Aardvark specialises in planning law and environmental law.

Our areas of work include legal issues arising from:

All types of planning applications

Planning agreements

Community infrastructure levy

Permitted development



Compulsory acquisition

Environmental assessment


Public inquiries


Judicial review

Planning and restrictive covenant insurance

Village greens

Rights of light

Climate change

Contaminated land


Appointing environmental consultants

Reliance letters

Environmental insurance

Environmental warranties and indemnities in transactions

Sector focus

Aardvark works on projects large and small for a range of landowners and developers including quoted companies, private companies, funds, venture capital backed enterprises and private individuals.

Public sector

Aardvark works for public sector clients where our particular expertise and focus on outcomes is required.

2016 hot topics

Viability and affordable housing.

Starter homes.

Use of Freedom of Information in planning.

CIL and s106 double dipping.

Planning ransoms arising from poor property due diligence.

Local Plans and Area Action Plans that are badly prepared.

Judicial review by NIMBYs due to Aarhus costs protection.

Office to residential and other permitted development.

Heritage and other types of enabling development.

Senior living and C2/C3 use.

Delay in the planning system including discharge of conditions and highways agreements.

Faster and non-paper based appeals.

Green belt.

Examples of our work in 2016

Ongoing advice: 5,000 residential unit urban extension in Kent.

Ongoing advice: 3,800 residential unit urban extension in Hants on former MOD land (acting for Council).

500 residential unit development in the Chilterns.

Redevelopment of former school for 26 plus 1 self build unit in Devon.

Successful defence of judicial review of planning permission amendment by neighbours.

Judicial review of neighbouring scheme for residential developer.

Section 106 BA review of viability of affordable housing provisions (50% on site provision reduced to 5% equivalent off site contribution).

Green belt enforcement.

Senior living schemes in Devon and Cornwall.

Exceptional country house under para 55 NPPF in Norfolk.

London office schemes.

Five residential towers above a shopping centre in Thames Valley.

Strategic advice on residential development and link road in Essex.

Advice on community infrastructure levy for retrospective s73 variation.

Advice on heritage scheme (acting for Council).

Advice on community infrastructure levy for mixed use development.

Objection to neighbouring development on ecology and highways grounds.

Successful defence of judicial review of construction management plan by neighbours.

Promoting sites through local plan review.

Public inquiry into relief road CPO proposals.

Planning application for extended opening hours for a retail store.

Heritage advice on former convent.

Our Approach

Our approach is to be focussed on your desired outcome and to build the solution from sound foundations.

We thoroughly investigate the background to your issue and use our experience and expertise to develop a strategy. 

We work around problems and develop practical and cost effective solutions. 

We clearly communicate our ideas and agree the next steps with you. 

We implement the agreed strategy tenaciously.  

We work with you and the rest of your advisers as part of the team.  

We think carefully about what the other side might do and try to pre-empt their actions and avoid surprises.  

We keep you informed of progress.  

We are flexible and responsive.  

We always try to do better and go the extra mile. 

We build long term relationships with our clients.


Aardvark’s fees will be a pleasant surprise for clients used to paying the bills of large law firms. Our business model is to offer outstanding value for money together with a high level of service. We work on hourly rates that reflect the experience and expertise of our solicitors but also our lean and efficient administration. Aardvark will consider alternative fee arrangements.


We are working towards Lexcel accreditation

Environmental Policy

Many of our clients care about sustainability. We minimise our environmental impact by careful use of business resources and minimising waste. 


In addition to our own resources we can also work (with your prior approval) with a range of affiliates including counsel, other specialist solicitors and other technical experts.

Our Founders

Sebastian Charles

Sebastian Charles

Direct line: 01604 439 092

Jane Burgess

Jane Burgess

Direct line: 01604 439 091

Sebastian Charles and Jane Burgess are experienced practitioners in the planning law field. They formerly worked together at international law firm K&L Gates where Sebastian was global head of land use planning, and earlier in their careers they worked together at Norton Rose. Before that Sebastian worked in the East Anglian offices of national firm Eversheds. Jane has held roles at a local authority and within English Heritage. 

Their expertise stems from a combined 50 years in the planning sector. They have a track record of business success and client development, based on outstanding results for clients and high levels of client satisfaction. 

Sebastian sits on the planning and environmental committee of the Law Society of England and Wales and is also a Legal Associate member of the Royal Town Planning Institute.


Contact us

For all enquiries, please call
01604 439 090 or use this form


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