September 29, 2021

Continued recognition for ‘exemplary’ team of Planning Law solicitors

Holmes & Hills Planning and Development Team has continued success in the Legal 500, being recognised as one of the ‘largest and most successful’ teams of Planning Law solicitors in Essex.

Holmes & Hills Solicitors’ boasts one of the largest and most successful Planning Law teams in Essex, who have once again been independently ranked as one of the leading sources of expert legal advice and representation on planning matters in the region by the Legal 500.

The well-regarded Planning and Development Team at Holmes & Hills Solicitors has long been identified as one of the go-to teams for specialist, strategic and pragmatic advice on a wide range of planning-related issues. The Legal 500 2022 editors comment that the team provides ‘exemplary service’ and is ‘well placed to advise a mix of local authorities, landowners and private developers on both transactional and contentious mandates’ as well as being commended for public sector instructions being a core competency for the team.

As part of the extensive research undertaken by the Legal 500 into the legal services marketplace in the region, comments received by editors from clients of Holmes & Hills’ Planning and Development Team included:

  • “The planning team have always provided a fantastic service and despite all the challenges of the last year they have continued to deliver a seamless service.”
  • “They provide a consistently quick but accurate service, providing officers with sound advice and ensuring that planning obligations are secure.”

Commentators remarked that part of the team’s strength comes from the number of specialists within the department - the team is one of the largest teams of dedicated Planning Law specialists in East Anglia – with the expertise of several individuals being of note. The Legal 500 2022 editors recognise, at an individual level, four senior members of the team as well as commenting on the ‘high level of staff retention’, allowing clients to ‘build longstanding relationships and quality partnerships’ with the team.

Steven Hopkins, Partner and Head of the Planning & Development Team, provides specialist advice on contentious Planning Law matters and in this latest edition of the Legal 500 is highlighted as maintaining ‘a strong foothold in both the strategic and contentious spheres, regularly defending clients over alleged planning breaches’. Steven has unique and vast experience particularly for matters involving contentious Property Law and litigation procedures allowing him to bridge the gap between Planning Law and related areas.

Michael Harman, also a Partner in the department, specialises in providing strategic Planning Law advice and is noted by the Legal 500 as providing ‘specialist advice and representation on blight notices and compulsory purchase orders and is increasingly engaged on preemptive settlement negotiations and highway authorities’.

‘Unrivaled’ Section 106 expertise

Senior Solicitor, Jo Lilliott is described as ‘unrivaled’ in regard to her Section 106 expertise. Clients have given feedback in this latest edition of the Legal 500 stating how they ‘value her excellent subject knowledge and the authority she brings to discussions as well as the consistently high standard of service’ she provides in regard to S106 advice, as well as her speed and ability to progress agreements quickly.

Jo is a key contact within Holmes & Hills’ Planning and Development Team and regularly works with local authority planning departments across East Anglia. As well as commenting on Jo’s particular expertise, the Legal 500 also draws attention to the multiple instructions the team receive from Braintree and Harlow District Councils for advice, negotiation, and drafting of complex, high-value Section 106 agreements for their developments to a total of nearly 5000, as well as mixed-use properties, further solidifying the Holmes & Hills teams unparalleled experience and expertise in servicing the public sector in this regard.

As well as these key lawyers mentioned, Consultant David Whipps is still one of the leading Planning Law solicitors in the region and continues to be personally recognised by the Legal 500. David is again ranked as a ‘Leading Individual’ in this 2022 publication, in recognition of his long-standing experience and encyclopedic Planning Law expertise from peers within the sector.

The Planning & Development Team is well-established boasting two partners, two senior specialists as well as three solicitors, and a trainee solicitor, and is continuing to grow. Holmes & Hills is currently recruiting for an experienced Planning Law solicitor to join its ranks at the firm’s regional head office of the A12 in Marks Tey, Colchester

Expert Planning Law Advice

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Key Contact

Steven Hopkins

Partner

sch@holmes-hills.co.uk

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