Merrow has a broad planning law practice, having gained wide experience of planning matters during her pupillage.
During her second six, Merrow advised a developer on a number of planning considerations arising out of a housing development scheme in Somerset, providing written advice on the prospects of potential reserved matters applications and on the correct interpretation of a planning condition in an outline permission. Merrow further advised on the possible implementation of multiple, and overlapping permissions.
More recently, Merrow acted for the local planning authorityat a s.78 inquiry regarding a scheme for over 300 dwellings.
Merrow has gained considerable experience in the law surrounding Certificates of Lawful Existing Use or Development. She advised on the merits of a proposed CLEUD application (which has since been successful), and assisted in advising three other clients in relation to CLEUD proceedings during her pupillage.
Merrow's further experience in planning law includes:
- Advising a local authority on the correct interpretation of a permission and its conditions in cirumstances where the underlying planning documents conflict.
- Advising various parties on matters relating to viability, including the application of the Exceptional Circumstances Relief test under the CIL Regulations and the lawfulness of proposed viability reviews following the judgment in Mccarthy & Stone  EWHC 1202.
- Advising on permitted development rights under the General Permitted Development Order 2015, in relation to the extension of a residential building.
Merrow has also had the opportunity to gain experience in local plan and neighbourhood plan-making processes. This experience includes:
- Assisting in advising local authorities in their preparation of local plan documents, including assessing evidence-based documents, and assisting in advising on the implementation of local-plan making procedures.
- Assisting both in advising a local authority on the neighbourhood plan-making process and in assessing the merits of an underlying sustainability appraisal.
- Assisting in drafting the summary grounds of resistance against a judicial review of a neighbourhood plan.
- Assisting in the review of draft neighbourhood plans prior to examination.
Merrow has assisted in advising on a variety of matters relating to enforcement appeals and the application of enforcement notices. She has assisted in advising a local authority on the merits of bringing a prosecution under the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
Merrow has gained experience of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and its application in relation to planning enforcement offences. She has acted for both a local authority and a defendant in confiscation proceedings in the Crown Court.
Merrow is particularly interested in environmental law and environmental regulation.
Merrow acted as junior counsel for BBOWT in R (Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust) v Secretary of State for Transport and Another  EWHC 1786 (Admin) – a challenge to the Secretary of State’s decision to approve recommendations from Highways England, concerning the preferred corridor area for the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway, on the basis that the Secretary of State had unlawfully failed to carry out both (i) a Strategic Environmental Assessment and (ii) an appropriate assessment under the Habitats Directive.
Merrow represented Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland at a two-day hearing into the combined enforcement appeal proceedings and regionally significant planning application for the extraction, transportation and working of sand and gravel from Lough Neagh, Northern Ireland.
Merrow’s experience in environmental law also includes:
- Advising a local campaign group on the assessment of climate change impacts arising from a proposed extractive development and prospects for legal challenge.
- Advising on the scope of the section 28G duty in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 when a proposed development within a SSSI falls to be assessed.
- Research work into matters of air quality law and the government’s Air Quality Plan 2017.
- Research work into legal updates surrounding environmental damage regulation and compensation.
Pro bono assistance to a local residents’ group in relation to the potential environmental impacts of a proposed expanded waste facility.
Merrow has also lectured on environmental law as part of the KCL Centre of Construction Law & Dispute Resolution’s MSc in Construction Law & Dispute Resolution (2019).
Infrastructure Projects and Transport and Works Act Schemes
Merrow has gained considerable experience of the Transport and Works Act procedure. She represented the Ramblers at the 11 week Inquiry into the Proposed Network Rail (Essex and Others Level Crossing Reduction) Order) (October 2017 - February 2019) and the Inquiry into the Proposed Network Rail (Cambridgeshire Level Crossing Reduction) Order (November 2017 and February 2018).
Merrow represented Suffolk County Council and West Suffolk Councils at the 7 week Inquiry into the Proposed Network Rail (Suffolk Level Crossing Reduction) Order (February and May 2018).
She has previous experience of the TWA procedure having shadowed both Richard Honey and Melissa Murphy at TWA Inquiries during her pupillage.
Merrow has also gained experience of Development Consent Orders, including assisting in advising on the scope of statutory entry powers in relation to a highways DCO project.
Rights of Way and Highways
Merrow has also gained significant experience of rights of way law through her involvement in the Proposed Network Rail (Essex and Others Level Crossing Reduction) Order, the Proposed Network Rail (Cambridgeshire Level Crossing Reduction) Order and the Proposed Network Rail (Suffolk Level Crossing Reduction) Order.
She acted as junior counsel for Dorset County Council in response to a cliam for judicial review against the decision to maintain an advisory one way routing system of HGV traffic. The claim was subsequently withdrawn. She has also advised a developer on the appropriate application of section 278 agreements to be entered into with the highways authority. she is regularly instructed to represent both councils and applicants at rights of way inquiries.
During her pupillage, Merrow has assisted on a number of matters involving local government law. This includes:
- Advising on the lawfulness of changes to the local election scheduling
- Assisting in a judicial review against a local authority's exercise of its powers under sections 1 and 4 of the Localism Act 2011.
- Assisting in preparing grounds of challenge against the decision of a local planning authority to exclude the public and press from a planning committee meeting and/or to refuse disclosure of a report to be discussed at that meeting.
Village Greens and Commons
Merrow has been involved in a variety of matters relating to the law on village greens and common land. Merrow's experience includes:
- Advising a local authority on when and how prescriptive rights of way may be acquired over land subject to public rights.
- Assisting in drafting the skeleton argument for an objector to a village green inquiry, addressing a number of procedural issues including the operation of "trigger events" under Schedule 1A of the Commons Act 2006.
- Assisting in advising registration authorities on the existence of implied powers both in relation to their dealings with village green applications and to orders to de-register and/or exchange common land.
- Assisting in advising on whether use by local residents of a particular piece of land has been "by right" as opposed to "as of right".
Compulsory Purchase and Compensation
Merrow has gained wide experience of CPO-related matters, which includes:
- Assisting in drafting a defence to a claim made under Part 1 of the Lands Compensation Act 1973.
- Research work into the powers of local authorities to CPO land outside of their area.
- Assisting in assessing the scope of a highway authority’s CPO powers over Crown land.
She is currently instructed as junior counsel for the claimant in an appeal under section 18 of the Land Compensation Act 1961.
Merrow welcomes instructions in all areas of licensing. She has appeared at the Crown Court in licensing-related matters and before a Licensing Sub-Committee in a licensing review hearing.
Merrow's experience of licensing includes assisting on matters involving premises licenses, hackney carriage licences and caravan sites. She has assisted in advising a local authority on the re-designation of an area as subject to selective licensing under the Housing Act 2004, including the procedural requirements that would apply.
Merrow has represented an education authority in proceedings relating to a proposed change to an Education, Health and Care Plan. She has also assisted in research into the current procedure governing school exclusions and when legal challenges may be appropriate.