Michael’s practice covers all areas of town and country planning, local government law, judicial review, environmental law, infrastructure, highways, and compulsory purchase.
He acts for developers, land owners and public sector clients, including via direct access. Recent clients include residential, retail and commercial developers, landowners, local authorities, and private clients.
He has a substantial inquiry-based practice, covering a diverse range of development projects (from crèches to cemeteries, via castles and tank farms, together with transport, housing, retail, and employment schemes). He has promoted a large number of development plans and is currently engaged in several Local Plan matters.
He also appears in the Courts, both challenging and defending decisions by local and central government on a wide range of planning, environmental, and highway matters.
Michael’s practice embraces large-scale infrastructure projects (including promoting a DCO in Norfolk and several other new roads) and smaller developments in sensitive areas with heritage or environmental constraints.
He is experienced in managing and co-ordinating large teams of expert witnesses and in cross-examining a wide range of professional disciplines. He is a member of Cornerstone Climate, our centre of excellence for climate litigation and advice.
Michael Bedford has repeatedly been ranked as one of the Highest Rated Juniors by Planning Magazine. He is recognised by both the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners for his expertise in planning.
- Planning and Environment
Michael is recognised by both the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners for his expertise in Planning. His experience includes:
Appearing as advocate for the Appellant or Local Planning Authority at Inquiries concerning housing, employment, retail, waste, renewable energy, hazardous substances, infrastructure, heritage and environmental matters. Recent instructions include:
- Retail and leisure, residential, development involving listed buildings and Conservation Areas, loss of employment land, solar farms, development on open space, and development of a cemetery.
- Michael has recently promoted housing development in Faversham, , Kingston upon Thames, and Bracknell.
- Michael promoted a major highway improvement on the A47 at Postwick, Norwich, instructed by the Highways Agency and Norfolk County Council.
- Michael promoted the Norwich Northern Distributor Road as a DCO for a project of national significant under a section 35 direction, instructed by Pinsent Masons for Norfolk County Council.
- Michael promoted a retail foodstore and associated development in Doncaster.
- Michael promoted a large scale MRF on an environmentally sensitive site in north Essex.
- Michael acted for Oxfordshire County Council in resisting a 300,000 tonnes p.a. Energy from Waste facility delivering 24 MW of low carbon energy.
- Acting for Babergh District Council on a large scale solar farm proposal on Grade 2 agricultural land in Suffolk
- Acting for Torbay Council in relation to retail schemes promoted by Morrisons and Tesco in Torquay.
- Acting for Teignbridge District Council in resisting a Tesco foodstore at Dawlish, Devon.
- Michael advised and acted for Basildon Council in the Dale Farm Public Inquiry proceedings.
Promoting and advising on a wide variety of Development Plans. Recent instructions include:
- Test Valley Revised Local Plan
- Teignbridge Local Plan
Objecting on behalf of landowners and developers to a variety of Development Plans. Recent instructions include:
- Promoting housing in the Swale Borough Local Plan.
- Promoting a rail freight interchange in the Central Bedfordshire Local Plan.
- Appearing as advocate for the Appellant or Local Planning Authority at Inquiries concerning Enforcement Notices and Certificates of Lawfulness.
- Advising landowners developers and LPAs on a variety of enforcement and lawful development issues.
- Advising on and appearing for LPAs in relation to planning injunctions.
- Advising on and appearing for LPAs in relation to planning injunctions.
Michael Bedford’s planning and infrastructure work covers a wide range of environmental law issues, including the main European Directives. He has advised on and been involved in co-ordinating many EIA projects. He also advises on SEA and AA requirements, including defending legal challenges to development plans on these grounds.
Michael has a substantial Inquiry based practice but also deals with a wide variety of legal challenges to planning and environmental decisions (both statutory appeals and judicial review). His clients include house builders, retail developers, institutional investors, landowners and local planning authorities and his practice includes all areas of planning (including highways and compulsory purchase).
Michael appeared in Zurich Assurance Ltd v Winchester City Council  EWHC 758 (Admin) in relation to the SEA of a Local Plan and in Abbotskerswell Parish Council v Teignbridge District Council  EWHC 4166 (Admin) in relation to both SEA and AA of a Local Plan.
Michael acted for Octagon Developments in two planning inquiries for residential development within five km of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area. Both appeals were allowed, despite objections from Natural England.
Michael also acted for Charles Church Developments promoting a residential development in Wokingham which the Council sought to oppose in part because of a claimed effect on an area of woodland it was seeking to have added to the Thames Basin Heaths SPA. The appeal succeeded and an award of costs was made against the Council.
Compulsory purchase and compensation
Appearing as advocate for Acquiring Authorities in relation to road schemes and urban regeneration projects. Recent instructions include:
- Promoting Norwich Northern Distributor Road DCO (nationally significant highway scheme) instructed by Pinsent Masons for Norfolk County Council.
- Promoting the Postwick Hub A47 Improvement instructed by the Highways Agency and Norfolk County Council.
- Promoting Stowmarket B1115 Relief Road CPO/SRO (road scheme and integrated transport) instructed by Suffolk County Council.
- Promoting A127/A1159 Southend on Sea CPO/SRO (road scheme and urban regeneration) instructed by Southend on Sea Borough Council.
- Promoting South Lowestoft Relief Road CPO/SRO (road scheme, environmental improvement and urban regeneration) instructed by Suffolk County Council.
- Promoting Openshaw District Centre, East Manchester CPO (retail-led urban regeneration project) instructed by Manchester City Council.
Michael has also recently been advising a landowner/business operator on objections to the Lower Thames Crossing Development Consent Order, which involves the compulsory acquisition of part of their site.
- Sizewell C DCO Examination closes today14 Oct 2021
- Sizewell C issue specific hearing sessions commence05 Jul 2021
- Redevelopment of redundant poultry plant for residential rejected as unsustainable in a rural location26 Mar 2021
- Major New Infrastructure Boost for the East Coast27 Sep 2020
- Bats buffered in Devon in the end12 Jun 2020
- Long awaited new bridge for Lowestoft gets the go-ahead30 Apr 2020
- Court of Appeal clarifies St Modwen test for deliverability13 Dec 2019
- Green Belt harm in York outweighed by very special circumstances23 Oct 2019
- Is there a presumption in favour of sustainable development outside of paragraph 14 of the NPPF?01 Jan 2018
- Norwich Northern Distributor Road DCO Examination ends01 Jan 2018
- Prematurity rides to the rescue days before the NPPF01 Jan 2018
- Beccles Southern Relief Road gets the green light from DfT01 Jan 2018
- An End to Interim Planning Guidance?01 Jan 2018
- Six-month examination into UK’s largest proposed solar farm closes29 Mar 2023
- Michael Bedford KC to address NSIP Good Practice for Local Authorities Conference09 Mar 2023
- Examination into the largest solar farm in the uk26 Jul 2022
- Cornerstone Planning Day 2021 – Tickets available20 Sep 2021
- Newly Released: Cornerstone on the Planning Court (Second Edition)12 Mar 2021
- Cornerstone Quarterly Development – Special Edition13 Aug 2020
- Advising Planning Committees on the costs consequences of their decisions16 Jul 2020
- Cornerstone Barristers Planning Bulletin – Issue 401 May 2020
- Planning Law Survey 2020 – Barristers at Cornerstone among the “most-admired”30 Mar 2020
- Four Cornerstone members to start the examination into the Central Bedfordshire Local Plan16 May 2019
- Brexit: Planning and the Environment Outside the EU01 Jan 2018
- Practical Law – A view from the Bar01 Jan 2018
- Silk Day 201601 Jan 2018
- Planning Magazine and Local Government Lawyer – New QC appointments01 Jan 2018
- Cornerstone Barristers announces two new planning silks01 Jan 2018
- Budget 2017 – Chancellor unveils planning measures to tackle housing crisis01 Jan 2018
- Wales Planning Law Update01 Jan 2018
- Major Road Improvement for Norwich01 Jan 2018
- The Solar Farm PPG Sequential Test Bites01 Jan 2018
- Are open air changes of use always inappropriate development in the Green Belt?01 Jan 2018
- CALA: the Fat Lady Sings?01 Jan 2018
- Sainsburys Rebuffed in Saffron Walden01 Jan 2018
- Cala Homes Round 4: To be or not to be?01 Jan 2018
- Cala Homes Round 3: Localism Rules OK?01 Jan 2018
- Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL): What it means for you01 Jan 2018
- Planning and Local Government issues for Wales01 Jan 2018
- Planning Magazine: The Planning Law Survey 201501 Jan 2018
- Cornerstone on the Planning Court29 Oct 2015
Michael has experience in a wide range of property issues relating to the development of land, including restrictive covenants, rights of way and other easements. He has advised on a variety of issues relating to the enforceability and removal of restrictive covenants and relating to the acquisition of easements.
Recent instructions include:
- Advising on restrictive covenants and Village Green claims in relation to a major urban extension for the landowning local authority.
- Advising on restrictive covenants inhibiting residential development.
- Advising on easements and ransom strips in relation to residential development.
- Advising on the use of s.123 Local Government Act 1972 powers in connection with land disposals and site assembly.
Michael successfully resolved a long-running rights of way dispute through the use of mediation to enable residential development to proceed.
Public rights over land
Michael has acted for landowners and developers in relation to the establishment of and interference with private rights of way.
Recent cases include:
- Advising a national house builder on the extent of access rights needed to implement a planning permission.
- Acting for a developer on the renegotiation (via mediation) of rights of way and restrictive covenants to enable residential development.
- Advising a residential developer on the extent of public and private rights of way to implement a planning permission.
Real estate law
Michael advises on the meaning and enforceability of restrictive covenants, particularly in connection with redevelopment proposals. Recent cases include advising on the enforceability of restrictive covenants within Hampstead Garden Suburb, Newport, and Slough.
- Cornerstone Climate
Michael has been involved in a large number of renewable energy projects promoted under the Planning Act 2008’s NSIP regime. These include acting for Suffolk County Council on the East Anglia One North and East Anglia Two offshore wind farms, the Sizewell C nuclear power station, and the Sunnica Energy Farm. He is also acting for Suffolk County Council on the North Falls and Five Estuaries offshore wind farms, the SeaLink and Euro Link Interconnectors, the East Anglia GREEN Grid Reinforcement, and the Bramford to Twinstead Grid Reinforcement.
Michael is also engaged with the carbon implications (embedded and operational) of major infrastructure projects, including the now consented Gullwing bridge at Lowestoft and the Great Yarmouth Third River Crossing, and the forthcoming Norwich Western Link.
Michael has also addressed conferences and written on the subject of Net Zero and its opportunities and challenges for development projects. He is a member of Cornerstone Climate, a centre of excellence for climate litigation and advice.