Year of call: 2004 | Year of silk: 2022
Sarah specialises in all areas of Town and Country Planning, and took Silk in 2022. She is consistently rated highly by all the leading directories and publications (Legal 500, Chambers and Partners, The Planner’s Women of Inﬂuence List and Planning Magazine).
Sarah has extensive experience across the full range of planning matters including large scale housing schemes, retail, renewable energy, waste, enforcement and compulsory purchase. She regularly appears in planning inquiries and hearings, enforcement inquiries, local plan examinations, statutory challenges and judicial review proceedings.
She has a particular specialism and extensive experience in large scale housing schemes and has represented many of the national developers and land promoters in this capacity. Recent examples in 2021/2022 include successfully representing Bloor Homes in an inquiry to secure permission for 662 homes at Rochford; successfully representing the developer in an inquiry relating to a greenfield site in Maldon to secure permission for 232 dwellings together with a full award of costs; and successfully representing the only Appellant to achieve planning permission in a combined inquiry relating to 6 greenfield sites promoted by different developers at Goosnargh Preston and Longridge (instructed by Emery Planning).
Sarah also has significant experience in promoting schemes relating to specialist accommodation for the elderly, including, by way of example, on behalf of developers such as McCarthy and Stone and Churchill Retirement Living.
Sarah has extensive experience in other complex planning matters. By way of example, she has acted in 2 significant MSA inquiries in the last year, one for an Appellant and the other for a LPA. She also represented one of the LPAs in the called – in inquiry at Parkside – a proposal for a link road between the A49 and M6 to open up a green belt site for major logistics development and SRFI.
Sarah frequently advises on Local Plan preparation and appears at Local Plan Examinations. Within the last year (2021/2022), she has represented a major developer promoting a proposed employment allocation through the Local Plan process and is providing ongoing advice to three LPAs on their emerging Local Plans.
Sarah also specialises in highways and rights of way matters, and prior to taking Silk was the Assistant Editor of the leading practitioner’s text on the subject (the Encyclopedia of Highway Law and Practice).
Prior to taking Silk, Sarah was appointed as Junior Counsel to the Crown on its leading “A Panel”, regularly advising and appearing on behalf of the Secretary of State in the most complex of planning matters and statutory challenges. A recent example is Sefton v SSCHLG and Doherty  EWHC 1082, where the Court accepted Sarah’s submissions relating to the correct interpretation of Green Belt policy.
Sarah was instrumental in establishing Women in Planning North – West and has sat on its committee since its inception. She also sits on the committee for the Planning and Environmental Bar Association (PEBA). She has provided training to Planning Inspectors in that capacity on numerous occasions and was also Chair of the PEBA – PINS Working Group, which sought to establish protocols for virtual hearings and inquiries during the pandemic.
Sarah is the Head of Recruitment in Chambers. Prior to that, she was Director of Pupillage in Chambers.
Legal 500 (2023,2022, 2020, 2019, 2018)
“Sarah is very approachable and takes a hands-on approach to appeal work, truly becoming part of the team, offering support and advice throughout the process. Inspectors are happy for her to participate in the hearings themselves and that allows her to make full use of her knowledge of technical matters and case law. She also has excellent peripheral vision of any planning cases elsewhere that may assist her clients.”
“She leaves no stone unturned in a case”
“A formidable advocate”
“Sarah is incredibly approachable and astute and we found these strengths made her particularly strong in planning appeal settings where situations change rapidly and can be turned to the clients advantage. It has meant she has turned potential losses into wins.”
“Particularly experienced in environmental matters.”
Chambers UK (2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016)
“Sarah is very experienced and knowledgeable. She gives clear advice and is approachable.”
“Attracts plentiful praise…she is noted for her expert strategy and effective advocacy style”
“She is one of the most thorough lawyers that I have ever come across. She is extremely good on matters of detail and fact, very insightful when it comes to the law, and someone who manages to put the most complex of matters in ways that clients understand”
“Maintains a wide ranging planning practice…she is particularly well versed in planning matters pertaining to residential and retail developments”
“Very effective cross-examiner.”
“Makes technical issues accessible to those who aren’t as academically astute as her.”
“Good with handling clients and witnesses.”
“Very approachable and confident in her approach to cases”
“Very sharp. Her cross – examinations are good”
“Hard working and very keen to make sure she has fully understood the case and is mapping a way to the best result”
“Very thorough and diligent. She is also very approachable and very hands on”
“She shows a very great attention to detail and is very, very focused”
“She is very good at motivating and is a good leader of a team”
“She puts witnesses at ease and she’s very easy to work with.”
“She is extremely dedicated and motivated, and meticulous in how she goes about things”
“I would pick her out. She is very effective”
The Planner’s Women of Influence List (2020, 2019, 2018)
“Easily one of the best barristers I have worked with in my 20 years as a Planner”.
“Outstanding advice to my local authority in support of the preparation of our local plan. She has been able to articulate the new policy requirements of the NPPF/PPG in a practical and clear way – not only to my team but to our specialist consultants”.
“I have had the privilege of working with Sarah over the last two years. Her attention to detail is second to none and she always goes that extra mile, putting her head and shoulders above many of her fellow barristers.”
“Sarah is considered to be a ‘silk in the making’. She is a formidable advocate …”
“Sarah is an extremely professional and experienced planning barrister who has been beyond helpful at planning inquiries.”
“Her friendly manner has built my confidence and influenced my experience of inquiries and giving professional evidence”.
“She is always positive and encouraging, and will always take time to be supportive and provide assistance.”.
“…a superb role model for others entering the profession and has been instrumental in establishing and promoting the group ‘Women in Planning’. She is now an established member of the Planning and Environmental Bar Association.”
Planning Magazine Top Rated Junior List (2020), (2019), (2018)
Examples significant cases in 2020 – 2021:
Examples significant cases in 2019:
Examples of significant cases in 2018:
Other significant cases:
Specialist Housing for Older People
Heritage / Conservation
Energy and Waste
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