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Alexander Greaves

Alexander Greaves, planning and licensing barrister at Francis Taylor Building

Year of call: 2012

Practice areas: Planning, Environment, Licensing, Compulsory Purchase and Compensation, Major Infrastructure Projects, Local Government, Rating, Public Law, European Law

Alexander Greaves

Practice Profile

Since joining Chambers in 2014, Alexander is developing a busy specialist practice at the planning and local government bar.

Recent cases in which he has been involved in include:

  • Acting (as junior to Suzanne Ornsby QC) for the local planning authority at a 4 week multi-party inquiry into the proposed extension of a large out-of-town shopping centre near Bristol, which had been called-in by the Secretary of State;
  • Acting as sole counsel for the successful defendant in R (Flint) v South Gloucestershire Council [2017] JPL 310, where the claimant challenged the grant of a lawful development certificate for the use of land as a shooting school;
  • Acting (as junior to Saira Kabir Sheikh QC) for Westminster City Council in a judicial review brought by SAVE Britain's Heritage (R (Save Britain's Heritage v SSCLG [2017] EWHC 3059 (Admin)) in an attempt to quash the Secretary of State's decision not to give reasons for refusing to call-in the 'Paddington Cube' for his own determination.
  • Acting (as Junior to Saira Kabir Sheikh QC) in enforcement inquiries concerning hotel / hostel use in central London, including the re-determination of an enforcement inquiry following the Court of Appeal’s decision in Westminster City Council v SSCLG [2015] EWCA Civ 482; 
  • Advising and acting for two local planning authorities promoting local plans;
  • Acting (as junior to Gregory Jones QC) for a Rule 6 Party objecting to the development of a Materials Recovery Facility in Wiltshire, in a case involving complex issues relating to the lawful fallback position, air quality impacts and the adequacy of the environmental statement.

Alexander welcomes instructions to act individually or as part of a team across all of Chambers' areas of practice.

Experience

Planning

Alexander is developing a specialist practice at the town and country planning bar and appears regularly at planning inquiries and in the courts on related matters.  Through secondments at Westminster City Council and the London Borough of Bexley, he has gained considerable experience of the operation of local government, advising planning committees and officers on a wide variety of matters.  His recent experience includes the following:

Enforcement and Lawful Development Certificates:

  • Acting as sole counsel at a number of enforcement inquiries regarding unauthorised development relating to residential conversions, live work units, builders' merchants and scrap yards.
  • Assisting Saira Kabir Sheikh QC (representing Westminster City Council) in the high-profile enforcement inquiry concerning the unauthorised demolition of the Carlton Tavern just days before it was due to be listed. The appeal decision upheld the enforcement notice, requiring the demolished pub to be re-built brick by brick;  
  • Acting (as Junior to Saira Kabir Sheikh QC) in a number of hotel / hostel in central London, including the re-determination of an enforcement inquiry following the Court of Appeal's decision in Westminster City Council v SSCLG [2015] EWCA Civ 482; 
  • Appearing at a number of LDC inquiries, including a 5 day inquiry concerning the use of land for the storage of cars. Following the appeal, Alexander also acted for the local authority in defending the Appellant's s. 288 challenges to the appeal and costs decisions, which were dismissed at the permission stage.
  • Acting for the successful defendant in R (Flint) v South Gloucestershire Council [2016] EWHC 2180 (Admin), which challenged the planning unit and specificity of use identified in and LDC granted for use of land as a shooting school;
  • Advising and representing clients being prosecuted in the criminal courts for failing to comply with enforcement notices.

Local Plans:

  • Advising and acting for a local authority in the preparation and promotion of its new local plan;
  • Acting (as junior to Suzanne Ornsby QC) for a local authority promoting its new local plan at examination in public;
  • Acting (as junior to Suzanne Ornsby QC) for local authorities objecting to the promotion of an area action plan by a neighbouring local authority on the basis that it was unsound and failed to comply with the duty to co-operate;
  • Acting (as junior to Simon Bird QC) for a local authority defending a section 113 challenge, subsequently withdrawn, to the adoption of a core strategy releasing land from the Nottingham Green Belt.

Residential:

Alexander has gained considerable experience of s. 78 appeals concerning residential development, acting as sole or junior counsel in a number of inquiries and hearings raising issues such as: 5 year housing land supply; emerging neighbourhood and local plans; protected employment sites; flood risk; noise; ecology; and landscape and heritage impacts.

Retail:

Alexander has experience of retail proposals, and recently acted (as Junior to Suzanne Ornsby QC) for the local planning authority at a 4 week multi-party inquiry into the proposed extension of a large out-of-town shopping centre near Bristol, which had been called-in by the Secretary of State.

Waste:

  • Acting for a waste planning authority taking enforcement action against an unauthorised waste site;
  • Acting (as junior to Gregory Jones QC) for a Rule 6 Party objecting to the development of a Materials Recovery Facility in Wiltshire, in a case involving complex issues relating to the lawful fallback position, air quality impacts and the adequacy of the environmental statement;
  • Advising a local authority on the EIA implications of a s. 73 application for an existing energy from waste facility;
  • Advising on compliance with conditions in the operation of waste sites.

Gypsy and Traveller:

  • Acting for a local authority in a 2 day s. 78 appeal concerning the refusal of planning permission for 2 gypsy and traveller pitches in the Green Belt.    

In addition to examples set out above, Alexander frequently advises on planning-related matters, including: the interpretation of the GPDO; the construction of planning conditions; and planning obligations and CIL. He is also a regular contributor to the Journal of Planning and Environmental Law, drafting headnotes for the journal on a monthly basis.

Environmental

Alexander is gaining increasing experience of environmental law, particularly where it dovetails with is planning practice. Recent and ongoing examples include:

  • Acting for a waste planning authority in an enforcement inquiry concerning an unauthorised waste site; 
  • Acting (as junior to Gregory Jones QC) for a local residents' group in a s. 288 claim challenging the grant of planning permission for a Materials Recovery Facility, which includes grounds of challenge relating to the adequacy of the environmental statement and the approach to the assessment of air quality impacts;
  • Advising on the interpretation of the Air Quality Directive and the formulation of a public body's guidance;
  • Advising on sustainability appraisals in the context of local plan preparation;
  • Advising on the provision of SANGs;
  • Advising on Aarhus costs protection;
  • Advising and representing a high street betting company being prosecuted for failure to prevent the escape of controlled waste contrary to section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990;
  • Advising a company director being prosecuted for the unauthorised disposal of waste in breach of environmental permits.

Village Greens / Public Open Space and Assets of Community Value

Alexander has experience of advising and representing both applicants and objectors at village green inquiries. He has appeared as sole advocate for applicants in two village green inquiries, one of which resulted in partial registration of the land. He has also acted (as junior to Morag Ellis QC) for objectors at inquiries in Kent and Dorset.  

Alexander has acted for an applicant in judicial review proceedings seeking to quash the decision of a registration authority not to register land as a TVG, in which the registration authority consented to judgment.

In addition to village greens, Alexander has also advised on other matters concerning public open space, including:  

  • The appropriation and disposal of open spaces.
  • Assets of Community Value.

Licensing

Alexander has advised and represented local authorities, applicants and responsible authorities at licensing appeals in the magistrates' court and at licensing sub-committee hearings. He has also acted as legal adviser to licensing sub-committees dealing with a variety of issues.

Recent work includes:

  • Advising and acting for a local authority responding to an appeal by a street trader against de-designation of part of a licence street;
  • Advising and appearing for the police at review and summary review hearings;
  • Acting for the police in various closure order applications, including a closure order under s. 21 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001;
  • Advising a premises licence-holder being prosecuted for offences under the Gambling Act 2005;
  • Advising and representing a client seeking a licence for the provision of late night refreshment in Watford town centre.

Alexander has also written a number of articles published in the Journal of Licensing.

Advertising

Alexander has experience of advising on the various elements of the control of advertisements and deemed consent, including acting for companies being prosecuted for the unauthorised display of advertisements.

As a pupil, he attended an advertising appeal hearing against the refusal of consent for a landmark 'brand temple' on M4 corridor (the Golden Mile).

Compulsory purchase and compensation

As pupil to James Pereira QC, Alexander had the opportunity to attend the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) hearing for Clearun Ltd v GLA [2014] UKUT 0116, the first compensation claim to come before the Tribunal following the London 2012 Olympic CPO.

He has also advised on the correct procedure to be followed when compulsorily acquiring land occupied under a short tenancy.

Infrastructure

Whilst undertaking pupillage with Hereward Phillpot QC and James Pereira QC, Alexander gained considerable exposure to the promotion of DCOs. In particular, he had the opportunity to attend hearings, conferences and consider issues which arose in the course of the Thames Tideway Tunnel DCO.

Statutory nuisance

Alexander has advised clients on a number of issues relating to statutory nuisance, including a local authority seeking an injunction under section 81(5) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to prevent noise caused by dogs barking.

Rating and valuation

Alexander is currently advising a community interest company in its ongoing dispute with a local authority over discretionary rate relief. Most recently, the local authority offered to reconsider its decision for the third time following receipt of a pre-action letter threatening judicial review.

As a pupil, Alexander assisted in advising on the rateable value for a partially derelict property and the scope of uneconomical repairs.

Property / housing law

Alexander has gained experience of, and been involved in, a variety of housing and property disputes, including:

  • Advising on appeals against HMO licences restricting the residential use of dwellings due to bedroom sizes, which included assisting Robert Fookes in Nottingham City Council v Parr [2017] HLR 22.
  • Acting for a local authority in a section 204A appeal against its decision to refuse interim accommodation pending the outcome of an appeal against its decision that the appellant was intentionally homeless.
  • The successful defence of possession proceedings concerning a diplomatic residence in West London, which were struck out by the court following a procedural failure.
  • Advising on easements and covenants, such as the liability for roof repairs in the case of a flying freehold, and the transfer of an easement for vehicular access over a public footpath.

Information requests

As a pupil, Alexander gained experience of advising on requests and exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations, including consideration of the scope of a "public authority" for these purposes.

Other Experience

Prior to joining chambers, Alexander worked as a PSL paralegal in the professional and commercial disputes team of a leading international law firm. During this time, he conducted legal research and drafted case summaries for publication. He also volunteered as a housing casework assistant for Hackney Community Law Centre.

Education & Scholarships

Alexander holds a first class BA degree in History from the University of Manchester. Alexander completed his GDL with commendation and achieved the highest mark in the year for modules on Judicial Review and Company Law on the BPTC.

He was awarded the Queen Mother's Scholarship and the Blackstone Exhibition Award from Middle Temple

During pupillage, he won the UKELA Senior Mooting Competition, judged by Lord Carnwath.

Interests

Alexander is a keen cyclist and has toured across Slovenia, Italy, Germany, France and Switzerland. He also enjoys skiing and sailing.

He is passionate about food and devotes much of his spare time to the pursuit of all things culinary.