Who We Are

James Smith

James Smith is the founder and principal of James Smith (Planning Law Services) Limited which he set up in August 2011.

Having previously worked as a member of the planning team at Eversheds LLP, James has extensive experience of acting for clients in both the public and private sectors on a wide variety of planning matters. He has particular experience in relation to providing advice and drafting and negotiating complex planning agreements required in connection with major residential and mixed use schemes. He also advises developers, landowners, local authorities and other public sector organisations on such issues as the production and content of planning policy, planning application procedural requirements, environmental impact assessment and habitat regulations issues, enforcement, compulsory purchase, town and village green law and highways matters.

James has extensive experience of working on high profile and complex development schemes. A good communicator and highly client service orientated, throughout his career he has been described by clients and colleagues as hard working, conscientious and has been praised for his dedication to delivering legally robust yet practical and commercial solutions for clients.

Please click here to request a copy of James's full cv


James operates as a sole practitioner, either on a standalone basis or as part of an integrated wider legal team. However, some projects require more resource than others and where additional resource is required James works in collaboration and partnership with a team of other specialist planning lawyers. This enables him (in consultation with the client) to put in place and manage a bespoke team of lawyers and consultants with the requisite expertise to meet your legal planning needs. Key members of this team are as follows:

Paul Winter
Principal and sole practitioner in Paul Winter & Co. Paul is a member of the Law Society's Specialist Planning Panel and is a Legal Associate Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute. He has practiced as a solicitor for 35+ years and first acted as an advocate in planning inquiries whilst articled to the Town Clerk of Leeds in 1973/4. His passion for planning work has grown throughout his career and this web site provides examples of some of the highlights in that career. He was voted No 1 in the Planning magazine national poll of planning solicitors in 2006 and has generally been included in the top 10 since that poll began. He has presented and published many papers on planning law topics (see the Publications page on this web site) as well as providing tailored workshops and seminars for clients and professional associates.

Gemma Armstrong
Gemma started her career as a trainee at Herbert Smith and during this time, became closely involved in two planning inquiries for large container terminals at Bathside Bay and Felixstowe South. It was from there that her interest in the area of planning law grew and, on qualification, she joined the Eversheds London office, where she was fortunate enough to be put on the core team for the London Development Agency (Undergrounding of Powerlines, Lower Lea Valley) and the London Development Agency (Lower Lea Valley, Olympic and Legacy) Compulsory Purchase Order projects. She was heavily involved in the public inquiries for both CPOs and latterly in the land acquisition by the LDA. As such, she gained a wealth of expertise in this area and subsequently built on this expertise by acting for other promoters of CPOs with commercial, housing and transport focuses. She also has experience in the more general field of planning law negotiating planning and highways agreements for private sector developers. Since leaving Eversheds, she acts as a locum for James Smith (Planning Law Services) Ltd and also assists with the practice management. Gemma is an experienced planning lawyer with a particular specialism in the area of compulsory purchase and enjoys working as part of a team.

Anna Alger
Anna was a member of the planning team at Eversheds and since leaving in July 2011 she has assisted Paul Winter and James Smith occasionally when required for larger projects on a self-employed consultancy basis, particularly in relation to a CPO compensation claim connected to the Arsenal Stadium Regeneration project. Anna was with Eversheds for 8 years and in that time acted on a wide variety of projects including:

  • The Brent Cross and Cricklewood Regeneration
  • The CPO of a safeguarded wharf in London
  • Various major transport infrastructure projects for Transport for London; and
  • The Arsenal Stadium Regeneration Scheme.

Anna is an excellent planning lawyer with extensive experience across a range of planning matters. She has excellent interpersonal skills and is a great team player.