Constanze Bell Planning & Environment Barrister
Constanze practices in all areas of town and country planning law, including the specialist areas of compulsory purchase and highways. Her clients include developers, local planning authorities and local action groups.
Constanze has been instructed as counsel (sole counsel and joint counsel) to advise on local plan preparation and examinations in public.
Shortly after joining Chambers as a tenant Constanze was seconded to Bromsgrove and Redditch District Council’s Legal Services Department. She advised on: planning law, local government law and judicial review; and assisted with planning prosecutions. Constanze also acted as the LPA’s legal advisor at planning committee.
Constanze is a member of the ‘Environmental Law Foundation’ and is willing to consider acting pro bono when instructed by ELF in appropriate cases. Pro bono work has included advising a local action group (‘Power without Pylons’) on their consultation response to the final public National Grid consultation on major infrastructure proposals to join up Moorside power station to the grid (‘the North West Connections Project’). The proposals were featured in the press.
Inquiry into the called-in applications of CPG and the recovered appeal by Orbit concerning proposed retail development at Land off Earl Road/ Epsom Avenue, Handforth Dean, Cheshire (Appeal Ref: APP/R0660/V/17/3179605; APP/R0660/V/17/3179609; APP/R0660/V/17/3179610; APP/R0660/V/17/3155191).
Represented Stockport MBC (junior to Martin Carter) at this retail development planning inquiry. The inquiry concerned three called-in applications by CPG Developments (27,439 sqm of retail development) and a recovered appeal by Orbit Investments (Properties) Ltd (6,035 sqm of retail development). Decision forthcoming.
Land at Lodge Farm, Clapp Gate, Appleby, Scunthorpe, DN15 0DB (Appeal Ref: APP/Y2003/W/17/3173530 and APP/Y2003/W/17/3180606)
Successfully represented North Lincolnshire Council (junior to Alan Evans) and secured the dismissal of Egdon Resources appeal against North Lincolnshire Council’s refusal to grant planning permission for the long-term production of hydrocarbons (conventional hydrocarbon extraction) at the existing wellsite in Lodge Farm, Scunthorpe. Planning Inspector KL Williams’ decision was covered in local and national press. The inquiry process was followed in detail by the website 'Drill or Drop'.
Land at Intall Fields Farm, Stoke Pound Lane (Appeal Ref: APP/P1805/C/16/3163467) Successfully represented the LPA in a complex enforcement notice appeal where the extent of the planning unit was in dispute. The LPA submitted and the Inspector concurred that the site was one planning unit in composite mixed use. Accordingly, the immunity clock reset each time a new use was added to the existing mixture of uses (providing any such change was material).
Sty Lane, Micklethwaite (Appeal Reference: APP/W4705/V/14/2228491)
Successfully represented Redrow and Bellway Homes, as junior to Paul Tucker QC, in this appeal against a refused residential housing development. Paul and Constanze secured outline permission for 420 to 440 dwellings.
Application to register land at Newry Beach and Green, Holyhead, Anglesey as a TVG.
Instructed on behalf of a local action group seeking to register land as a TVG in Wales. Legal issues at the inquiry included: the significance of the use; statutory incompatibility; the application of Barkas; and the presumption of lawfulness.
Land at Blencathra View, Gamblesby (Appeal Ref: APP/H0928/C/15/3141454)
Successfully represented a landowner in this enforcement/ CLEUD refusal appeal regarding horsiculture and ‘planning law’s ponies’. Careful examination of legal issues arising from ‘horsiculture’ as a planning concept was necessary.
Hearings have included:
Land to the West of Arrow Bridge, Grange Lane, Alvechurch B48 7DJ (Appeal Ref: APP/P1805/X/16/3155580)
Successfully represented a local authority in a hearing regarding a refused CLOPUD which sought a declaration that a change from a mixed ancillary use to a storage use would be lawful in circumstances where there was a proposed change of ownership which would sever the existing planning unit.
Walters and Leeds City Council, a Revocation Order under s97 TCPA 1990
Successfully represented a developer opposing a revocation order for a planning permission issued in error. Issues include: the correct approach to compensation; whether the notice is a nullity and the expedience of a revocation. The LPA withdrew the revocation notice.
Rights of Way Inquiries have included:
The Shropshire Council (Bridleway Additions, Parish of Richard’s Castle) Modification Order 2015; Ref: ROW/3172071
Represented the Order Making at an inquiry into a definitive map modification order to add two public rights of way (bridleways) to the definitive map. Issues included: whether deviation could lead to the establishment of an additional right of way; the status of the two proposed routes; and the relevant period of public use. The order was confirmed in part.
Isle of Anglesey County Council (Addition of Footpath at Tai Bach the Community of Llanddona) Modification Order 2016; Ref: ROW/3161246
Successfully represented the Order Making Authority for representation at an inquiry into a definitive map modification order to add a public right of way to the definitive map. Issues included: use by implied permission; intention to dedicate; and the correct date of challenge. The order was confirmed.
The Shropshire Council (Parish of Frodesley) Modification Order 2010; Ref: FPS/L3245/7/16
Successfully represented the Order Making Authority at this complex inquiry into an order proposing to: add a bridleway; add a footpath; downgrade a bridleway and delete part of a bridleway. Issues included: the discovery of a drafting mistake and its sufficiency to displace the presumption in favour of the definitive map; the creation of a new right of way on land adjoining land over which there is an obstructed right of way; and whether public rights can be acquired over a route mistakenly shown on the definitive map.
Nottinghamshire County Council (Arnold Footpath No. 56) Modification Order 2013; Ref: FPS/L3055/7/91
Successfully represented the Order Making Authority for representation at an inquiry into a definitive map modification order to add a public right of way to the definitive map. The order was confirmed.
Significant Reported Cases
R (Save Britain's Heritage) v Liverpool City Council and another  EWCA
Successfully resisted an application for an urgent injunction brought by Save Britain’s Heritage in the Court of Appeal to prevent deconstruction of the Futurist Cinema in Liverpool.
R (Save Britain's Heritage) v Liverpool City Council and another  EWCA Civ 806
Instructed (as a junior to Anthony Crean QC) on behalf of a Local Authority in an important heritage case. The question before the Court of Appeal was whether paragraph 18a-036 of the Planning Practice Guidance required a local authority to consult the Department for Culture, Media and Sport separately on development proposals for Lime Street, Liverpool which was within the buffer zone of a World Heritage Site. The appeal was dismissed and permission to appeal to the Supreme Court was refused.
Constanze has a varied public law, planning and environmental law practice. She was appointed to the Attorney General's Regional Panel (Junior Counsel to the Crown, C Panel) in April 2018.
Constanze is a member of the Kings Chambers author team who contribute to and produce the quarterly Bulletin for the Encyclopaedia of Local Government Law.
In September 2018 Constanze presented a paper at the 10th International Conference on Sustainable Development & Planning at the University of Siena, Italy. Her attendance at the conference was supported by a grant awarded by the Bar Council’s International Professional & Legal Development Grant Programme. Constanze is a regular speaker at Institute of Licensing, Women in Property and Lawyers in Local Government events. She is involved with the establishment of Women in Planning in the North East.
Before coming to the bar Constanze worked in the NGO sector. She was part of the legal team for ‘Control Arms’, a coalition of NGO’s working to secure a human-rights orientated Arms Trade Treaty. Constanze retains an active interest in human rights law and, in particular, in planning, regulatory and environmental cases involving human rights issues.
Year of Call: 2013
Areas of Expertise
PEBA (Planning & Environmental Bar)
ELF (Environmental Law Foundation)
IAPP (International Association of Privacy Practitioners)
WiP (Women in Property)
Northern Circuit & North Eastern Circuit
Attorney General's Regional Panel, Junior Counsel to the Crown, C Panel (April 2018- )
Bar Professional Training Course, Kaplan London (2012-13), Very Competent
Graduate Diploma in Law, City University, London (2011-12), Commendation
History & Philosophy of Science BSc (hons), UCL (2007-10), First Class. First class in all three years, final year dissertation graded first class
Leeds Girls’ High School (LGHS).
Other (2018): Awarded an International Professional & Legal Development Grant by the Bar Council to present a paper at a paper at the 10th International Conference on Sustainable Development & Planning at the University of Siena, Italy
BPTC year (2012-13): Middle Temple Harmsworth Scholarship for BPTC; Winner, Human Rights essay competition, International Bar Association (2012)
GDL year (2011-12): Middle Temple Harmsworth Scholarship for GDL
Extracurricular: Winner of the Vodafone ‘World of Difference’ Competition (2011)
UCL (2007-10): UCLU Centenary Colours (2010); UCLU Debating Society Honorary Life Membership (2010); UCL Colours (2009); UCL Top in Class Prize (STS Department) (2008).
Bell, C., Sustainable Development in English Planning Policy: A Lawyer’s Perspective, WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment, Volume 217, WIT Press, 2018, ISSN 1743-3541
(presented as a paper at the 10th International Conference on Sustainable Development & Planning at the University of Siena, Italy)
What does the revised NPPF mean for housebuilding in the UK?, August 2018, UK Construction Online News Article
‘Case Comment: R. (on the application of Mason) v Winchester Crown Court & CC of Hampshire  EWHC 1182 (Admin), (August 2018) Encyclopaedia of Local Government Law Bulletin, Sweet & Maxwell
Planning Permission in Principle: Why not Planning Permission in Practice? (with Freddie Humphreys), July 2018, Building Construction Design News Article
‘It’s not fair! Is it?’, (April 2018) Encyclopaedia of Local Government Law Bulletin, Sweet & Maxwell