CPO and Compensation
Infrastructure / Parliamentary
Melissa is recognised as one of the leading juniors at the planning Bar, specialising in planning and related matters. She is tech savvy, with experience of remote hearings & operating a paperless practice.
Planning: property & contracts
With extensive experience in advising on procurement, development agreements, s.106 planning obligations and other contract renegotiations and disputes, Melissa is well placed to offer prompt, robust and practical advice to her clients. She has particular expertise in relation to complex viability assessments & the implications of delay. Recent experience includes:
- Riverside Energy Park. Melissa represented the Western Riverside Waste Authority, in a Development Consent Order compulsory acquisition case, relying on intricate quasi-PFI contractual arrangements to object to the acquisition.
- Barnet Council – s.106 and traffic management.
- Southwark. In a long running multi-phased estate regeneration project, the development agreement & s.106 planning obligation were highly scrutinised within the CPO process.
- Advice to EDF in relation to the proposed Sizewell C Development Consent Order application.
- 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 an appeal inquiry on behalf of RiverOak Strategic Partners (promoters of the airport).
- HS2 - Melissa acted for Hillingdon in its test case judicial review in relation to Schedule 17 of the new HS2 Act: permission has been granted for an appeal to the Court of Appeal.
- HS2 petitioning & HS2 accommodation works instructions. Melissa advised local authorities along the route & presented in Parliament.
Housing and mixed use developments
- Westferry Printworks. 1,500 unit London redevelopment scheme - planning inquiry. Impact on setting of Tower Bridge & complex viability. Paul Brown QC for the applicant. Melissa represented Mayor/GLA. Melissa’s team focused on viability and heritage. Inspector agreed with objections & recommended refusal. The SofS disagreed. GLA & Council have both sought permission to challenge.
- Bramshill. Challenge to decision refusing consent for the redevelopment of Grade I listed building & grounds (following inquiry in 2017-18). Melissa represented The National Trust throughout. Objection succeeded as did defence of the decision in High Court (with SofS and Historic England). Permission sought from CofA re interpretation of national heritage policy.
- VIP Industrial Estate/VIP Trading. Large scale London mixed use (771 unit housing, plus employment): inquiry. Melissa appeared for Royal Borough of Greenwich, with a junior (Caroline Daly), objecting to the proposals. Outcome awaited.
- Promoting and resisting major residential and mixed use developments. Melissa has promoted the Aylesbury Estate redevelopment scheme for Southwark Council (see the Compulsory Purchase experience section for further details). As part of large multi-disciplinary teams, Melissa has also been instructed in relation to a new neighbourhood for Crawley; and 1,900 dwellings in the Green Belt proposed by Pinewood Studios.
- 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 viability; 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, including substantial experience of dealing with Green Belt / AONB matters.
- 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; 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.
- Melissa's clients include The National Trust, but she is also happy to advise and represent much smaller organisations in relation to heritage matters.
- Particular expertise in relation to appeals concerning listed buildings and registered parks and gardens.
Regulatory: planning & crime
- Unusually for a planning specialist, Melissa accepts Crown Court instructions. Her practice includes a substantial component of regulatory criminal work: she has both prosecuted and defended in the criminal courts, in relation to listed building and planning enforcement prosecutions. She has also appeared in the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) twice recently. Most notably, she successfully defended the decision of a Crown Court judge to stay a prosecution brought by a London Borough.
- Melissa has undertaken 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.
- Advice and representation in relation to local plans
- Melissa has appeared at numerous local plan examinations, for the most part as one of a team promoting the plan, but she has also appeared for objectors.
- 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.
The majority of Melissa's public/administrative law practice is linked to her other specialist practice areas:
See, for example:
- R. (On the application of Hillingdon Council) v. SST, SSHCLG  12 WLUK 425. Due to be heard in CofA 2020.
- City & Country (Bramshill) Limited v. SSHCGL and others inc National Trust  12 WLUK 237. Due to be heard in CofA 2020.
- R. v. (1) Knightland Foundation (2) Friedman  EWCA Crim 1860
- Hargrave House Limited v. Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court  EWHC 279 (Admin)
- R. (on the application of Sainsbury's Supermarkets Limited) v. Hillingdon LBC  EWHC 2571 (Admin)
- Delaney v. SSCLG  EWCA Civ 585 (High Court:  EWHC 1303)
- LB Hillingdon v. SSCLG  EWHC 1557
- Chetwynd v. South Norfolk DC  EWHC 1070
- Taylor Wimpey v. Crawley Borough Council  EWHC 2644
- Thompson v. Secretary of State  EWHC 1492 (Admin)
INFRASTRUCTURE / PARLIAMENTARY
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:
Development Consent Order work - advice to EDF in relation to the proposed Sizewell C DCO application (with Hereward Phillpot Q.C.)
Parliamentary proceedings - HS2 - Melissa appeared before the HS2 Select Committee and advised 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, other TWAO work includes accommodation works for HS2; she has also dealt with CPO (highways), including for Cambridgeshire County Council.
Strategic advice to local authorities in relation to infrastructure projects
COMPULSORY PURCHASE AND COMPENSATION
Melissa has attracted particular attention for her strength in promoting "tricky compulsory purchase orders". She is interested in and enjoys CPO work, with notable success in relation to the recent successful promotion of the Aylesbury Estate CPO, a controversial estate regeneration scheme in Southwark. She is presently advising on other estate regeneration proposals. 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:
- Southwark Council (Aylesbury Estate)
- Basildon Council (Craylands Estate)
- Cambridge County Council (A605)
- 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, Dover District Council, 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  RVR 307
- Essex Showground v. Essex County Council  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.
PUBLIC/ ADMINISTRATIVE LAW
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 Hillingdon Council) v. SST, SSHCLG  12 WLUK 425. Due to be heard in CofA 2020.
• City & Country (Bramshill) Limited v. SSHCGL and others inc National Trust  12 WLUK 237. Due to be heard in CofA 2020.
• R. v. (1) Knightland Foundation (2) Friedman  EWCA Crim 1860
• Hargrave House Limited v. Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court  EWHC 279 (Admin)
• R. (on the application of Sainsbury's Supermarkets Limited) v. Hillingdon LBC  EWHC 2571 (Admin)