Sarah Fitzpatrick

Head of Planning; Partner
Norton Rose Fulbright LLP

United Kingdom
T:+44 (20) 74443678
United Kingdom
T:+44 (20) 74443678
Sarah Fitzpatrick

Sarah Fitzpatrick



Sarah Fitzpatrick is a planning barrister, partner and Head of Planning at Norton Rose Fulbright.

She has over 25 years extensive experience in all aspects of planning law and practice with a particular focus on London regeneration and redevelopment, compulsory purchase, high-rise development, infrastructure and energy infrastructure, road and rail, and large scale multi-use schemes.

Sarah has experience of acting for both promoters of, and objectors to, CPO's/TWAO's/DCOs, including retail-led and town centre regeneration CPOs, and has acted recently in objecting to an energy DCO, and a road DCO, and is currently acting against a rail TWAO, two regeneration CPOs, a CPO promoted by the Environment Agency, and a water company CPO. Sarah has also acted / is acting for claimants on compensation claims relating to a number of major road, rail, and infrastructure schemes as well as developer-led regeneration CPOs; claims currently relate to HS2, the A63 Castle Street DCO, Thames Tideway Tunnel, and the A27 Arundel Bypass DCO.

She has considerable experience of working on major London schemes, including high-rise development, residential and residential-led mixed-use schemes, sports stadia, student accommodation, office, hotel and retail schemes. Many of these projects have a complicated transport infrastructure interface and involve rail upgrades, new roads, bridges and other infrastructure. Sarah is currently advising on London schemes involving new offices; residential including build to rent; mixed-use retail and residential; cinema; apart-hotel; a football stadium ground; and a new hotel development.

Sarah also has experience of acting on large mixed-use / residential-led schemes outside London; she is currently acting on the residential-led redevelopment of four linked sites outside Norwich for 550 residential units; and schemes for builders’ merchants in Doncaster and Jersey.

She also has experience of energy infrastructure, having acted on new pylon and undergrounding projects, new jetty and on-shore facilities for LNG, a gas pipeline, as well as promoting an energy DCO. Sarah also has vast experience providing planning support for real estate, real estate finance, corporate and banking transactions including planning due diligence, planning warranties and disclosures, SPAs including planning CPs and CSs, works deeds and facility agreements. In recent years such support work has focussed on renewable energy projects.

Sarah has extensive experience of advising on the complex, cutting edge and quirkier aspects of planning law, such as CIL mitigation strategies; dark kitchens; defending enforcement and listed building enforcement cases; relevant demolition cases; technical implementation and CLEUD/CLOPUD applications to establish lawful use and development; utilising permitted development rights and creating fall back strategies.

A skilled negotiator, Sarah has negotiated many planning and highway agreements, and planning conditions ensuring planning permissions remain bankable, and preserve cash flow, as well as ensuring sufficient flexibility throughout build-out to accommodate market change.

Sarah is recognised in the Legal 500 2023 and 2024 as a leader in her field, is individually ranked in Chambers and Partners, and has been ranked globally as one of the top lawyers in Hospitality 2022 and 2023 by Who's Who Legal.

Sarah is a regular conference speaker and article contributor and is on the Lexis Nexis expert author panel for planning.

Professional experience

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  • London Bridge Quarter – advised the Sellar Property Group in securing planning permission for the Shard and News Building. Issues included tall buildings, skyline views and streetscape, world heritage site, listed buildings, conservation areas, transport infrastructure, and engineering complications relating to LUL lines below parts of the site. Schemes included new station concourse, the closure of a bridge, new highway and highway upgrades, HVM measures, new entrance and escalators to LUL station, connecting retail mall, and pedestrian plaza. Advised on the integrated security strategy and public realm strategy. The schemes involved strategic advice, as well as application review, the negotiation of complex multi-party planning and highway agreements, highway orders and licences, and later scheme changes to vary uses and increase floor space. Also advised on Shard Place to secure a series of highway agreements and licences as well as advising on compulsory purchase issues.
  • Olympic Park - advised the ODA on the planning application for the Olympic Park. She led the team advising ODA Transport on station upgrade work at Stratford Regional Station and West Ham Stations. Advised on road and water closure strategies, including diversions and secured orders. She assisted with new infrastructure - road, rail, and bridges, and secured multiple road closure orders under various powers. Assisted with the Olympic Route Network and the series of orders required to deliver it, including the ODA's internal governance processes, as well as securing future adoption of new infrastructure by statutory bodies. Negotiated the deal between the DfT and DCMS, where compulsory powers had been secured over the same land for a DLR extension and the Olympics.  Advised LLDC post-Games on a speed limit strategy for the legacy QEOP. She advised on and devised legal strategy for HVMs – construction, use, operation.  Also successfully defended two judicial review challenges brought by objectors, and project managed the service of (1000+) notices in relation to the Olympic applications.
  • Victoria Estate – advised on redevelopment proposals for Land Securities Victoria Estate, planning permissions secured for Kingsgate House (office and retail) and the Zig Zag (residential and retail), Portland House for a residential and retail scheme, 2-4 Castle Lane (affordable housing) and 6 Castle Lane (private residential). The schemes involved advice on strategy, review of application documents, including environmental statements, negotiation of planning and highways agreements, walkway agreements, as well as road closure orders.
  • US Embassy at Nine Elms – advised the US State department on the planning application and strategy for the new US Embassy at Nine Elms, including highway diversion, security considerations, and interface with adjacent regeneration proposals. Negotiated s.106 agreement.
  • 100 West Cromwell Road - advised Spen Hill Developments Ltd and Meyer Homes on a significant flatted development on a multi-level site for five buildings of up to 13 storeys in Kensington and Chelsea, comprising 278 residential units, retail, community and private gyms, café, swimming pool, and extension to the adjacent Tesco store. A revised scheme was permitted following a successful appeal that Sarah led.
  • 10 Kensington Palace Gardens - advised high net worth individual on extensions, including a large basement extension, to this listed former embassy building in Kensington. Successfully defended a challenge brought by the Republic of France to the issue of certificates confirming lawful implementation of planning permission and listed building consent.  Currently advising on listed building consent issues, discharge of conditions and construction phase issues, as well as scheme amends.
  • 15 Clerkenwell Close – advised on this high-profile enforcement appeal for architect Amin Taha, securing planning permission following an inquiry. Demolition of the property which comprises residential flats and office floorspace was being sought by Islington Council despite winning a slew of London, regional and national awards for architecture, including RIBA London and National awards, and being nominated for the Stirling Prize, and Mies Van der Rohe prize.
  • Unite Students – advised Unite on its London portfolio of 24 properties to expand the class of users to enable summer lets to non-students, creating an additional revenue stream, and capital value lift. A highly successful strategy was devised on a borough by borough basis.
  • PPR Estates – secured permission on appeal at 44-46 High Road Wood Green for a scheme of 4-9 storeys for 121 residential units and two ground floor commercial units. Also advised on the redevelopment of 840 Old Kent Road for a new development of 13-21 storeys comprising 168 residential units, a new Aldi store, and a further retail unit. The scheme is complicated by a proposal for a Bakerloo underground line extension, for which acquisition of part of the site may be sought. Currently advising on several schemes for repurposing office buildings.
  • Selhurst Park – advising Crystal Palace Football Club on its main stand redevelopment proposals, providing a step change in the quality of the facilities at the club for players, staff, hospitality, fans, and the Palace for Life Foundation. Recently concluded negotiating a s.106 agreement; there is a particular issue relating to the acquisition of Council housing to facilitate the redevelopment, decanting of tenants, and re-provision of Council housing. Also advised on and secured consent for new training ground facilities for the Club.
  • North Wales Connection – advised National Grid as promoter of a Development Consent Order for a proposed 30km £650m high-voltage powerline in Anglesey, including a deep tunnelled element beneath the Menai Strait.  DCO application withdrawn after the withdrawal of funding for Wylfa Newydd.  This is one of the largest, most complex and controversial DCO projects ever submitted.  Advised the lands team on the land and rights acquisition strategy for the DCO, including the project management role in relation to engagement, offers, and private treaty deals with landowners, obviating the need for the exercise of compulsory powers. Stress testing the engineering justification for acquisitions and scheme boundary. Advised on key land related DCO documents.
  • HS2 / DB Cargo – advised Blackrock on the HS2 Bill, negotiated a parliamentary undertaking to secure important concessions from HS2. Advising DB Cargo (freight arm of DB Schenker) on compensation claims following: (1) compulsory purchase of its rail freight facility at Euston Carriage Works and the rail locking of residual land; (2) compulsory purchase and temporary relocation of its site/facilities at Saltley; (3) temporary possession of its site at Washwood Heath (Heartlands Parkway Bridge demolition); (4) acquisition of land at Landor St; (5) permanent works and an easement at Willesden Euroterminal, all of which have being done to facilitate HS2. In December 2023 successfully leveraged the fact that HS2 were out of powers at Willesden to complete an agreement that settled all outstanding financial claims, with further aspects such as land transfer to be settled shortly. Currently advising DBC on a CPO promoted by the EA relating to the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme. Objected to the CPO and appeared at the CPO inquiry. Currently negotiating 9 separate real estate and compensation deeds to enable DBC to withdraw its objection and mitigate the impacts of the EA’s works on DBC’s assets. Deeds due to be signed end of April 2024.
  • Crossrail – advised claimants on a number of compulsory purchase compensation claims opposite Crossrail/TfL, including an industrial estate in Stratford, a restaurant in Soho, and properties on Oxford Street. Also advised the ODA on the interface of the Olympic Park with Crossrail and the overlap of statutory powers, managed the physical works required by the two projects through a series of agreements.
  • A63 Castle Street DCO – advised major landowner (Holiday Inn) affected by Highways England's proposals, submitted relevant representation and written representation, appearance at a preliminary meeting; negotiated a deed of mitigation and grant of rights as an alternative to the exercise of powers under the DCO. Advised on strategy and tactics. Also successfully advised ATS Euromaster on a compensation claim relating to the scheme, with only VAT issues now to be resolved.
  • J.&.F. Holdings Ltd – advising the owner of a strategic waste site, on a CPO objection. The client is the principal landowner and objector. Drafted and submitted a substantial 38 page objection to the Affinity Water (Horton Road Booster Station) CPO on 28 December 2023 despite only having been instructed 2 weeks previously. Providing strategic advice on the evidence that will be required for the inquiry and stress testing Affinity Water’s evidence base. The CPO inquiry is listed for several days in May 2024. 
  • Glenroy Estates Ltd (“GEL”) – Advised GEL on National Highway Limited’s (“NH”) application for a DCO for the A122 Lower Thames Crossing (“LTX”).  If consented, the LTX will be the most significant road investment project since the M25. NH seeks powers pursuant to the DCO to permanently acquire GEL’s land to provide ancient woodland compensatory planting, as well as highway and utility works. Instructed only two weeks before the hearings commenced, researched and presented a fully argued case, working with counsel to prepare a robust objection to the proposed compulsory acquisition of GEL’s land on the ground NH had failed to demonstrate a compelling case in the public interest.  Appeared alongside Counsel at the compulsory purchase hearing in September 2024.  Post appearance made written submissions at various deadlines, including in relation to  revised DCO drafting.  The DCO examination closed on 20 December 2023. In due course advice to GEL on the Secretary of State’s decision and the associated report.
  • Bellaview Properties Ltd – advised on all aspects of a planning application, and secured planning permission in December 2023 for the redevelopment of a builders’ merchants in Ealing into a mixed use 185 dwelling scheme with provision for a new builders’ merchant and ancillary facilities. The site is complicated by being within a dense urban area and flanked by railway infrastructure. Negotiated the associated s.106 unilateral undertaking and conditions. Currently advising the client on its objection to a TWAO promoted by Network Rail (“NR”) seeking to acquire the site temporarily for a lineside logistics compound as well as a permanent easement across the site to facilitate future maintenance. Led the client’s professional team at a 5-day public inquiry in November 2023 that closed in March 2024, also advised on a costs application and continue to advise on a possible deal to be entered into between the client and NR to secure site sharing, allowing construction of the new development in tandem with NR’s occupation.
  • St George City Ltd (part of the Berkeley Group) - Advising on a complex compulsory purchase compensation claim concerning Thames Tideway Tunnel (“TTT”). St George’s Fulham Reach site benefitted from planning permission for a number of residential blocks before the DCO for TTT was granted. The TTT promoter subsequently acquired some of St George’s land to sink a new shaft for the scheme, as well as taking temporary possession of other land for a construction compound and permanent rights. The TTT scheme delayed St George’s scheme, necessitated structural design changes, complicated the build, and will require planning permission changes. The calculation (particularly in relation to loss caused by temporary possession) is contentious; recently advised on a re-cast claim, a reference to the Upper Tribunal Lands Chamber is to be made at the end of April 2024.
  • Clerkenwell Fire Station – currently advising on the client’s proposals to convert a Grade II* listed former fire station and adjoining yard into an office and food and beverage led development, Sarah has provided extensive advice on local plan policy. Her advice was instrumental in informing the client’s strategy to seek a commercial-led viable development of the site. Also advising on meanwhile uses for the site, pre-application materials, historic land ownership and heritage matters. Recently advised on strategy and viability in advance of the next pre-application meeting with the local planning authority.  In due will be advising on the planning application due to be submitted Autumn 2024.
  • Pinebanks – advising Berliet Ltd on the redevelopment of four linked sites for residential uses in Norwich, to provide a scheme of up to 550 residential units. Sarah has advised on the environmental statement (“ES”) as well as various scheme changes and ES addenda. The scheme has recently been revised again to address nutrient neutrality issues and a new submission package (including a further ES addendum) is to be submitted shortly. Sarah will negotiate the s.106 agreements (four in total) in due course.
  • Uplands – secured planning permission and listed building consent on a recently listed former hotel and conference centre in High Wycombe, securing consent for conversion to residential and a new build element; 59 dwellings in total. The site is in the Green Belt, AONB, area of landscape value and included a protected orchard and other trees protected by TPOs; part of the site was an ancient woodland. Currently advising on changes to the scheme that are likely to be refused at local level and will necessitate an appeal or revised application or both.
  • Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation - provided strategic advice to TTGDC on a variety of major projects, including residential developments at the Former Ford Factory Site for 650 dwellings; a 15ha site at Butts Lane for 350 dwellings and community uses; land at Fiddlers Reach for 1,217 dwellings in 13 parcels of between 2.5 to 21 storeys, 940m2 of local retail, leisure and community uses, and 2,880m2 of business use; as well as strategic advice on London Gateway, Port of Tilbury, Vopak terminal expansion, a new country park on a former landfill site, and a new gas pipeline.
  • Union Square - advised on Muse Developments' £250m development in Swindon, a mixed-use development of 450 new homes; 600,000 sq ft of employment space; provision for a new Primary Care Trust; a 100-bed hotel; 145,000 sq ft of amenity retail, café and restaurant accommodation; and improved transport infrastructure, including a new bus station and new car parking facilities, set within a new network of streets and public space. Negotiated planning and highway agreements.
  • Holt Town Waterfront - advised Cibitas Investments Limited on the planning application, and negotiated the s.106 agreement for this £1.2 billion housing scheme, a new concept in high-rise family housing on complicated derelict East Manchester site with novel affordable housing delivery strategy. A 38 ha site on which is proposed 370,000sq m of houses, ground floor Class B1 business and Class A1/A2 retail and Class A3/A4 leisure uses.
  • 36-46 Albert Embankment – advising Hotchkiss Ltd, secured planning permission in December 2023 for the redevelopment of a petrol filling station and extension and refurbishment of an office building at 36-46 Albert Embankment, Vauxhall into an 872 bed hotel with ancillary facilities. Previously advised on and secured permission on a 600 bed scheme. The current scheme involves the retention/ refurbishment/ extension of Vintage House (Class E) and the development of two linked towers (26 and 29 storeys) (Class C1).  Planning agreement negotiated, and highway agreement will be required.
  • 4 Portal Way – advising Al Dau Development secured planning permission in August 2021 for a new tower development adjacent to the A40 in Ealing on the site of an existing Holiday Inn, including the negotiation of a s.106 agreement. The scheme comprised the mixed-use redevelopment of the site to provide two linked buildings of 45 and 55 storeys, up to 702 residential units, a hotel, flexible workspace, restaurant, flexible retail space, with a two level basement and associated works.  The project is complicated by its height at 125 m and its proximity to Heathrow Airport. Also advised in relation to a s.96A application, a substantial s.73 application, a re-stacking of hotel and residential uses within the boundaries of the current permission, and are now advising on a new scheme in respect of which a fresh planning application was submitted in April 2024. Advised on the scoping report, statutory notices, s.106 heads of terms, provided strategic pre-application, reviewed all application material including the ES. The new scheme comprises 2 towers of 44 and 58 storeys for residential, hotel, commercial (Class E) uses, as well as public realm works. S.106 will be negotiated in due course.
  • Hampstead Asset Management Ltd / Builder Depot Ltd – advising the owners/occupiers of a builders’ merchants in north London on the redevelopment of their site for a mixed use residential and commercial scheme. Planning permission was granted in 2004, and implemented in 2008. Obtained a certificate of lawfulness in April 2023 to formally confirm that the permission is extant. Advising on applications for an extension to the extant scheme for additional commercial floorspace and a s.73 application, which were submitted in March 2023, the application for additional commercial floors was withdrawn and resubmitted March 2024. Also advising on a fresh application for a mixed commercial / residential / student accommodation scheme (to be submitted November 2024), as well as proposals by TfL for step free access across the site from an adjacent underground station. Also advising the clients on their objection to an adjoining major residential led redevelopment proposal, which has included our clients’ site within the application red line, and secured planning permission in December 2023, and in respect of which it is anticipated a CPO will be promoted over the clients’ property. Advising on all aspects of a CPO defensive strategy.
  • Eagle Centre, Derby – advised Westfield on this major town centre regeneration scheme, including redevelopment of the shopping centre and adjoining land as a retail, dining and leisure desination, including the planning application, environmental statement, compulsory purchase order, and related highway orders, and planning agreements.
  • BMW (UK) Manufacturing Ltd – advising BMW on its proposals to develop the new generation electric Mini at the Cowley, Oxford Plant. Provided strategic advice on the planning application, s.106 agreement, as well as assembling, instructing and briefing the professional team (Volterra, DS2) on the application documents needed to support an application to Oxford City Council (“OCiC”) for exceptional circumstances CIL relief. Prepared and submitted the application and advised on all reports. Liaised with OCiC, and Sarah was asked to personally brief the CEO of BMW on the project. The relief was granted in March 2024, and is the first time OCiC have granted such relief since adopting their exceptional circumstances CIL relief policy in 2019.
  • Kenmin (HP) Ltd (part of the Lodha Group) – secured planning permission in August 2023 for a revised scheme for the redevelopment of the Kensington Odeon in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea following the completion of a s.106 agreement. The development includes 6 cinema screens with a total of 887 seats, as well as 106 residential units, office and retail floorspace. Currently advising on a further revised scheme in respect of which a planning application has recently been submitted and are now negotiating the s.106 agreement.