoor and outdoor sport, including outdoor tennis courts and rugby pitches, a multi-use games area (MUGA), swimming pool, squash courts, health and fitness areas and treatment rooms, together with provision of new facilities for the relocation of Farnham Rugby Football Club. The “multi-sports” concept has been pioneered by Sport England with the active and consistent support of Central Government and the scheme will significantly enhance the sporting and recreational facilities available to residents in the area.

The Applicant, Stax (Farnham) Ltd, was represented by Russell Harris QC. The scheme was supported by Waverly Borough Council, represented by Robert Walton. The scheme was opposed by Surrey County Council (in respect of sustainability and minerals sterilisation) and by Cannons, a rival operator (in respect of wider planning considerations including the proper application of PPS6 and emerging RSS policies, qualitative and quantitative need, visual impact and the scheme’s impact on the Strategic Gap).

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Inquiries

Farm Lane, Leckhampton

26/03/2009

A call-in inquiry into the development of 360 houses

Robert Walton acted for Tewkesbury Borough Council at call-in inquiry into 360 houses. The key issues included whether development would prejudice comprehensive planning and development of an Area of Search identified in the draft RSS; assessment of housing need; appropriate infrastructure contributions; and adequacy of proposed design.

The Secretary of State and Inspector accepted the Council’s case that the scheme would prejudice the proper planning of the area and refused permission despite acknowledged significant shortfall of housing.

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Inquiries

Nottinghamshire Scrap Yard

10/03/2009

Robert Walton represented Nottinghamshire County Council at long-running inquiry into enforcement notices served by the County Council in respect of scrap yard activities on land next to the A1 near Newark (made famous by the Lightening Aircraft on the site).

The Inspector rejected appeals against enforcement notices and appeals against Council’s refusal of s.191 Notices.

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Inquiries

Upper Heyford, Bicester

01/03/2009

Robert Walton represented English Heritage at the long-running call-in inquiry into proposals by North Oxfordshire Consortium in connection with the proposed development of 1000 houses on at the former American Air Base at Upper Heyford, together with the re-use of 45 of the Hardened Aircraft Shelters for B8 purposes all within a Conservation Area.

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Inquiries

Houses in AA Milne Country

10/02/2009

A dismissal by the Secretary of State of three schemes comprising total of 750 houses in Uckfield.

Robert Walton represented Downlands Action Group and the Woodland Trust in opposition to the largest of the three schemes.

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Inquiries

Waste Management Compulsory Purchase Order

01/02/2009

Robert Walton successfully promoted a compulsory purchase order in respect of large waste management site at Padworth, West Berks.

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Inquiries

East Gateshead CPO

03/07/2008

Represented Gateshead BC at inquiry into the Council’s proposed compulsory purchase of c.300 houses in East Gateshead for demolition and redevelopment. Order confirmed.

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Inquiries

Regent Quarter

01/07/2008

Lands Tribunal reference pursuant to compulsory acquisition of underground interests in connection with the CTRL project.

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Inquiries

McCarthy & Stone

01/01/2008

I regularly advise and appear at planning inquiries for McCarthy & Stone (the UK’s largest provider of sheltered accommodation for the elderly) following refusal of their schemes by local planning authorities. The schemes tend to be controversial by reason of their size and their relationship with their built environment. Instructed by Pete Graham at the Planning Bureau.

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Inquiries

Isle of Man: housing

01/01/2008

Represent the Isle of Man Department of Local Government and Environment at inquiry into the Department’s proposals to build c.200 houses on the outskirts of Douglas.

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Inquiries

Newbury Regeneration

11/06/2007

Instructed with Neil King QC to promote the compulsory purchase of a large part of Newbury Town Centre on behalf of Newbury Council and their development partner, Standard Life. Inquiry held summer 2007. Scheme comprises the provision of nearly 30,000 sqm of new retail floorspace (including a three level department store and 54 other new unit) 184 new residential units, of which 20% affordable housing, 757 parking spaces and associated infrastructure provision and improvements. The Compulsory Purchase Order has been upheld without modification by the Secretary of State in accordance with the recommendations of her Inspector. Instructed by Jonathan Bower at Bond Pearce.

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Inquiries

Maidstone MSA

09/11/2006

£24m claim by Roadchef in connection with compulsory acquisition for the CTRL of land forming part of the access to the Maidstone Motorway Service Area.

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Inquiries

Channel Tunnel Rail Link

08/11/2006

Regularly instructed by the Secretary of State in respect of compensation claims arising out of the compulsory purchase of land required for the construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. Recent examples include the £20m claim made by Roadchef in respect of land acquired at the Maidstone Motorway Service Area; and the multi-million pound claim by a P&O subsidiary in respect of works beneath King’s Cross station. These claims are determined by the Lands Tribunal. Instructed by Tony Curnow at Ashurst and Jennifer Rickard at Nabarro.

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Inquiries

Major development schemes refused because of impacts on World Heritage Site

The Secretary of State has refused permission for two development schemes proposed within the buffer zone of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.

The schemes comprised (i) outline planning permission for a maximum of 150 dwellings and public open space, employment floor space – max 6,000 sq m of B1/B8 for the manufacture/assembly of heating appliances/boilers and parts; Offices (Non-ancillary); the storage and distribution of heating appliances/boilers and parts; and for any other use or uses within Class B1 and/or B8; and (ii) a maximum of 6,000 sq m of B1/B8 floor space for the manufacture/assembly of heating appliances/boilers and parts; Offices (Non-ancillary); the storage and distribution of heating appliances/boilers and parts; and for any other use or uses within Class B1 and/or B8; and a maximum of 6,500 sq m (B1a – Offices) and maximum of 7,500 sq m (B1c- Light Industry).

The LPA, Amber Valley Borough Council, had refused planning permission for the residential-led scheme but supported the grant of permission for the employment scheme on the basis that the application site was allocated for employment use in the adopted development plan.

Following a 7 day public inquiry in April 2018 Inspector C J Ball DArch DCons RIBA IHBC recommended that both schemes should be rejected, in particular because of their impact on the WHO, an asset of international significance.  The Secretary of State agreed with Inspector Ball’s conclusions.

Robert Walton acted for Historic England, instructed by Beth Harries.

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