Opposing barristers in Colnbrook SIFE inquiry receive top accolades
That both sets of barristers did extremely well out of the public inquiry into Colnbrook SIFE in 2015 will come as no surprise. But the two lead barristers on either side have won major plaudits in a recent survey of solicitors and planning professionals, with their activity over SIFE cited.
The two lead barristers in the Colnbrook SIFE inquiry certainly did their careers no harm in taking on the case – even the loser took top prize in a survey of planning staff.
At the top of Planning Resource magazine’s “silks table” this year is Christopher Katkowski QC of Landmark Chambers, Goodman’s lead in taking on Slough Borough Council, and “a favoured representative of developers at inquiries”. Katkowski claimed first place for the second year running, and also held on to the number one ranking in the appeals inquiry category, demonstrating that the Australian developer spared no resources in its efforts to bulldoze the appeal through.
Despite his defeat last July, the magazine described Goodman’s eloquent bruiser in the SIFE inquiry as “a brilliant advocate who has a very pragmatic and accessible style”.
However it saves higher praise for the more junior Richard Ground QC of Cornerstone Barristers, who represented Slough Borough Council – and eventually won. Ground recorded nothing less than a “meteoric” rise this year, jumping from 37th in the rankings in 2016 to jointly occupy 17th place this year. The survey specifically cites his work for Slough Borough Council “to successfully oppose plans by developer Goodman Logistics Development to develop a 58-hectare strategic rail freight interchange in green belt near the A4” for his success.
The barristers’ survey results were based on validated responses from planning solicitors, planning consultants, planning officers, developers and council solicitors.
As we know following the weekend’s news about Goodman’s High Court challenge, however, losing an appeal is not necessarily the end to a fight. So practiced is Landmark Chambers in such matters that it even runs an annual seminar on how to make successful High Court challenges, focusing on legal issues around developing on Green Belt.
Despite seven years of hard campaigning on the issue of SIFE, some at least are reaping rewards from the impasse.