Ben is a specialist in planning, administrative and public law, and licensing
He acts for and advises a broad range of public authorities and private clients, including landlords, developers, the licensed trade and private individuals. Ben is a member of the Attorney General’s C Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown and represents the UK Government across his core practice areas.
Ben is regularly instructed in his own capacity in planning inquiries and High Court matters, and is often requested to act as junior counsel to senior members of chambers in cases of national significance.
Ben accepts instructions in planning, licensing and administrative and public law. He acts for and advises a broad range of public authorities and private clients, including landlords, developers, the licensed trade and private individuals.
Ben graduated from University College, Durham, with a 1st class honours degree in Law and has a LLM in Environmental Law and Policy from University College London. He was called to the Bar in 2013 as a Lord Diplock scholar at Middle Temple.
- Planning and Environment
Ben is ranked as a leading junior for planning in Legal 500 (2023) and Chambers and Partners (2023) and as one of the top-rated planning juniors under 35 by Planning Magazine (2022).
He has a busy planning practice acting in respect of a wide range of planning and highways matters including residential, retail, infrastructure schemes, enforcement work and plan making.
Ben acts for both private clients and public authorities and is a member of the Attorney General’s C Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown, regularly representing the UK Government in planning matters. He frequently appears in the High Court and the Court of Appeal.
He is a committee member of the Planning and Environment Bar Association and a contributor to Butterworth’s Planning Law Service.
Some of his recent work is set out below.
Court of Appeal
Successfully acted for the Secretary of State in Gardiner v Hertsmere Borough Council  EWCA Civ 1166. The case concerned a question of statutory interpretation about the exemption from liability to Community Infrastructure Levy (“CIL”) for “self-build” housing development under regulations 54A and 54B of the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010 and whether that exemption is available when planning permission is granted retrospectively for such development, under section 73A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Ben was led by Richard Honey KC.
Successfully acted for Historic England in City & Country Bramshill Limited v SSHCLG  EWCA Civ 320. The case addresses a number of important issues including the correct approach to heritage policies in the NPPF.
Successfully acted for the Appellant in Lochailort v Mendip District Council  EWCA Civ 1259. The Court of Appeal quashed the Council’s decision to approve a neighbourhood plan policy which designated his client’s land as an area of Local Green Space. Ben was led by Richard Ground KC.
Acting for the Secretary of State in respect of a proposed challenge to the grant of planning permission for a well site for the exploration and appraisal of a gas deposit at Dunsfold. Permission was refused on the papers, but the Claimant has renewed its application. Ben is led by Guy Williams.
Acting for Lochailort Investment Ltd resisting a challenge to the adoption of Mendip District Council’s Part II Plan. The plan allocates his client’s site for housing development. Ben is led by James Findlay KC.
Acting for Community Health Partnership Ltd in a judicial review of the decision of the London Borough of Barnet to grant his client planning permission for 130 units of accommodation for NHS workers on a site adjacent to Finchley Memorial Hospital. Ben is led by Richard Ground KC.
Successfully acted for the Secretary of State in Heronslea (Bushey 4) Ltd v SSHCLG  EWHC 96 (Admin). The case concerned a question of statutory construction of the CIL Regs and the consequences of a failure to submit a commencement notice for the entitlement to social housing relief. Ben was led by Richard Honey KC.
Appeared for the Claimant in R (Stratton) v Enfield BC  EWHC 404 (Admin). A local authority had granted planning permission on the basis of a mistake of fact. The case concerned the court’s exercise of discretion where a claim has become academic. The Claimant was successful in obtaining its costs.
Appeared for the Secretary of State in Stratford on Avon DC v SSLUHC  EWHC 445 (Admin). The case concerned the correct interpretation of policies in the LPA’s development plan.
Acted on behalf of Test Valley Borough Council to obtain an injunction pursuant to s.187B of the TCPA 1990 to secure the demolition of a dwelling which was erected without planning permission.
Provided written submissions on behalf of the Secretary of State in the case of Stonewater (2) Limited v Wealden District Council  EWHC 2750. The submissions concerned a question of statutory construction of the CIL Regs related to claims for social housing relief. The court and other parties agreed with that construction.
Provided written submissions on behalf of the Secretary of State in the case of Gardiner v Hertsmere BC  EWHC 1875. The case concerned a question of statutory interpretation about the exemption from liability to Community Infrastructure Levy (“CIL”) for “self-build” housing development under the CIL Regs. The judgment has since been upheld in the Court of Appeal.
Successfully acted for Historic England in City and Council Bramshill Ltd v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government  EWHC 3437 (Admin). Ben was led by Richard Ground KC. The case addresses a number of important issues including the correct approach to heritage policies in the NPPF.
Acted for Lochailort in R. (on the application of Lochailort Investments Ltd) v Mendip DC  EWHC 2633 (QB). He was led by Richard Ground KC. They successfully obtained interim relief to prevent a local planning authority from holding a referendum on a draft neighbourhood plan whilst Lochailort pursued a challenge to the draft policies concerning local green space.
Regularly appears on behalf of the Secretary of State in s.288 and s.289 permission hearings.
Acting for Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in a s.78 appeal concerning their refusal of planning permission for a 45MW solar farm. The main issues include the landscape and heritage impacts of the scheme.
Successfully acted for Halstead Parish Council at an inquiry resisting a s.78 appeal in respect of the development of up to 800 dwellings, a primary school and sport facilities on greenbelt land (APP/G2245/W/21/3273188).
Successfully acted for Manor Oak Homes in a s.78 appeal obtaining a grant of planning permission for the erection of up to 150 dwellings on a greenfield site adjacent to an AONB (APP/Q3115/W/21/3272377). Ben was led by Richard Ground KC.
Successfully acted for the Roseacre Awareness Group at the public inquiry into proposed shale gas exploration works at Roseacre Wood. The fracking site was promoted by Cuadrilla. RAG successfully opposed the scheme on the basis of highways safety and suitability objections (APP/Q2371/W/15/3134385).
Successfully acted for Bristol City Council at an inquiry into the proposed expansion of Cribbs Causeway outside of Bristol. Ben was led by Richard Ground KC. The scheme proposed 80,000 sq m of new town centre space. Bristol City Council opposed the scheme on the basis of its retail impacts on the city centre, the availability of a sequentially preferable site and the highways impacts of the scheme (APP/P0119/V/17/3170627).
Successfully acted for North Norfolk District Council in a s.174 appeal whereby an Inspector upheld an enforcement notice requiring the cessation of a residential use of a building (APP/Y2620/C/19/3241718).
Successfully acted for an appellant in a s.174 appeal against an enforcement notice requiring demolition by obtaining planning permission under ground (a) for a dwelling in the green belt which was built without planning permission (APP/N1025/C/19/3238932).
Successfully acted for a client in an appeal under s.195 of the TCPA 1990 to obtain a certificate of lawful use in respect of the use of a two storey side extension as an independent residential dwelling (APP/T0355/X/21/3269997).
Successfully acted for a client in an appeal under s.195 of the TCPA to obtain a certificate of lawful use in respect of the use of a caravan ancillary to a host dwelling (APP/X0360/X/21/3271863).
Successful acted for the developer in an inquiry concerning a residential development on Kingsland High Street in Hackney. Ben succeeded in obtaining a certificate of lawfulness for his client’s development and the enforcement notice which had been issued by the Council was quashed (APP/U5360/C/19/3241981).
- Strategic advice to a local planning authority on the progression and adoption of their Local Plan.
- Advice to central government on a number of legislative changes to the planning regime concerning the use class order and GPDO
- Advice to a local planning authority on a definitive map modification order concerning over 100 rights of way. Led by Michael Bedford KC.
- Advice to Historic England in respect of the proposed Holocaust Memorial at Victoria Tower Gardens in Westminster and in respect of the redevelopment of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry.
- Richard Ground QC and Ben Du Feu appeared successfully to secure up to 150 houses for Manor Oak Homes at Inquiry28 Sep 2021
- Bramshill: the NPPF, isolated homes in the countryside, and the assessment of harms and benefits to heritage assets11 Mar 2021
- Court of Appeal granted permission to challenge Neighbourhood Plan on all grounds30 Jun 2020
- Planning Judicial Review via Skype25 Mar 2020
- Secretary of State dismisses Cuadrilla fracking proposals at Roseacre Wood over highways safety concerns13 Feb 2019
- The importance of good design: climate change and conservation areas14 Jan 2019
- Interpretation of housing strategy and land supply policy in national and development plan policy upheld02 Jan 2019
- Secretary of State confirms that town centres are the first port of call for main town centre uses03 Oct 2018
- Major infrastructure and proportionality of contributions, the role of indemnities and delays in the appeal process09 Aug 2018
- Chinnor Conjoined Planning Inquiry01 Jun 2018
- Court of Appeal upholds CIL self build exemption ruling19 Aug 2022
- Tom Cosgrove QC, Ashley Bowes and Ben du Feu have been elected or co-opted onto the Planning & Environment Bar Association (PEBA) committee19 Jul 2022
- Cornerstone Planning Day 2021 – Tickets available20 Sep 2021
- NEW BRIEFING – Local authorities post COVID-19. All you need to know01 Jul 2020
- Planning Law Survey 2020 – Barristers at Cornerstone among the “most-admired”30 Mar 2020
- Interpreting planning policy: a judicial plea for simplicity and an end to excessive legalism that is likely to fall on deaf ears’: J.P.L. 2019, 5, 444-455.26 Apr 2019
- Leisure Sector News Round-up21 May 2018
- Response to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee’s inquiry on fracking24 Apr 2018
Ben advises and represents local authorities, responsible authorities, the licensed trade and objectors on matters premises licensing, gambling, sex venue licensing, taxis licensing and sport.
Ben has experience in a broad range of property law and social housing matters.
He regularly acts for landlords in claims for possession. This includes claims against trespassers in the High Court where there is a substantial risk of public disturbance or of serious harm to persons or property which property requires immediate attention.
Ben’s social housing work encompasses the full spectrum of possession claims, applications for injunctions, closure orders, judicial review and s.204 appeals.
- Public Law and Judicial Review
Ben acts for and has advised a wide range of clients in matters concerning judicial reviews and statutory challenges.