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Philip Kolvin

Alun Alesbury

Called
1974
Telephone
020 7242 4986
Clerk
Ben Connor
CV
Email

Alun specialises in all areas of Planning Local Government and Administrative law, both advocacy and advisory work.

Other specialist areas covered include Commons Act/'Village Greens', Compulsory Purchase and Compensation, Highways/Rights of Way, Rating, Environmental/Public Health Law, Water, Other Utilities (e.g., Electricity), Infrastructure projects, Parliamentary/Transport & Works, Licensing under the Licensing Act 2003 and Restrictive Covenants.

Alun specialises in all areas of Planning Local Government and Administrative law, both advocacy and advisory work.

Other specialist areas covered include Commons Act/'Village Greens', Compulsory Purchase and Compensation, Highways/Rights of Way, Rating, Environmental/Public Health Law, Water, Other Utilities (e.g., Electricity), Infrastructure projects, Parliamentary/Transport & Works, Licensing under the Licensing Act 2003 and Restrictive Covenants.

He has been appointed on numerous occasions to hold public inquiries and other 'quasi-judicial' hearings, particularly in relation to Commons Act 'Village Green' claims, but also over a much wider range, including environmental byelaws, fatal fires, alleged planning corruption, genetically modified seed licensing, veterinary medicine licensing, parliamentary boundaries, etc.

He was a founder member of the Planning & Environment Bar Association (PEBA).

Alun was called to the Bar in 1974.

Overview

Alun has a varied and active practice, at inquiry, in court, and with advisory work. In the area of pure planning, as well as extensive residential/retail work, he has worked on projects involving airports, nuclear plants etc etc. In the sub-category of 'town and village greens, Alun has been involved in very numerous inquiries under the Commons Act, either as advocate or as inspector appointed by the registration authority.

Recent cases have included:

  • Glebelands, nr. Benfleet, Essex – inquiry into major housing proposal in Green Belt.
  • Moore v Secretary of State – High Court and Court of Appeal proceedings as to lawfulness of using (very) large dwellinghouse as holiday accommodation.
  • Commons Act ('village green') inquiries in Bridgend, Oldham, Thundersley (Essex), Basildon, Havering (London), Vange (Essex), Lowestoft, Laindon (Essex) [as advocate]; and Leeds, Neath (S.Wales), Caerphilly, Leicester, Maldon, Holland-on-Sea, Wickford, Walton-on-the-Naze (all Essex) [as Inspector].
  • Land off Kiln Road, Thundersley, Essex: inquiry into housing scheme in Green Belt 'plotlands'.
  • Guilford Street, London WC1 – Backpackers' hostel in listed former NHS buildings.

Alun has been ranked in Legal 500 as a leading planning junior.


Highways and transport infrastructure
Alun has advised and represented interested parties on all sides on issues arising in the development of highways and other transport infrastructure. His work has included:

  • Motorway service areas e.g. on M25,
  • Major road schemes, e.g. Mere – Wincanton on A303, Tingewick Bypass, Linslade Western Bypass (Bucks).
  • Airports – Heathrow Terminal 5, Stansted, Birmingham, Luton etc.
  • Rail schemes
  • Dedicated bus-ways, e.g. in Swansea
  • New port and harbour schemes,
  • Accesses, junctions and other infrastructure designed to serve new development.
  • Nuclear plant, including waste reprocessing.

Alun advises on all stages of the relevant processes including the making of the relevant application or order, and its promotion or objection at public inquiries, the High Court and Parliamentary Committees.


Commons, town and village greens
Alun has very extensive experience in this field, in a variety of different roles. He has on numerous occasions been appointed by Commons Registration Authorities (County or Unitary Councils) to hold (as Inspector) Inquiries or hearings on their behalf into town or village green claims. He has also frequently been instructed to act for local authorities (and others) as landowners in such cases.

Cases where Alun has been instructed by Registration Authorities include:

  • Widmer End, nr. High Wycombe – Buckinghamshire
  • Winnersh, Berks. (surplus education land) – Wokingham
  • Wargrave Old Chalk Pit, Berks. – Wokingham
  • Land at Newbold Hill – Rochdale
  • Yeadon Banks – Leeds [decision successfully defended in High Court and Court of Appeal – [2010] EWCA Civ 1438]
  • Highbury Mission Land – Leeds
  • Linnet Close, Tilehurst – West Berkshire
  • Bull Lane Playing Field – Enfield
  • Pincents Hill, Tilehurst - West Berkshire
  • Dyffryn Cellwen - Neath-Port Talbot
  • Groby Road, Ratby – Leicestershire CC
  • Oakville Road, Charlestown, Hebden Bridge – Calderdale MBC
  • Hawtin Park fields, Pontllanfraith – for Caerphilly CBC
  • Essex CC (numerous inquiries – 4 in 2012)

He has also been instructed by local authority landowners to represent them at village green inquiries/hearings. Examples include:

  • Pakefield Old Golf Course, Lowestoft – for Suffolk C.C.
  • Oak Victoria site, Oldham – for Oldham M.B.C.
  • Ffordd yr Eglwys, North Cornelly – for Bridgend C.B.C.
  • Runnymede Paddocks, Thundersley – for Castle Point B.C.
  • Gooshays – for London Borough of Havering
  • Lee Chapel North, Kent View Road, and Pound Lane (three inquiries) – all for Basildon B.C.
  • He has also frequently advised private sector and local authority landowners in relation to actual or potential village green 'problems', including advising on (lawful) schemes aimed at minimising or overcoming such problems. Notable examples have arisen in Berkshire, East Sussex, Greater London, Monmouthshire and other parts of South Wales, north-west England, and in other locations. Notably, a scheme devised by Alun for the developers Barratts was successfully defended in the High Court in BDW Trading Ltd (t/a Barratt Homes) v Spooner [2011] EWHC 290 (QB)

He has also spoken on village green law at numerous conferences, seminars, etc.


Compulsory purchase and compensation
Alun has a varied and active practice, ranging from extensive advisory work to appearances at Inquiries, the Lands Tribunal, and in the Courts.
Recent examples include:

Promoting CPOs for Swansea for a new bus station/transport interchange, and for a new off-highway express bus route.
Snook v Somerset CC (Lands Tribunal) compulsory purchase compensation including extensive 'ransom strip' claim.
Promoting CPO for Vale of Glamorgan at Penarth Heights (successfully resolved without need for inquiry).

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Overview

Apart from his property-related work which falls clearly under other headings within this Profile (notably 'Planning' and 'Compulsory Purchase', which see), the majority of Alun's work within the field of property law falls under the following specialist headings:

  • 'Town and Village Greens' – a very major part of Alun's practice – see sub-heading under 'Planning' area of practice in this Profile.
  • Common Land issues which do not relate to 'Town or village green' claims.
  • Restrictive Covenants and their discharge or modification through the Lands Tribunal procedure.
  • Rating – Alun has very extensive experience in Rating law and practice, including numerous appearances in the courts (from the Magistrates to the House of Lords) and the relevant tribunals (Local Valuation Tribunal and Lands Tribunal).
  • Public or Private Rights of Way – the law relating to Highways and Public Rights of Way, property in and rights over public rights of way of all descriptions – including appearing in public inquiries and litigation in relation to rights of way claims. His practice also includes advisory work in relation to easements in the nature of private rights of way, the maintenance/upkeep of private streets, etc.

Public rights over land
Land with development potential is frequently the subject of claims that it enjoys public rights.

These claims can relate to commons and village greens, public rights of way, or CROW Act access land. A very large part of Alun's practice relates to matters of this nature.

For 'Town and Village Green' issues – see the 'Commons, town and village greens' sub-heading under the 'Planning' area of practice in this Profile.

Public or Private Rights of Way – the law relating to Highways and Public Rights of Way, property in and rights over public rights of way of all descriptions is one of Alun's particular specialisms [he edited the relevant section on this topic in the Highways volume of Halsbury's Laws (4th edition)]. His work in this field incudes appearing in public inquiries and litigation in relation to rights of way claims. His practice also includes advisory work in relation to easements in the nature of private rights of way, the maintenance/upkeep of private streets, etc.

He also deals with issues relating to common land which go beyond 'village green' claims and disputes, and matters such as access land under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act.

Overview

As part of his work under all the other headings listed in this profile, Alun has very frequently been involved in Judicial Review proceedings relating to public law decisions, whether these have the formal status of "Judicial Review" under the Civil Procedure Rules, or are the analogous provisions for the quashing of decisions for error of law under the various relevant statutory codes, e.g. the Town and Country Planning Acts, or the Highways and Compulsory Purchase legislation. Alun also deals with these topics extensively on an advisory basis.

In addition to his normal advocacy/advisory practice, Alun has had very considerable experience of being appointed by Government departments, local authorities, etc., to hold public inquiries and other 'quasi-judicial' hearings into various matters within the public law field. Many of these have related to Commons Act 'Village Green' claims, but they have also covered a much wider range, including environmental byelaws, fatal fires, alleged planning corruption, genetically modified seed licensing, veterinary medicine licensing, parliamentary boundaries, etc.

Examples of the Public Inquiries or Hearings he has been appointed to hold on behalf of Government Departments or local authorities include:

Lake Windermere speed limit (byelaw) Inquiry
Chardon LL Inquiry – Licensing of genetically modified seed variety for normal agricultural use
Kingston (Canbury Gardens) Inquiry – alleged local government corruption (planning)
Palmeira Avenue fatal fire inquiry, Hove
Veterinary medicines (antibiotic for cattle) licensing hearing, for DEFRA
Parliamentary boundary inquiries in Berkshire and Somerset.
Very numerous 'Town or Village Green' Inquiries.

Local authority governance and services
Alun has an extensive practice in the general field of local government law (powers, avoidance of "ultra vires", local government finance etc.) and also practises in certain specialist areas including:

  • Highways - rights of way, promotion of road schemes (eg Linslade Western Bypass for Buckinghamshire C.C.)
  • 'Town and Village Greens' – a very major part of Alun's practice – see the 'Commons, town and village greens' sub-heading under the 'Planning' area of practice in this profile.
  • Open Spaces, parks and pleasure grounds.
  • Allotments
  • Electoral law, Local Governance Reviews, etc.
  • Rating – Alun has very extensive experience in Rating law and practice, including numerous appearances in the courts (from the Magistrates to the House of Lords) and the relevant tribunals (Local Valuation Tribunal and Lands Tribunal).

Halsbury’s Laws

1st January 2010

Alun was responsible for the section Property in and Rights on Highways in the Highways volume of Halsbury's Laws (4th edition, original version).

  • Alun was a founder member of the Planning & Environment Bar Association (PEBA).
  • Member of the Compulsory Purchase Association
  • Member of the Administrative Law Bar Association (ALBA)
  • Member of the Parliamentary Bar Mess
  • Member of the Ecclesiastical Law Society
  • Member of the British-Spanish Law Association

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