Gavin Charles Collett

Gavin Charles Collett

Call 1993 - Inner Temple

The Legal 500 – The Clients Guide to Law FirmsRecognised in the Legal 500
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.

Property & Chancery

Along with his extensive planning experience Gavin has appeared in numerous cases involving rights on or over, or involving land.

Recent Notable Cases

Roebuck v Cornwall Council 2011-12-16

Parker v Palmer 2010

In the First Tier Tribunal Property Chamber (Ref/2017/0240) 

John Sloman & Helen Sloman


Sally Goodall & Christine Welch

The Applicants claimed an easement over the land under the doctrine of lost modern grant or by prescription.  The Respondents claimed that the use of the access was with permission; was infrequent and interrupted and thus no easement has been obtained.

Acting for Respondents (Mr Auld, Counsel for Claimants).  Claim withdrawn.

In the First Tier Tribunal Property Chamber (Ref/2017/0240) 

Christopher Woodward & Robert Voce (Trustees for the Hopton Court Estate)


Jennifer Perry & Hillocks Development Ltd

Applicant sought to register an easement across neighbouring land.  Respondents denied the right.

Acting for Applicants, (David Nuttall, Counsel for Respondents), Easement registered.

Regulatory, Public & Administrative


Planning Inquiry – Section 78 Appeal, Newton Road, 2018 

Gladman Developments


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


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


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.

Warwick District Council – Local Plan Inquiry

Appeal against the adoption of Warwick District Plan by third parties and 7 Parish Councils.  Basis of challenge that artificial need for housing had allowed development on Green Belt land.  Whether the Green Belt hierarchy within the area should be a material consideration and to what degree. Whether High Court challenge should be commenced.


In the High Court (Queens Bench Division) 2017

Cornwall Council


Andrew Hearn

Before the Cornwall Justices the Respondents had appealed against the issue of an Abatement Notice.  Notice was dismissed by Justices finding that the Council had fettered its discretion. Costs of £27,000 awarded.  Cornwall appealed by way of case stated to the High Court on a number of issues including whether the Magistrates were open to find that public law remedies in an Abatement appeal.  Appeal by way of case stated against the decision of the Cornwall Magistrates Court to dismiss the Abatement Notice issued by the Appellant Authority as they had fettered their discretion in issuing the Notice.  Issues for the High Court;

  1. i) Was it correct for the Justices to consider the legal arguments before evidence was called?
  2. ii) Did Cornwall Council fetter their discretion?

iii) If, yes, does such an unlawful act ‘taint’ the issue of the Abatement Notice?

  1. iv) If, yes, does a Magistrates Court have authority to prevent such unlawfulness?
  2. v) Were the Magistrates right to award costs, should they have assessed those costs?

Acting for the Respondent (Appellant at first Instance).  Sancho Brett (In-House barrister) for the Appellants.  Appeal withdrawn.

Exeter Magistrates Court (2018)

Dogs Day Out


East Devon District Council

Appeal against the imposition of condition upon a Local Authority Licence.

Acting for the Respondent Local Authourity (Mr Mark Shell, solicitor, for the Appellant).  Appeal dismissed on all grounds.

Taunton Deane Magistrates Court (2017) 

Power Poles Ltd


Sedgemoor District Council

Acting for Council against an appeal of an abatement notice alleging a statutory nuisance caused by smell (creosote). Whether an abatement notice could be issued to pre-empt a nuisance when a nuisance had occurred on another nearby site.  Appeal by Power Poles on the basis that:

(a)        the notice was not justified by the terms of the said Section:

(b)        that the Council unreasonably refused to accept compliance with alternative requirements.

Acting for Sedgemoor District Council, (Christopher Hopkins, Counsel, for the Appellants).  Appeal dismissed with costs.

Exeter Magistrates Court (2017)

East Devon District Council


Paul Sparks

Prosecution for allowing the death of a dog in the care of kennels.

Acting for Prosecution, (David Campbell, Counsel, instructed by Ashfords, for Defendant). Convicted of various offences under the Animal Welfare Act and in breach of the licence.

Reported Cases

  • Williams -v- Devon CC – Court of Appeal (Civil Division), 19 April 2016 [2016] EWCA Civ 419
  • Ecotricity (Next Generation) Ltd -v- Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government – Court of Appeal (Civil Division), 28 April 2015 [2015 EWCA Civ 657
  • Williams -v- Devon CC – Queen’s Bench Division (Administrative Court), 6 March 2015 [2015 EWHC 568 (Admin)
  • Belcher -v- Dartmoor National Park Authority – Planning Inspector, 11 July 2014 [2014] P.A.D. 41
  • North Lincolnshire CC -v- Act Fast North Lincolnshire (CIC) – Queen’s Bench Division (Administrative Court), 4 September 2013 [2013] EWHC 2890 (Admin)
  • Baker -v- South Downs National Park Authority – Planning Inspector, 10 October 2012 [2013] P.A.D. 3
  • Coronation Power Ltd -v- Cornwall Council – Planning Inspector, 10 October 2012 [2012] P.A.D. 46
  • East Devon District Council -v- Farr [2002] EWHC 115 (Admin)
  • New Forest District Council -v- Shutler & others [2005] EWHC 3122 (Admin)
  • Mrs K Curtis v (1) The First Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (2) The North Somerset Council [2009] EWHC 839
  • Chester v Carrick D.C. [2010] P.A.D. 16

Other Major Cases

Brent Knoll Wind Farm. August 2007

Proposed wind farm (5 turbine site) by Ecotricity adjacent to Brent Knoll in Somerset. High local profile, issues over lack of sustainable energy within district/County.

Appeal dismissed. First case where the impact of the turbines on visual amenity outweighed the need for renewable energy within an LPA.

Fingle Glen Gap Closure A30. September/October 2008

Major local issue inquiry called in by two Secretaries of State. Acted pro bono for protesters. Major negative outcome of closure allegedly offset by safety benefits. Major dispute on the accuracy of the Highway Agencies figures. Closure order not confirmed. Junction now fully reopened.


2:1 LL.B.(Hons) (Law and Social Sciences) – Sussex University

Professional Memberships

  • Planning and Environment Bar Association
  • National Association for Planning Enforcement


Interests include: Game Shooting, gourmet food (eating it and cooking it), watching Arsenal and avoiding all forms of exercise