Stephen was born in Cardiff and trained as a solicitor in South Wales, qualifying in 1976. He has practised in Devon and Cornwall ever since. He joined Parnalls in 2020.
He deals with all aspects of the sale and purchase of domestic business and commercial property, both freehold and leasehold. He has acted for landlords and tenants in the granting, taking and transferring of the business tenancies of all kinds of commercial premises. He has a wide experience of property transactions, from vacant land, farms, shops, offices, hotels, pubs and restaurants, and industrial premises, to the acquisition and assembly of development sites.
Stephen has had detailed interest and experience in planning law in both private practice and the public sector over a continuous period since 1976.
In private practice, Stephen advised the then operators of a regional airport and airline services in successfully seeking the call-in of an application for the establishment of a gliding club on a nearby site. At the ensuing two-week Public Inquiry before an Inspector and an expert Assessor, he appeared as advocate in opposition to those proposals, which were in due course refused by the Secretary of State. This was challenging in terms of the technical and environmental issues involved, the regulation of air traffic control, and the inter-relationship between that and the statutory planning framework.
In the public sector, Stephen was lead solicitor for three local authorities (District, Unitary and County) involved in the on-going negotiation and drafting of the terms of a planning agreement for the delivery of a privately promoted multi-million-pound new sustainable community in open countryside to the east of Plymouth. The project involved 5,500 houses, retail, industrial and other commercial development, public buildings, schools, library and health infrastructure provision, major highway improvements, the creation of a High-Quality Public Transport system designed to reduce private car movements, and the promotion of renewable energy generation by means of wind turbines built as part of the community.
This required a depth and breadth of knowledge across many aspects of planning and administrative law and Government guidance, in relation to the validation and determination of planning applications, environmental assessment, the scope and purpose of planning agreements, considerations of viability and deliverability, and the mechanisms and enforceability of planning obligations.
At different times, Stephen has promoted or opposed development proposals at Local Plan and development management levels, and from developer, objector and local planning authority viewpoints. I have prepared reports for and represented individuals, companies, local groups and associations, and local authority members and committees on green field and redevelopment sites, retail and industrial premises and residential development in both urban and rural settings, and in connection with applications at local authority and appeal level. Stephen has negotiated, drafted and concluded planning agreements relating to affordable housing, education, transport and public open space provision and developer financial contributions. He has also advised on, prepared and presented appeals against agricultural occupancy and other planning conditions, refusals, and enforcement action, both on the basis of written legal submissions and at hearings and Inquiries before Inspectors.
He has been a keen amateur photographer for many years, believing a walk with a camera is good exercise. He also enjoys travel, particularly exploring the area of the Lot Valley in France, where he and his wife Lesley have a house.
Stephen is married and lives in Tavistock. Between them, he and his wife have three children and four grandchildren.