Gavin Charles Collett

Call 1993 – Inner Temple

Recognised in the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners
Chambers is delighted to congratulate Gavin Collett on his ranking as a leading individual on the Western Circuit by the Legal 500. A leading member of our civil team, Gavin is described as being ‘highly experienced in planning, highways, and rights of way matters.’

The Legal 500 2011/12 and in every publication to date states ‘His practice encompasses planning, highways, and rights of way.’
UK Chambers & Partners recommend Gavin as “He has a good grasp of the issues and his preparation is very good. He has an eye for detail. He’s also good tactically and is able to relate to clients.”

After service in HM Forces, Gavin began his legal career in a prestigious planning law set in London. He moved to Devon in 1995 where has established himself as the pre-eminent specialist in matters of planning law and highways law. He also holds an honorary teaching fellowship from Exeter University since 2011.

The mainstay of his practice is planning, highways and rights of way. Gavin heads the Magdalen Administrative & Regulatory team and has become extremely sought after for his presentation skills and his detailed cross examination of professional witnesses in planning matters. He is described as approachable and understandable by his clients; and as, “A man that can get results.”

He has successfully challenged the Secretary of State in the High Court in 2016 as well as bringing a Highway Authority to account. Whether a small scale development or major infrastructure Gavin gives 100% and can achieve the best result for his clients.

Gavin acts for numerous local authorities as well as developers and private individuals. He also accepts direct instructions from members of the public.

Regulatory, Public & Administrative

Planning, Minerals & Waste

Somerset County Council v Eclipse – August 2019 

Acting for SCC as the Waste Planning Authority for Somerset. Question of the issuing of an Enforcement Notice as  it appeared there had been a breach of planning control and that it was expedient to issue the notice.  Challenged by the users of the site that the use was permitted and therefore issued in error.  Appeal subsequently withdrawn.

Bournemouth, Dorset & Poole Mineral Sites Plan – November 2018 

Application to include two omitted sites from the Mineral Extraction Plan. Major public opposition to the inclusion of the two sites.  Argued effect on both AONB and conservation areas as well as protected species. Sites successfully included in final Plan.

Planning Inquiry – Section 78 Appeal, Newton Road, 2018 

Gladman Developments v Sedgemoor District Council 

This was an Appeal brought by Gladman Developments Ltd (App) is against the refusal by Sedgemoor District Council (SDC) of a planning application (37/17/00052) for outline permission (with all matters to be reserved with the exception of access) but of the four reasons for refusal that were given, three of the reasons for refusal (archaeology, flooding and highway safety) had been subsequently resolved by the submission of further evidence, conditions and certain undertakings from the App.  Therefore before the Inspector the LPA relied upon the single remaining reason for refusal, namely that the proposal conflicted with the Development Plan (DP) policies. It was agreed that the Public Inquiry was primarily an issue of principle.  The main issue being whether the application fails to satisfy the policies under the Core Strategy (CS), the LPA stated that it did not, and whether those policies can be held to be up-to-date, or not.  Further if the policies were out of date whether the planning balance then tilted as per paragraph 14 of the NPPF in favour of grant.

Acted for LPA, Mr Easton (Counsel for Gladmans).  Held: Appeal refused. (Judicial Review – pending) 

Planning Hearing – Section 78 Appeal (2017)

PINs Ref: APP/G300/W/17/3178114 

Hopkins Developments V Somerset County Council

Public Inquiry into whether appropriate to use landfill to level agricultural land to improve efficiency.  Consideration of the use of waste hierarchy in the Local Plan.  The effect on the local highway network, living conditions of nearby residents and biodiversity.

Acted for Somerset County Council Appellant Mr M Kendrick, Grass Roots Planning). Decision – Appeal dismissed.

Planning Inquiry – Section 78 Appeal, Shudrick Lane, 2017

Planning Inspectorate Ref:  APP/R3325/W/16/3152932

C G Fry & Son & Dillington Estate V South Somerset District Council

(Save Shudrick Valley – Rule 6 Party) 

Application for 220 dwellings refused by the LPA.  Main issues for the Rule 6 representations:

(a)        That the development was contrary to policy;

(b)       The adverse impact on landscape and visual amenity;

(c)        The adverse impact on heritage assets;

(d)       Highway issues including the impact on the wider network;

(e)        Flooding; 

(Neil Cameron Q.C. Instructed by Turleys, for the Appellants).

(Felicity Thomas Counsel for South Somerset District Council)

Acted for the Rule 6 Party.  Appeal dismissed.

Professor England v (1) Secretary of State f or Communities and Local Government, (2)  Melton Borough Council, (3) THORPE Say NO (2016) (Unreported).

High Court.  High Court challenge to Secretary of State’s called in decision to refuse a wind turbine.  Acting at first instance and in the High Court for the Appellant. Defendants conceded appeal. New appeal instigated, called in by Secretary of State; turbine now permitted.  Decision – Appeal allowed.  Opponent – Treasury Solicitors.

Highways & Rights of Way


Numerous Cases involving Experimental Traffic Orders and Traffic Orders in response to the Covid 19 pandemic. 

Several cases in Devon, Wiltshire, Somerset and London , where Local Authorities have exercised powers under the Covid 19 Regulations to prevent or restrict access to highways.  Currently one pending, one removed and 12 the subject of High Court challenges.

National Major Infrastructure Inquiry – A303 Sparkford to Ilchester Dualling Scheme

Instructed on behalf of Somerset County Council to ensure that the Counties interests were upheld by the Secretary of State in the recommendations.  Successfully represented the County and all relevant issues were included in the Joint Inspectors report to the Secretary of State.  The Applicant was Highways England, other main parties included District Authorities and National Agencies. The Examining Authority issued a Recommendation Report to the Secretary of State on 12 September 2019. The Secretary of State has set a new deadline for the decision for this application which is 20 November 2020.


The Padstow Harbour Commissioners v. Llyr Faragher 11th September 2019

In the Bodmin Magistrates Court.  Acting on behalf of the Harbour Commissioners.  Prosecution of Mr Faragher for using a jet ski within the harbour without authority.  Issues raised involved all the evidence, identification, use, hearsy and whether the Bye Laws were in force.  Prosecution successful.

Mid Devon District Council v Culm Vale Gun Club June 2019

Represented Mid Devon District Council in a sensitive noise abatement case.  Issues included the nature and extent of the noise and whether the effect was significant.  Difficulties arose due to the historical use of the site and the considerable support for the use.  Successfully achieved the correct outcome by negotiated consent.

Exeter Magistrates Court (2018)

Dogs Day Out V East Devon District Council

Appeal against the imposition of condition upon a Local Authority Licence. Acting for the Respondent Local Authority (Mr Mark Shell, solicitor, for the Appellant).  Appeal dismissed on all grounds.

Property & Chancery
Reported Cases
Other Major Cases
Professional Memberships

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