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Poonam Pattni

Planning and Land

Poonam is a versatile public law barrister.

She has experience of dealing with a broad range of local government and planning matters. She is particularly adept at dealing with complex and overlapping areas of law and presenting them in an accessible manner.

She is very familiar with managing the often-competing interests involved in public law and clients welcome her pragmatic approach to litigation.

Poonam’s public law practice has a particular focus on planning and highways (including ROW) related matters, she has represented developers, local authorities and interested parties at all levels from hearing and inquiries to onwards appeals.

Cases Of Interest:

• Challenged LPA’s decision in the High Court to refuse prospective developer site access on council owned land (Enterprise Hangars v Fareham Borough Council [2023] EWHC 2060, the case concerned the scope of section 1 of the Localism Act 2011 and procedural irregularities within the LPA’s decision making process.

• Represented an LPA against a judicial review of a decision to grant planning permission under s73 of the TCPA 1990, case concerned proper approach to commencement and implementation of a planning permission, (Atwill v New Forest National Park Authority [2023] EWHC 625 (Admin).

• Junior counsel for the LPA in a five-day multi-track trial for a planning injunction, the case was of local and political interest.

• Defended committal proceedings brought by an LPA for the breach of a planning injunction. The injunction order was also discharged against the defendant with no order for costs.

• Obtained an urgent out of hours emergency planning injunction against ‘persons unknown’ from the High Court under sections 214A and section 187 Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to prevent unauthorised tree felling on national park land. Retained to deal with the prosecution of known offenders, see news article here.

• Advised on appeal to the High Court under section 288 and section 289 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to have a planning inspectors’ decision quashed.

• Sole counsel in a three-day planning inquiry concerning an operational development on conservation land, the case involved listed building considerations.
• Successfully defended a claim for damages in the county court made against a local planning authority, the case concerned the jurisdiction of the county court in dealing with such matters.

• Sole counsel for a highway’s authority in a two-day multi-track trial concerning the legal status of a verge.

• Successfully represented LPA in a case challenging listing of an ACV (Roffe v West Berkshire Council and anor (Appeal No: CR/2019/0010)

• Acted for the Council in a case concerning the correct ‘start’ date for the prosecution period for non-compliance with an enforcement notice, distinguishing R v Kuxhaus. The court made a confiscation order of £45,000.00, press coverage here.

• Advised private landowners on compulsory purchase and compensation arising from redevelopment of an ancient highway.

• Successful application to strike out a collateral challenge to a traffic regulation order and dismissal of a claim in trespass.

• Advised a multinational company with a complex corporate structure charged with advertising offences, the prosecution was subsequently withdrawn.

• Second prosecution of a local village pub which had been converted into residential use without prior planning permission, press coverage here.

• Prosecution for non-compliance with a planning enforcement notice resulting in a £20,000 fine, press coverage here.

Property and Social Housing

Poonam accepts instructions on all areas of social housing and property.

She frequently represents social housing providers in contested possession proceedings with a focus on anti-social behaviour matters engaging the Equality Act 2010.

She also deals with homelessness reviews and appeals including challenges to the High Court.

Poonam has a niche interest in housing standards issues.

She was sole counsel in one of the few reported cases on houses in multiple occupation, concerning the proper interpretation of secondary legislation.

She has since advised and represented numerous housing authorities on the civil financial penalty notice regime brought in under the Housing and Planning Act 2016 and gives regular training though external providers.

Poonam can also provide high level advice on policy matters and the preparation of local guidance.

Cases Of Interest:

• Defended LHA in a judicial review concerning HMO Licence conditions, Poonam was thanked by the busy High Court Judge for her concise written submissions, her two-page skeleton argument was described as “beautiful”.

• In a case concerning multiple alleged breaches of covenant under the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002, successfully defended spurious allegations made against a vulnerable leaseholder.

• Defended LHA in a complex homelessness appeal to the High Court involving challenges to allocation guidance.

• Represented LHAs in the First Tier Tribunal in cases involving large portfolio landlords running multiple unlicensed Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) issued with civil financial penalty notices.

• Represented LHA in Woking Borough Council v Johnson [2017] EWHC 2547, the High Court gave guidance on calculating the number of qualifying storeys for a licensable House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

• Advised on HMO licensing obligations and the relationship with planning permission.

• Advised billing authority in a complex dispute over liability for non-domestic rates, the site was a multi-tenant aviation site which had been sub-divided by the VOA.

• Represented a local authority in two-day trial for breach of an anti-social behaviour injunction order where there were 89 allegations.

• Represented a social landlord in obtaining a decanting injunction order against a vulnerable tenant with hoarding tendencies.

• Succeeded on appeal against the making of a suspended possession order over an introductory tenancy on grounds that the order was unlawful.

• Represented local authority in a contested closure order application where a property was being used for buying and selling drugs, full closure order obtained.

• Represented a local authority in a s.204 appeal where the sole ground of appeal based on the Equality Act 2010, appeal dismissed.

• Obtained an injunction order for gang related violence against three youths with a full town centre exclusion zone.

• Represented LHA in one of the earlier appeals against a financial penalty notice (RH6/7AB_CHI/43UF/HFNA/2019/011)

Poonam is the acting head of equality and diversity in Chambers. She is particularly passionate about individuals from disadvantaged and historically underrepresented backgrounds to join the bar. Prior to starting her own career as a barrister, Poonam spent several years working as a legal officer for an organisation campaigning on behalf of BAME women and children. She is currently an administrator for the Western Circuit Bar None mentoring scheme and coordinates the Hampshire Schools Outreach project.