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    "She takes control of the project and leads from the front."

    Chambers and Partners, Melissa Murphy

Melissa Murphy

Melissa Murphy

Year of call: 2001

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

Melissa Murphy

Practice Profile

Melissa specialises in planning, administrative law, compulsory purchase and compensation. She is rated as a leading junior for planning, in both Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500. She was named ''top planning barrister under the age of 35'' for two years running in the annual Planning Magazine survey (2011 and 2012) and now ranks highly among the ''top rated juniors'' in the 2017 edition.

  • "A real pragmatist.  Especially on planning inquiries, she is very, very persuasive."  Chambers and Partners, 2017

  • "Very pleasant and approachable, she has a detailed knowledge of the environmental aspects of planning in particular."  Chambers and Partners, 2017

  • "She is technically excellent, has a quick grasp of the issues and is very user-friendly." Chambers and Partners, 2015

  • "Melissa Murphy maintains a strong presence in the planning arena, handling compulsory purchase, compensation and administrative law matters for clients.'' Chambers and Partners, 2014

  • "A stong advocate for promoting tricky compulsory purchase order matters." The Legal 500, 2014

  • "Fighter" Melissa Murphy ''doesn't give up - which is not quite as common at the Planning Bar as it should be.'' Chambers and Partners, 2013

  • ''...earmarked as one of the rising stars amidst the younger generation at the Bar.'' Chambers and Partners, 2009

  • "Experienced in CPO inquiries." Chambers and Partners, 2015

  • "She is clear, methodical and gives good reliable advice." Chambers and Partners, 2015

  • "She's proactive, gives clear advice and is good at meeting deadlines'' Chambers and Partners, 2014

  •  "Her busy year saw her acting as junior to Simon Bird QC on the Pinewood Studios case, as well as receiving instructions to resist the making of the Salford Central CPO."Chambers and Partners, 2013

  • "She also "has the ability to make sure a team focuses on the real issues." Chambers and Partners, 2013



CPO and Compensation
Infrastructure / Parliamentary
Administrative/Public Law


Melissa is recognised as one of the leading juniors at the planning Bar and has extensive experience of planning matters. The following summaries give a flavour of that experience.


  • HS2 - Melissa advised two local authorities along the HS2 route and presented the petition of South Northamptonshire District Council at the Select Committee and is now instructed on other HS2 work along the route.
  • Heathrow - Melissa was instructed as a junior to Craig Howell Williams Q.C. in relation to the Heathrow Airport Limited Cranford appeal.
  • Manston Airport - with Suzanne Ornsby Q.C. Melissa was instructed by Bircham Dyson Bell to appear at a recent appeal inquiry on behalf of RiverOak Strategic Partners (promoters of the aiport).

Housing and mixed use developments

  • Promoting and resisting major residential and mixed use developments. As part of large multi-disciplinary teams, Melissa was instructed in relation to a new neighbourhood for Crawley; and 1,900 dwellings in the Green Belt proposed by Pinewood Studios; current instructions include an appeal concerning the proposed redevelopment of Fulham Town Hall (with Hereward Phillpot Q.C.)
  • Numerous instructions in relation to housing in the countryside (in Wales and in England), involving consideration of the adequacy of the 5 year housing land supply; affordable housing; and impact on the landscape
  • Experience of appeals concerning housing for the elderly, including residential care homes
  • Significant experience of resisting development including housing in the Green Belt (on behalf of local authorities and third parties)
  • Strategic advice dealing with the promotion of sites for housing through the local plan process

Employment/mixed use/retail

  • Various inquiries concerning the retention of employment land where higher value uses are proposed. For example, the development of a hotel on employment land in Norwich; and the development of a Circle promoted private hospital in Test Valley; and logistics development on sites allocated for other employment purposes
  • Part of a team promoting significant mixed use development in Polegate, East Sussex
  • Strategic advice to Norwich City Council as landowner in relation to the promotion of a major mixed use development in its area
  • Repeat instructions from Sainsbury's - including a rights of way inquiry to facilitate a store expansion on the Isle of Wight


  • Particular expertise in relation to listed buildings prosecutions
  • Numerous inquiries concerning the impact of development on listed buildings and the character and appearance of conservation areas


  • Melissa has a particular interest in the interrelationship of domestic and EU law. Given that interest, she has regularly conducted seminars addressing sustainability and environmental assessment, including the implications of Brexit, to private and public sector audiences
  • Melissa advises developers and local authorities in relation to the adequacy of assessments at both a strategic and site level. 

Local plans

  • Advice and representation in relation to local plans
  • Melissa was part of the team which successfully promoted the Cherwell Local Plan

Planning enforcement

  • Melissa is well versed in planning enforcement matters. She has frequently appeared at public inquiries in relation to s.174 appeals, concerning a wide range of development, from Gypsy sites, to stables for polo ponies, to residential development in a national park. She has had considerable success in dealing with enforcement notice prosecutions.

Statutory challenges

The majority of Melissa's public/administrative law practice is linked to her planning and compulsory purchase work.

See, for example:

  • R. (on the application of Sainsbury's Supermarkets Limited) v. Hillingdon LBC [2015] EWHC 2571 (Admin)
  • Delaney v. SSCLG [2013] EWCA Civ 585 (High Court: [2012] EWHC 1303)
  • LB Hillingdon v. SSCLG [2012] EWHC 1557
  • Chetwynd v. South Norfolk DC [2010] EWHC 1070
  • Taylor Wimpey v. Crawley Borough Council [2008] EWHC 2644


Melissa is one of the few juniors at the planning bar with substantial experience of proceedings concerning major infrastructure projects.

Here are some good examples:

Parliamentary proceedings - HS2 - Melissa has recent experience of appearing before the HS2 Select Committee and advising on representations to the Committee. 

Public inquiry work - Heathrow - Melissa and Craig Howell Williams Q.C. appeared on behalf of the Mayor of London, Hillingdon LBC and Hounslow LBC in the Heathrow Airport Limited Cranford appeal inquiry.

Lands Chamber (compulsory purchase compensation) - Thameslink - Melissa has been instructed by Eversheds on behalf of Network Rail to deal with compensation issues arising from the Thameslink project.

Transport and Works Act 1992 proceedings re the Network Rail (Hitchin (Cambridge Junction)) Order inquiry, CPO (highways), including for Cambridgeshire County Council.

Strategic advice to local authorities in relation to infrastructure projects



Melissa has attracted particular attention for her strength in promoting "tricky compulsory purchase orders".  She is interested in and enjoys CPO work. In addition to town and country planning CPOs, she has also advised in relation to CPOs under the Highways and Housing Acts. As part of her major CPO/planning inquiry work, Melissa was part of a team representing Schroders and Stanhope plc, objecting successfully to Croydon Council's controversial proposals at the Croydon Gateway site.

Recent clients include:

  • Cambridgeshire County Council (A605)
  • Southwark Council (Aylesbury Estate)
  • Ralli Solicitors (Salford Central)
  • Ceredigion County Council (Aberystwyth town centre).


Melissa has considerable experience of disputes relating to compulsory purchase compensation. She has been instructed in Lands Tribunal proceedings by the London Development Agency, Essex County Council and Kent County Council, as well as by private individuals.

Her work has included detailed consideration of matters such as valuation of the land taken; compensation for severance, injurious affection and disturbance; mitigation, betterment, planning assumptions and the application of statutory disregards and Point Gourde (on which she has lectured to both public and private sector audiences); and costs.

She appeared in the Lands Tribunal in the following reported cases:

  • Scotia Plastic Binding Limited (in administration) v. LDA [2010] RVR 307
  • Essex Showground v. Essex County Council [2006] RVR 336

Much compensation work, of course, is directed to ensuring that a negotiated outcome is achieved and often advisory work is all that is required. Recent instructions include advice to a private sector client, as junior to Michael Humphries Q.C.


Melissa advises on and appears in cases concerning public and administrative law matters, principally those with a planning/compulsory purchase focus.

Recent cases include:

  • R. (on the application of Sainsbury's Supermarkets Limited) v Hillingdon LBC [2015] EWHC 2571 (Admin)
  • Delaney v. SSCGL [2012] EWHC 1303 - Claimant's appeal dismissed by Court of Appeal on 13th May 2013
  • LB Hillingdon v. SSCLG [2012] EWHC 1557
  • Chetwynd v. South Norfolk DC [2010] 1070 

Professional Associations

Melissa is a member of the following professional bodies:

  • Planning and Environment Bar Association (former committee member)
  • Constitutional and Administrative Law Bar Association
  • Compulsory Purchase Association
  • National Infrastructure Planning Association

In the News

The Call of Duty.  With Craig Howell Williams Q.C. Article first published in the Journal of Planning & Environment Law.  Issue 10 2016 pp 957-971.

Fulham Town Hall Appeal Dismissed  April 2017

Aylesbury Estate CPO Decision: the Secretary of State Consents to Judgment  April 2017


Annual CPO and Compensation Seminar

Our 2018 seminar will concentrate on topical subjects with focussed sessions in one afternoon - ideal for busy practitioners.  The seminar should be of benefit to all those working in this field, including acquiring authority officers, solicitors, surveyors, planners, accountants and developers.