Ashley's recent work 

Ashley acts for developers, local authorities, landowners and residents' groups from the planning application stage, through public inquiries and on to litigation in the courts.  

His recent work this last year has seen a particular focus on the issues arising from residential schemes,  determining housing land supply, residential development on the Green Belt, promoting sites through local plan examination and the application of the presumption in favour of sustainable development: 

Supreme Court

  • Appaering in the co-joined appeals of NHS Property Services Ltd v Jones & Lancashire County Council v Secretary of State for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, which considered the twin issues of whether public authorities holding land for their statutory purporses are exempt from registration as a town or village green under the Commons Act 2006, and whether toleration by such a public authority amounts to permission to use the land. 

  • Appearing in the first case before the Court to consider the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and its "presumption in favour of sustainable development" (with Jonathan Clay) Suffolk Coastal DC v Hopkins Homes Ltd Richborough Estates Partnership LLP v Cheshire East BC  [2017] UKSC 37, [2017] 1 WLR 1865, [2017] 4 All ER 938, [2017] PTSR 623. Ashley and Jonathan were successful in persuading the Court to adopt the "narrow" approach to paragraph 49 NPPF, contrary to appraoch of the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Secretary of State himself, although the appeals were dismissed on their individual facts. 

Court of Appeal

  • Appearing in a case concerning the powers of a planning authority considering a retrospective application for planning permission: Hook v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government 

  • Appearing in the first case before the Court of Appeal to consider how air quality should be considered in the planning system: Gladman Developments Ltd v Secretary of State for & Local Government. 

  • Appearing successfully in the Court of Appeal in test case concerning whether land held by public authorities and the NHS was exempt from registration as new village green. The Court's descision preserved an open space in Surrey for local people to use: Jones v NHS  Property Services Ltd  [2018] EWCA Civ. 721; [2018] 2 P. & C.R. 15.

  • Appearing in the Court of Appeal on the meaning of "new isolated homes in the countryside" as it appears at paragraph 55 NPPF: Braintree DC v SSHCLG  [2018] EWCA Civ. 610; [2018] 2 P & CR 9; [2018] J.P.L. 1036.

  • Appearing in the Court of Appeal in a case concerning the meaning of "previously developed land" (otherwise known as "brownfield" land) within the NPPF: Dartford Borough Council v SSCLG [2017] EWCA Civ. 141, [2017] PTSR 737; [2017] 2 P & CR 9.

  • Appearing in the Court of Appeal  in the first legal challenge to the Secretary of State's decision to grant  planning permission for high-volume hydraulic fracturing (otherwise known as "fracking") (with David Wolfe QC) Preston New Road Action Group & Frackman v SSCLG  [2018] EWCA Civ. 9; [2018] Env. L.R. 18; [2018] J.P.L. 807.

  • Appearing in the Court of Appeal (with Jonathan Clay) in the co-joined appeals concerning the meaning of "policies for the supply of housing" at pargrpah 49 NPPF and, in essence, the effect of a lack of a five-year supply of housing: Suffolk Coastal DC v Hopkins Homes Ltd & Richborough Estates Partnership LLP v Cheshire East BC  [2016] EWCA Civ 168; [2017] 1 All E.R. 1011; [2016] P.T.S.R. 1315; [2016] 2 P. & C.R. 1; [2016] J.P.L. 890

High Court 

  • Appearing successfully for the developer that there is no power in the GPDO to exend time to determine a prior approval application under Part 3: Warren Farm (Wokingham) Limited v Wokingham Borough Council [2019] EWHC 2007 (Admin).

  • Appaering successfully for the council to argue that where a material change in use is alleged, and inspector must consider that even if it is not alleged on the enforcement notice: Brent LBC v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government [2019] EWHC 1399 (Admin).

  • Appearing for the claimant in Barlow v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government [2019] EWHC 146, which establishes the standard of procedural fairness required for a third party to a planning appeal inquiry.

  • Appearing successfully for the landowner to secure the quashing of registratio of their land as a village green:  R. (on the application of Cotham School) v Bristol City Council [2018] EWHC 1022 (Admin).

  • Appearing for the claimant in R. (on the application of KP JR Management Co Ltd) v Richmond upon Thames LBC [2018] EWHC 84 (Admin) 24 which establishes that use of houseboats on the River Thames for residential purporses require planning permission.

  • Appearing successfully for the council to resist a challenge to the dismissal of an appeal in a case which summarises the law on residential curtilage: Burford v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2017] EWHC 1493 (Admin).


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