Hugh Flanagan

Call: 2008  
Practice Profile

Hugh Flanagan has a practice encompassing all aspects of planning, major infrastructure, and compulsory purchase law. He specialises particularly in energy (including renewables), transport, waste, and residential projects, as well as compensation, land valuation and rating. He acts for developers, individuals, central government and local authorities. He frequently appears in courts and tribunals at all levels up to the Supreme Court, as well as at planning inquiries and examinations. He is a member of the Attorney General's A Panel of Counsel, in which capacity he acts for the Government in significant planning and public law cases. He is an editor of the Encyclopaedia of Compulsory Purchase and Compensation.

Hugh is ranked as a leading junior in the Legal 500 and described in Chambers and Partners as “a very talented junior who can more than hold his own in the company of KCs” (2017), "a standout junior" (2022) and “very strong at written advocacy and a very neat cross-examiner – the sort of person who gets his opponent to make unforced errors” (2020).

Recent examples of his work include:

  • Acting for EDF Energy in promoting the Sizewell C nuclear power station
  • Acting for Scottish Power Renewables in promoting the East Anglia One North and East Anglia Two offshore windfarms
  • Acting for Heathrow Airport Limited in relation to its plans for a third runway
  • Acting for Network Rail in promoting the expansion of Oxford station
  • Appearing for London City Airport in securing planning permission for its airport expansion
  • Appearing for the valuation officer in the Supreme Court in Telereal Trillium v Hewitt [2019] UKSC 23
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Hugh has extensive experience of acting for promoters and interested parties in respect of major infrastructure projects, both as sole counsel and as part of a counsel team. These include projects under the Planning Act 2008 as well as other regimes. He has particular experience of energy, aviation, rail, road and waste projects.

Major infrastructure clients include: Heathrow Airport; EDF Energy; Sottish Power Renewables; Network Rail; Aquind Ltd; London City Airport; Highways England; Thames Water; and Horizon Nuclear Power.

Projects include:

  • Sizewell C – promoting the new nuclear power station on behalf of EDF Energy at the DCO examination (2021) and defending the DCO in the High Court and Court of Appeal (2022 - 2024)
  • East Anglia One North and East Anglia Two - promoting DCOs for two offshore windfarms and defending the DCOs in the High Court and Court of Appeal (2022 - 2024)
  • Aquind – acting for Aquind Ltd in its successful High Court challenge quashing the refusal of development consent for its 2GW interconnector (2022 - 2023) 
  • Thorpe Park solar farm - promoting a 40MW solar farm at appeal (sole counsel; 2022)
  • Indaver Rivenhall Integrated Waste Management Facility - promoting an IWMF at appeal (2022 - 2023)
  • Heathrow third runway – advising Heathrow Airport in respect of its expansion plans
  • Oxford station - acting for Network Rail as sole counsel in the inquiry into Transport and Works Act Order for the expansion of Oxford station (2021- 2022)
  • Oxfordshire HIF1 road scheme – acting for Oxfordshire County Council promoting the £330m HIF1 road scheme at a six week called-in planning and CPO inquiry (2021 – 2024)
  • Wylfa Newydd Nuclear Power Station – advising Horizon Nuclear Power in respect of a proposed new nuclear power station (2016-2017)
  • Thames Water – advising Thames Water in respect of its Water Resources Management Plan 2019
  • Oldbury Nuclear Power Station – appearing on behalf of Horizon Nuclear Power at local plan examination hearing sessions (2016)
  • London City Airport – acting for London City Airport in a four week planning and CPO inquiry into its expansion proposals (junior to Michael Humphries KC) (2016)
  • Tata Steel, Port Talbot DCO – representing Natural Resources Wales at the DCO examination for a gas fired power station (as sole counsel; 2015)
  • Mexico Inn Level Crossing – successfully acting for the Office of Rail Regulation in a seven day inquiry into the closure of a level crossing (as sole counsel; 2014)
  • Farnborough Airport – appearing for the LPA in a six week inquiry into proposals to increase flights at Farnborough Airport (junior to Simon Bird KC) (2012)
     

Hugh has a wide-ranging planning practice. He has been instructed on a number of significant proposals, both in public inquiries and on legal challenges in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. He has considerable experience of plan-making and examination.

Inquiry, hearing and examination work includes:

  • Oxfordshire HIF1 road scheme – acting for Oxfordshire County Council promoting the £330m HIF1 road scheme at a six week called-in planning and CPO inquiry (2021 – 2024)
  • The London Plan – appearing as sole counsel for Heathrow Airport at the London Plan examination (2019)
  • Cherwell Local Plan Partial Review – promoting as sole counsel the Local Plan Partial Review to address Oxford’s unmet needs (2020)
  • South West Milton Keynes urban extension - acting as sole counsel for Buckinghamshire Council in the three week inquiry into access proposals for urban extension of 1800 homes (2021)
  • South Northants Local Plan Part 2 – promoting as sole counsel the Part 2 Plan (2020)
  • Oxford Brookes – acting as sole counsel for the LPA in a two week inquiry resisting proposals for 400 homes at Oxford Brookes’ Wheatley campus in the Green Belt (2019)
  • London City Airport - acting for London City Airport in the four week inquiry into proposals for airport expansion (junior to Michael Humphries KC) (2016).
  • Redrow Homes, Great Bowden - appearing as sole counsel for Redrow Homes in successfully promoting 70 homes on greenfield land (2016).
  • Kensington Cinema - acting as sole counsel for Kensington and Chelsea in an inquiry into the redevelopment of the historic Odeon cinema on Kensington High Street (2016).
  • Tesco, Bude - successfully resisting proposals for a Tesco superstore in Cornwall on behalf of the LPA on grounds of retail impact in a six day inquiry as sole counsel (2014).
  • Rushden Lakes - representing several local authorities resisting proposals for a major out of town shopping centre in a three week inquiry (junior to Morag Ellis KC) (2013).

Examples of court work includes:

  • Mead Realisations and Redrow Homes v SSLUHC [2024] EWHC 279 – successfully acting for the Secretary of State in resisting two s.288 challenges raising flood risk policy arguments
  • Cherwelll Development Watch Alliance v Cherwell District Council [2021] EWHC 2190 - successfully acting for Cherwell District Council in the challenge to the Cherwelll Local Plan Partial Review
  • Arora v LB Hillingdon and Heathrow Airport – acting for Heathrow Airport in a High Court claim regarding the interpretation of a car parking condition on the T5 planning permission (2020; junior to Michael Humphries KC and Gerry Facenna KC)
  • Manor Oak Homes v SSCLG [2019] EWHC 1736 – successfully appearing for the Secretary of State in a s.288 challenge concerning housing development
  • Loader v Rother DC [2016] EWCA Civ 795 - acting as sole counsel in the High Court and Court of Appeal in the judicial review of a housing scheme on the site of a bowls club.
  • Gallagher v Cherwell DC [2016] EWHC 290 - resisting a challenge to the adoption of a local plan.
  • EU Plants Ltd v Wokingham BC [2013] EWCA 1542 - successfully acting for the LPA in a s.288 challenge to a Tree Preservation Order on a commercial fruit farm (as sole counsel in the High Court and Court of Appeal) (2013).

Hugh has significant experience of compulsory purchase and compensation matters, both in public inquiries and in the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber). Hugh is also an editor of the Encyclopaedia of Compulsory Purchase and Compensation.

Recent work includes:

  • Oxfordshire HIF1 road scheme – acting for Oxfordshire County Council promoting the £330m HIF1 road scheme at a six week called-in planning and CPO inquiry (2021 – 2024)
  • HS2 – acting on behalf of property owners facing acquisition by HS2
  • Oxford station - acting for Network Rail as sole counsel in the inquiry into the Transport and Works Act Order for the expansion of Oxford station (2021 - 2022)
  • Lyminster A284 Bypass CPO - promoting a bypass at public inquiry (2021)
  • Littlehampton A259 CPO – promoting a CPO for a road widening scheme at public inquiry (2019)
  • Stubbington Bypass – promoting a CPO for a new bypass on the Gosport peninsula at public inquiry (2018)
  • London City Airport CPO – acting for London City Airport in the compulsory purchase inquiry to enable airport expansion, as junior to Michael Humphries KC (2016)
  • Ho v Welwyn Hatfield BC [2016] UKUT 151 – acting for the acquiring authority in a compensation dispute in the Upper Tribunal as sole counsel (2016)
  • Cambridge Heath Properties v Greenwich LBC - acting for the authority in respect of a blight notice dispute before the Upper Tribunal (2016)
  • Ferrier Estate, Kidbrooke CPO – acting for the authority in the inquiry into the compulsory purchase of the Ferrier Estate, now being redeveloped as Kidbrooke Village (junior to Morag Ellis KC)

Hugh has a significant rating practice and is described by the Legal 500 as "a real technical expert" in the field (2021). He advises and acts on behalf of ratepayers, the Valuation Office Agency and billing authorities in the Valuation Tribunal, the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) and the courts. Recent work includes:

  • Fryer v Cox (VO) [2022] UKUT 229 – acting on behalf of the valuation officer in a dispute concerning the valuation of a farm park
  • Church of Scientology v Ricketts (VO) [2023] UKUT 1 – acting on behalf of the valuation officer in a dispute concerning whether Church of Scientology premises were entitled to exemption from rates  
  • Ricketts (VO) v Cyxtera Technology UK Ltd [2021] UKUT 265 - successfully acting on behalf of the valuation officer in a dispute concerning the valuation of data centres
  • Telereal Trillium v Hewitt (VO) [2019] UKSC 23 – acting on behalf of the successful valuation officer in the Supreme Court in proceedings concerning the valuation of empty property (junior to Hui Ling McCarthy KC)
  • Capgemini - acting as sole counsel for the valuation officer in a VTE dispute conerning the valuation of data halls (2021)
  • Cemex v O’Dwyer (VO) [2019] UKUT 106 – acting as sole counsel for the successful valuation officer in a dispute concerning the valuation of a cement works
  • Shaw v Benton (VO) [2018] UKUT 168 – acting as sole counsel for the successful valuation officer in a dispute concerning the valuation of industrial units
  • Humbly Grove – acting as sole counsel for the valuation officer in a VTE dispute concerning the valuation of an underground gas storage facility (2017)
  • Celsa Steel v Webb (VO) [2017] UKUT 133 – acting as sole counsel on behalf of the successful valuation officer in a dispute concerning the valuation of a steelworks
  • Serviced offices – advising ratepayers on the rating of services offices

Hugh is an experienced public law and judicial review practitioner, specialising in planning, environmental, local government and prison matters. Examples of court work include:

Planning and Environment

  • Mead Realisations and Redrow Homes v SSLUHC [2024] EWHC 279 – successfully acting for the Secretary of State in resisting two s.288 challenges raising flood risk policy arguments
  • Manor Oak v SSHCLG [2019] EWHC 1736 – acting as sole counsel for the successful Secretary of State in a s.288 challenge to the refusal of planning permission for 375 homes
  • Oates v Wealden [2018] EWCA Civ 1304 – acting for the claimant in a judicial review challenge to a grant of planning permission for 390 dwellings (junior to Saira Sheikh KC)
  • Loader v Rother DC [2016] EWCA Civ 795 - acting as sole counsel in the High Court and Court of Appeal in a judicial review of a housing scheme on the site of a bowls club (2016)

Prisons and Courts

  • Rowan v Secretary of State for Justice [2023] EWCA Civ 27  – successfully acting before the Court of Appeal and Divisional Court as sole counsel in a judicial review challenge to detention and sentence calculation
  • Bowen v Secretary of State for Justice [2017] EWCA Civ 2181 – successfully acting in the High Court and Court of Appeal as sole counsel and as junior to James Strachan KC in the ongoing proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights (2021), for the SSJ in a judicial review challenge to the provision of bail hostels across the UK
  • Ewing v Isleworth Crown Court [2019] EWHC 288 – acting for HMCTS in defending a claim alleging breach of open justice in court procedure in the Crown Court (junior to Louis Mably KC)
  • Khosa v Secretary of State for Justice [2018] EWCA Civ 2801 – acting for the Secretary of State in the Court of Appeal as sole counsel in resisting allegations of assault and breach of convention rights by a prisoner (2018)
  • Taylor v Secretary of State for Justice [2016] PTSR 446 – successfully acting for the SSJ a two day judicial review challenge to the provision of disabled premises for those leaving prison

Local Government

  • Couves v Gravesham BC [2015] EWHC 504 – successfully resisting a judicial review of a £120m town centre regeneration scheme (junior to Tim Straker KC) (2015)
  • EU Plants Ltd v Wokingham BC [2013] EWCA 1542 – successfully resisting a s.288 challenge under s.288 to the imposition of a Tree Preservation Order on a commercial fruit farm (as sole counsel in the High Court and Court of Appeal) (2013)
  • Gulliver's Bowls Club Ltd v Rother District Council CR2013/0009 – defending a decision to list a bowls club as an Asset of Community Value in an appeal before the First Tier Tribunal (2014)

Hugh has extensive experience of advising and acting in property litigation in the High Court, County Court, Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) and First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber). Particular expertise includes applications to discharge restrictive covenants and crossover planning / property cases such as disputes concerning s.106 obligations, adverse possession cases.

Court and Tribunal work includes:

  • Soloman & Co v Attorney General of Ascension Island - acting for the AG of Ascension Island in a property dispute on the Island (in the Supreme Court of St Helena) (2021)
  • Wandsworth BC v Pereira (2016) – acting for the land owner in a four day adverse possession trial under the Land Registration Act 2002
  • Re Rasbridge's application [2012] UKUT 246 (LC) - successfully appearing in an application before the Upper Tribunal under s.84 of the Law of Property Act 1925 to discharge a restrictive covenant
  • Vivian v Fallon 2014/0355 - successfully appearing in a two day adverse possession trial in the First Tier Tribunal
  • Called: 2008 (Lincoln's Inn)
  • BA (Oxon) (1st class - ranked 5th in his year)
  • GDL (Distinction)
  • BVC  (Outstanding)

During 2010-11 Hugh was appointed as Judicial Assistant to Lord Mance and Lord Kerr in the UK Supreme Court.  

  • Planning and Environmental Bar Association
  • National Infrastructure Planning Association
  • Compulsory Purchase Association
  • Administrative Law Bar Association
  • Assistant Editor of the Encyclopaedia of Compulsory Purchase and Compensation
  • Westlaw Insight: Local Authority Procurement
  • Westlaw Insight: Local Government Finance: Charging and Trading
  • Aviation and Planning Policy - Current and Future Flight Paths [2012] JPL Issue 2

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Latest from Hugh
03
Jun' 24
Supreme Court Refuses Permission To Appeal in East Anglia One North and East Anglia Two Offshore Windfarm Case

The Supreme Court (Lord Briggs, Lord Burrows and Lady Simler) has refused permission to Substation Action Save East Suffolk Ltd (“SASES”) to appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal in R (SASES) v. Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero [2024] EWCA Civ 12.

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13
May' 24
Sizewell C: Supreme Court Rejects Application for Permission to Appeal

The Supreme Court has rejected an application by Together Against Sizewell C Limited (TASC) for permission to appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of R (Together Against Sizewell C Limited) v. (1) Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero (2) Sizewell C Limited [2023] EWCA Civ 517.

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26
Apr' 24
Deregistration of Town and Village Greens: Strack in the Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal challenging the deregistration of a town and village green (“TVG”) and its replacement with adjoining land.

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22
Mar' 24
Court of Appeal Rejects Challenge to the Use of Non-Objection and Confidentiality Clauses in Heads of Terms To Acquire Land Required for a Proposed NSIP

On 22 March 2024 the Court of Appeal (Sir Keith Lindblom SPT, Dingemans, Andrews LJJ) unanimously dismissed an appeal by Suffolk Energy Action Solutions SPV Limited against the decision of Holgate J to reject a judicial review challenge brought against the grant of development consent for two offshore windfarm projects: East Anglia One North and East Anglia Two.

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Back to Barristers

"Hugh is just so bright. He drafts beautifully is an excellent advocate and a great team player."

Legal 500, 2024

"Hugh is a very able and persuasive advocate, both in writing and in court."

Legal 500, 2024

"His level of expertise for a junior barrister is very strong and he provides advice in a very confident and considered manner."

Chambers and Partners, 2023

"He is very user-friendly, to the point, and excellent at reading the decision maker."

Chambers and Partners, 2023

"He has a great brain, is very concise and doesn't take bad points."

Chambers and Partners, 2023