Thomas qualified in March 2016 and since then has developed a broad practice in planning and infrastructure law.
Prior to embarking on his legal career, Thomas was a transport planner for six years. He was a researcher and co-author of the Department for Transport's Manual for Streets, and advised the DfT on local road safety interventions.
Thomas takes on a wide range of planning and infrastructure instructions, including: advising on planning and highway agreements; advising on options and drafting deeds of indemnity; preparing unilateral undertakings during planning appeals; advising on rights of way and heritage assets; and appraising Environmental Statements.
At WBD Thomas continues to maintain his broad planning remit whilst specialising in Development Consent Orders (and in particular the interaction of major infrastructure projects with utility undertaker assets) and planning and highway agreements.
Thomas has been published in the RTPI's 'The Planner' magazine and on the Local Government Lawyer website, and he has given training to in-house legal teams and planning/highways practitioners in local authorities.
- SME house builders – assisting with the preparation of Section 106 agreements and unilateral undertakings on appeal, including in respect of a (successful) appeal for outline consent for 60 homes at a contentious site in south Bristol.
- Strategic highways - Thomas has acted on various matters connected to motorway compulsory purchase orders, including the administration of exchanges of common land and advising on the valuation effects of land contamination.
- Local authority highways – acting as maternity cover for a county council's highways solicitor. This instruction included the handling of all new and existing applications for Section 38 highway adoption agreements and Section 278 works agreements.
- Higher education – Thomas has acted for numerous university clients, advising on major development sites for student accommodation and research facilities. Thomas advised on an application for highway stopping up to facilitate creation of a new student hub, and has assisted with an Environmental Statement for a major campus development including research and advice to address impacts on a nearby Grade I listed building.
- Schools – Thomas acted over the course of six years (pre- and post-qualification) on multiple planning applications for new Free School and Academy sites. This work included planning and highway agreements, and drafting Section 106 unilateral undertakings during an inquiry for a controversial school in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
- Development Consent Orders (DCOs) – Thomas is acting for North Somerset Council as a member of a large legal team responsible for a DCO application to deliver a new railway between Portishead and Bristol (part of MetroWest Phase 1). He also assists with DCO applications for offshore wind projects, and is part of a WBD team working to promote the Welsh equivalent of DCOs – Developments of National Significance (DNS) – and in particular the onshore wind opportunities under the new draft National Development Framework.
Thomas is a "highly recommended" solicitor.