James is a planning and infrastructure specialist. James advises clients on non-contentious and contentious planning issues. He has particular experience in residential development and he provides strategic planning advice to his clients, negotiates section 106 agreement and other infrastructure agreements, acts on planning appeals, judicial reviews and statutory challenges and advises clients on the Community Infrastructure Levy.

James has a strong commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). He is a member of WBD Pride and is committed to ensuring there is a an inclusive, diverse and equal working environment for LGBTQ+ colleagues.


Examples of experience include:

  • Acted for a national housebuilder in relation to a mixed-use scheme comprising 1,300 homes, 239 m2 commercial floor space, nursery, public realm and amenity space. Negotiated with the local planning authority a deed of variation to the Section 106 Agreement to ensure that the affordable housing units within the second phase of the development were eligible for Homes England grant funding. 
  • Coordinated and managed a team of four lawyers in carrying out planning due diligence and preparing planning reports for a property fund acquiring 291 units over 15 different sites. 
  • Acted for a local planning authority in negotiating a section 106 agreement for a development of 530 homes, securing over £17m of financial contributions, together with affordable housing (subject to early and late-stage viability reviews) and securing the delivery of the homes as net zero carbon. 
  • Acting for the Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership to secure a Transport and Works Act Order rapid transit scheme. The Order application includes a request for deemed planning permission and compulsory acquisition powers. The scheme is part of GCP's investment worth up to £1 billion over 15 years, to provide vital improvements in infrastructure, supporting and accelerating the creation of 44,000 new jobs, 33,500 new homes and 420 additional apprenticeships for the region.
  • Advising This is Gravity in on a major net zero smart campus Local Development Order (LDO) and associated planning agreement. The project includes construction and implementation of the Gravity Smart Campus and Community on a 616-acre enterprise zone site to the east of Junction 23 of the M5 in Sedgemoor, Somerset. The LDO was adopted by the local planning authority in 2023 and is one of the largest ever adopted in the UK. It permits 1.1 million square metres of advanced manufacturing space supporting up to 7,000 jobs, together with associated infrastructure, including 750 homes and new passenger and freight rail link.
  • Acted for Somerset Council (and the various predecessor authorities jointly) jointly in relation to the implementation of the Hinkley Point C ("HPC") Development Consent Order. We have advised on matters relating to workforce numbers, traffic and highways and their relative impacts on the surrounding areas. We have also advised on complex supplemental agreement required in connection with the increase in the peak construction workforce and we have provided advice on the suitability of a nearby holiday camp to temporarily host construction workers.
  • Acted for a public sector body regarding a site in its ownership, allocated for residential development. We provided strategic advice to our client, advising it on its planning application for 260 homes and subsequent appeal non-determination grounds. We instructed leading counsel to appear on our client's behalf at a three-week public inquiry. In March 2023, the Inspector allowed the appeal and made a partial award of costs against the local planning authority. 
  • Acted for a public sector client in undertaking specialist due diligence in relation to an airport and associated business park within its ownership, which support a significant number of jobs and contribute millions of pounds to the local economy. As part of the due diligence exercise, we made use of the technology the firm has invested in to create a dynamic and interactive database, accessible by the client through an online portal. The database outlined the planning history of the site, enabling the user to view decision notices and access site location plans. Following the creation of the database, we created a report highlighting any material planning issues affecting the sites, which were fed into a cross-team red flag report.