Our people

700 professionals at Knights service 10,000 clients across the full spectrum of legal & professional services.

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Andrea Bruce

Partner
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Andrea Bruce

Partner

Andrea is a Partner in the Planning team.

Andrea works with leading landowners, house builders, mine owners and quarrying firms on planning matters, from securing agreements for significant housing and warehouse developments to complex environmental or minerals questions.  She provides advice on the need for planning permission, application procedures, environmental impact assessments, statutory infrastructure agreements and planning obligations, liability for community infrastructure levy, interpretation of permission, appeals and enforcement, judicial review and statutory challenge.  She has also dealt with protected habitats, the diversion of highways and public rights of way.

On mineral developments Andrea advises on acquisition and disposals, leases and easements, including advice on mineral ownership and removal of electricity apparatus.

Recent examples of how Andrea has helped clients include:

• ensuring the early grant of planning permission for a new entrance to a mine by successfully challenging a request to the Secretary of State that the mine operator carry out an environmental impact assessment;

• obtaining mineral planning permission for a new, strategic quarry site following a contentious public inquiry by accounting for flood risk, lorry routeing, landscape and wider community considerations;

• securing planning permission for a mixed-use development by the timely completion of a multi-party, complex section 106 agreement, that would enable the construction of a sports stadium to proceed; and

• successfully challenging a Secretary of State decision not to make a stopping-up order which would allow access to nationally significant mineral reserves.

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Deborah Ceadel

Partner
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Deborah Ceadel

Partner

Deborah is a Partner in the Planning team.

Deborah's clients are major house builders, developers, landed estates, local authorities and Oxford colleges.  She has been involved in Oxfordshire's largest and most complex developments, delivering thousands of new homes and significant infrastructure.

Deborah's expertise is in complex planning obligations related to commercial and residential development, town centre redevelopment and the delivery of infrastructure.  She also advises on issues relating to highways and infrastructure including highway agreements and road closures.

Clients and planning officers benefit from Deborah's experience of having worked within local government and the insight that this brings.

Recent examples of how Deborah has helped clients include:

• successfully negotiating a complex planning obligation involving parks, swimming pools, highways and affordable housing, enabling a house builder to construct hundreds of homes, and the local authority to meet its housing target;

• ensuring the viability and profitability of a project to convert commercial premises to residential; and

• navigating the complexities of charitable exemption for the owners of two care homes relating to the community infrastructure levy.

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Carl Copestake

Partner
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Carl Copestake

Partner

Carl is a Partner in the Planning team.

Carl is a planning expert working with real estate developers, national house builders, home-owners and banks on projects from single dwellings to housing estates, retail, commercial and leisure developments.

He advises on the full range of planning matters, from the preparation and submission of planning applications, management of the planning process, submission of planning appeals and dealing with listed building issues.  He prepares planning statements, design and access statements, feasibility studies, land disposal strategies and local plan representations.

If an application goes to appeal, Carl manages the appeal process including the appointment of counsel and acting as expert witness.  He regularly appears as an expert witness at contentious public inquiries and hearings for significant housing developments.

Recent examples of how Carl has helped clients include:

• securing permission for 103 Barrett homes by demonstrating that the local authority's five year land supply was inadequate;

• successfully presenting bet365's case to the local authority to locate the company's new headquarters outside the city centre; and

• achieving planning permission for 100 homes in Staffordshire's green belt despite national policy on green belt housing.

Carl is chair of the planning committee of the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce and sits on the British Chamber of Commerce's expert group on planning.

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Rob Pattinson

Partner
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Rob Pattinson

Partner

Rob is a Partner in the Planning team.

He has achieved planning permission for housing developments with hundreds of units, and has expertise in overcome public inquiries and challenges in the High Court.

Rob works for local authorities, real estate developers, companies and private individuals across the country who value his understanding of the competing local and political factors, as well as his ability to devise a cost-effective strategy.

Rob provides training to local authority members and officers on planning policy and probity.

Recent examples of how Rob has helped clients include:

• presenting the local authority's case at a public inquiry into unauthorised building works and use of a listed building for weddings and corporate events, successfully enforcing the inquiry decision through subsequent prosecution;

• ensuring the survival of a meat-processing business by negotiating a significant reduction in a £2 million local authority prosecution claim; and

• successfully advising a local authority through a contentious mix of politics, policy and public impact at an inquiry into planning refusal for an edge of town housing development.

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Pritpal Singh Swarn

Partner
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Pritpal Singh Swarn

Partner

Pritpal is a Partner in the Planning team.

Pritpal advises on non-contentious and contentious planning matters, including strategies around land allocation, section 106 obligations and issues relating to the community infrastructure levy, lawful development certificates, planning enforcement, planning appeals, judicial review of planning decisions, challenges to the local plan process, injunctive relief and compulsory purchase orders.  He also advises on highways infrastructure agreements and licences, traffic management orders, stopping up orders and rights of way matters in a planning context.

As part of his environmental law practice, Pritpal has advised on environmental permits for the storage, recycling and disposal of waste, the approach that should be taken to contaminated land, and related warranties and indemnities on property and business transfers. The safe containment and disposal of asbestos, environmental impact assessment screening opinions.

Pritpal’s clients include landowners, developers, local authorities and registered social housing providers based in England. One of his most notable past clients was Mr Robert Fidler, who rose to fame as the farmer accused of illegally building a house behind straw bales and whose legal wranglings with Reigate and Banstead Borough Council about time limits for enforcement, led to a change in the law and the introduction of Planning Enforcement Orders in the Localism Act 2011.

Recent examples of how Pritpal has helped clients include:

  • advising and negotiating a planning agreement on behalf of a local authority in respect of an urban expansion scheme to house a commercial development and over 3,000 homes where the land to be used straddled three local authority areas;
  • advising and negotiating the infrastructure agreements needed by a developer to support a £40 million development project to create a hotel complex and commercial offices;
  • successfully obtaining a lawful development certificate for a landowner who had set up in a livery business without planning permission and who faced enforcement action which would result in loss of livelihood; and
  • advising a developer on the contributions they could lawfully be asked to make under the community infrastructure levy to mitigate the impact of a proposed development where the local authority was making unreasonable and unlawful demands.
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Ben Weatherley

Partner
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Ben Weatherley

Partner

Ben is a Partner in the Planning team.

Ben works for house builders, strategic land promoters, football clubs, retailers, community groups and healthcare providers.  He advises on all aspects of town and country planning, particularly planning applications, development plan representations, as well as feasibility studies and appraisals.

Ben supports clients at every stage of the planning process; from planning applications though to planning appeals and gives evidence at appeal hearings and inquiries.  Ben also assists with lawful development certificate applications and where clients wish to vary, remove or discharge a planning conditions.

Recent examples of how Ben has helped clients include:

• overcoming restrictive Green Belt policy to secure planning permission for Stoke City FC's new training ground and academy;

• securing consent for an out-of-town specialist food supermarket in the face of national planning policy hurdles; and

• obtaining outline planning permission for 185 dwellings on a greenfield site in Norfolk by effective liaison with the local planning authority, research and engagement with the community through exhibitions and liaison with key stakeholders, taking care to respond to local issues, and management of the multi-disciplinary team.

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Donna Mattfield

Senior Associate
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Donna Mattfield

Senior Associate

Donna is a Senior Associate in the Planning team.

Donna advises developers, landowners and local authorities on non-contentious issues arising out of the residential planning process, including the form and content of planning applications, planning obligations, infrastructure agreements, arrangements for access routes, the stopping up and diversion of public highways, the community infrastructure levy and assets of community value.

Donna’s clients include the Oxfordshire Local Authorities, Pye Homes and Blenheim Estates.

Recent examples of how Donna has helped clients include:

• successfully negotiating  complex planning agreement for  a  major development  including the expansion of  the  local school and on site  nursery premises in the face of local community objection and difficult site issues;

• resolving a dispute between a developer and local authority as to the meaning of ‘open space’ which arose after the development had been completed and which, if not resolved, could have led to the developer having to try to re-acquire plots of land that had already been sold-off;

• creating a proposal to allow a private developer based in Oxfordshire to enter the build-to-rent sector, currently dominated by registered social providers, breaking new ground in Oxfordshire; and

• successfully challenging the planning process to secure vacant possession of premises needed by a client to expand their business, despite significant local opposition.

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Louise Thorne

Senior Associate
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Louise Thorne

Senior Associate

Louise is a Senior Associate in the Planning team.

With nearly two decades of experience in planning, Louise has been involved in a broad spectrum of projects from small rural developments through to major infrastructure.

In the realm of forward planning, Louise advises on site appraisals and promotion, evidence-based studies and reports, monitoring plans, public consultations and development of neighbourhood plans.  She then guides clients through the planning system to obtain permission for change use or development, including negotiation of section 106 agreements, release of greenbelt land, environmental impact assessments, planning appeals and inquiries.  Once permission has been granted, Louise advises on the discharge of planning conditions, enforcement, and creation of a development brief for public sector site disposals.

Louise acts for landowners, house builders and property developers, business owners, local authorities and other public service organisations including the emergency services, health and education.

Recent examples of how Louise has helped clients include:

• successfully promoting the release of a site, part greenfield and part greenbelt, for housing allocation within an emerging local plan;

• completing an urban capacity study on behalf of a local authority to inform the land allocations in their local plan;

• promoting and obtaining planning consent for two large development sites, each with capacity for up to 450 houses; and

• successfully appealing the refusal of a residential scheme for a rural exception site on the edge of an existing settlement.

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Matthew Wedderburn

Senior Associate
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Matthew Wedderburn

Senior Associate

Matthew is a Senior Associate in the Planning team.

He has detailed knowledge of national planning policy and local authority planning processes.

Matt works with strategic land promoters, developers and private individuals identifying opportunities across sectors and unlocking asset value.  He also advises on planning matters including site appraisals, the assembly of planning applications, preparation of planning appeals and management of the planning application process.  Having worked in the public and private sectors, Matt is experienced in managing complex applications and multi-disciplinary teams.

If an application goes to a planning appeal, he prepares statements of case, proofs of evidence and statements of common ground and gives evidence at appeal hearings and public inquiries.  Other areas of expertise include representation in regard to local development plans and neighbourhood plans, as well as advice on site promotion strategies.

Recent examples of how Matt has helped clients include:

• securing permission for student housing in the face of initial opposition from the planning authority by identifying ways to overcome objections;

• maximizing the disposal value of a property portfolio by advising on potential new uses and the planning issues arising for former care homes; and

• securing planning permission for an on-site bar at a bottling and kegging plant out of town, despite restrictions, by applying for mixed-use permission and demonstrating the benefits of local jobs and diversification.

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Michael Askew

Senior Planner
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Michael Askew

Senior Planner

Michael is a Senior Planner in the Town Planning team.

Michael has worked for both the private and public sector providing professional town planning consultancy input for both private companies and public organisations, working on a wide range of commercial and residential schemes.  He advises on a wide range of town planning issues across the development spectrum including preparing a wide range of planning application submissions, lodging appeals against refusals of planning permission and promoting development sites through the local plan process.  Michael is a chartered town planner with over 13 years post-qualification experience.

Michael specialises in a wide range of town planning consultancy areas, most notably in the preparation and management of planning applications and appeals including the production of detailed planning supporting statements and appeal statements.  He also prepares planning feasibility studies and appraisals, undertakes pre-application engagement and advice, as well as preparing and submitting strategic representations on sites to various development plan / local plan consultations.

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Alan Corinaldi-Knott

Associate
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Alan Corinaldi-Knott

Associate

A chartered town planning consultant.

Alan specialises in preparing and submitting planning applications and appeals, particularly for housing developments, beginning with feasibility studies and appraisals of potential development sites, and pre-application advice and negotiations with local authorities.

His expertise incorporates preparing and submitting planning applications, including change of use applications, strategic representations promoting development sites for allocation within local authority development plans, preparing written statements and evidence to support planning appeals dealt with by way of written representations, hearings and public inquiries, as well as managing the multi-disciplinary professional teams involved.

Alan's private sector clients are private and commercial landowners, developers and housebuilders, including Barratt Homes, Richborough Estates, MLN and Renew Land, and local authorities and health trusts.

Recent examples of how Alan has helped clients include:

• enabling a housebuilder to develop a greenfield site despite opposition, gaining planning permission on appeal by demonstrating that council housing policies were out of date;

• ensuring that the Leicester Partnership NHS Trust surplus real estate could be marketed and sold by undertaking a planning and development appraisal, achieving outline consent; and

• enabling a client to build a contemporary country house by demonstrating that its construction was an outstanding exemplar of innovative architecture as required by paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework.

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Rebecca Jenkins

Solicitor
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Rebecca Jenkins

Solicitor

Rebecca is a Solicitor in the Planning and Asset Management teams.

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Laura Swindells

Solicitor
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Laura Swindells

Solicitor

Laura is Solicitor in the Planning team.

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Rebecca Taylor

Solicitor
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Rebecca Taylor

Solicitor

Rebecca is a Solicitor in the Planning team.