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Blandy & Blandy Solicitors
Karen Jones

Karen Jones

Partner, Planning & Environmental Law

Location: Reading, Henley-on-Thames & Wokingham
Qualified as a solicitor: 1989

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Partner Karen Jones is head of our leading Planning & Environmental Law team and a highly regarded planning and environmental lawyer with over 30 years' experience. She advises clients from our Reading, Henley-on-Thames and Wokingham offices, as well as remotely.

Karen's expertise includes strategic planning advice, planning appeals, public inquiries and environmental law, particularly nature conservation law. 

She has practised as a parliamentary lawyer and had considerable involvement in The Channel Tunnel Rail Link project. Karen has also worked in Local Government (in roles including interim head of legal and solicitor to the council), where the majority of her projects involved significant planning, environmental and conservation considerations.

Karen has published a practitioner's guide, Conservation and Land Use (2000) and written articles for sector journals, including a regular column in Waste Planning, while also featuring in the media. 

Karen is a legal associate of the Royal Town Planning Institute (LARTPI) and holds both an LLB (Hons) Law and LLM Environmental Law from University College London. She previously taught at the College of Law and has lectured at the University of Reading's renowned School of Real Estate & Planning, part of Henley Business School. In 2023 Karen was invited to be a judge at the RTPI South East Awards for Planning Excellence. Karen also sits on the Conduct and Discipline panel of the RTPI.

Karen participates in a range of sector focused events across the Thames Valley and is a regular speaker at the firm's annual Property & Planning Law updates.

Blandy & Blandy is ranked among the UK's top 20 Planning Law firms in Planning magazine’s 2023 Planning Law Survey and is consistently recognised as a top tier firm in the UK's leading guides to law firms, Chambers UK and The Legal 500. Karen has also been individually recommended in both guides and is recognised in the highest band 1 category and as a 'leading individual' respectively. Furthermore, she is featured in Planning magazine's list of the country's highest rated planning solicitors, in joint 13th place.

In the past six years we have been named as a finalist in the ‘Property Law Firm of the Year’ category at the Thames Valley Property Awards three times (2017, 2018 and 2023), winning in 2017. Recently, we were also named ‘Property Law Firm of the Year’ at the 2023 Insider South East Property Awards and 'Best Law Firm' at the 2023 Royal Berkshire Property Awards. Our successful approach is further reflected in the excellent client feedback we continue to receive.

Examples of recent work

  • Advising a landowner of a listed building subject to an Urgent Repairs Notice served under the Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas Act 1990.
  • Advice on listed building liability and legal provision relating to repairs and alterations.
  • Advice on an application for a Certificates of Lawfulness of Proposed Use or Development and implementation to preserve a planning permission from expiry.
  • Advising a local nightclub owner on Compulsory Purchase Proceedings, challenges to Local Authority decision to grant planning permission and judicial review.
  • Advising on Enforcement Notice proceedings, including an appeal against a notice alleging unauthorised construction, and change of use of land, a notice requiring removal of digital mast equipment constructed in connection with FX currency exchange dealings on the London stock market and where enforcement action has been instigated for change of use to residential curtilage.
  • Dealing with a major public inquiry defending permit revocation proceedings instigated by the Environment Agency against an important and nationally strategic waste recycling plant.
  • Application for diversion of highway to facilitate implementation of a planning permission for a 250,000 tonne aggregate recycling facility in Hampshire adjacent to an SPA.
  • Strategic advice on issues arising at a strategic development location site for 725 houses including comprehensive delivery of infrastructure, open space provision, primary school and SANG land.
  • Advice on lifting of S106 restrictions including restrictions limiting the occupation and use of residential property.
  • Complex S106 negotiations for major development involving provision of a care home, general needs affordable housing, significant infrastructure contributions, open space, playing field and nature park facilities, transport, community facilities and school provision and land transfers, involving negotiation with both local and county authorities.
  • Dealing with an appeal against enforcement proceedings at a prominent site where heritage and conservation area issues are key, including coordinating preparation of evidence for the case, and preparation of grounds of appeal and statement of case documents for inquiry proceedings.

How I Can Help You

  • Strategic advice on development opportunities, advising and managing planning projects of significance, including major housing development and infrastructure proposals
  • Planning enforcement and lawful use, particularly Certificates of Existing Lawful Use or development applications
  • Local authority planning issues
  • Advice on footpath diversions, Definitive Map Modification Orders and S278 Agreements
  • Environmental regulation and enforcement
  • Nature conservation law 
  • Contaminated land issues
  • European Nature Conservation designation, including SPA and SAC implications

Professional Memberships:

Legal Associate, Royal Town Planning Institute (LARTPI)
Member, UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA)
Member, Country Landowners’ Association (CLA)
Member, The Law Society

Education:
University College London, LLB (Hons) and LLM Environmental Law

Accreditations & Awards:
Recommended, Chambers UK
Leading individual, The Legal 500
Top 15 UK Planning Lawyer - Planning magazine 2023
Top 20 UK Planning Law Firm - Planning magazine 2023
Finalist - 'Property Law Firm of the Year' Thames Valley Property Awards 2023
Winner - 'Best Law Firm', Royal Berkshire Property Awards 2023
Winner - 'Property Law Firm of the Year' Insider South East Property Awards 2023
Finalist - 'Property Law Firm of the Year' Thames Valley Property Awards 2018
Winner - 'Property Law Firm of the Year' Thames Valley Property Awards 2017

What Our Clients Say

“Her knowledge of planning and environmental issues is incredibly strong.”

Chambers UK

“Karen Jones is a leader in her field. She has excellent analytical skills and is commercially focussed and client friendly.”

The Legal 500

“Department head Karen Jones is highly sought after for her expertise.”

Chambers UK

“Karen Jones brought unprecedented experience. She is a standout partner.”

The Legal 500

“Karen Jones is highly regarded for her work in planning and environmental matters, and is particularly strong on regulatory enforcement and conservation issues.”

Chambers UK

“Karen and Sabah were both delightful to work with and Sabah's written opinion was so professionally presented that it made a fundamental difference to discussions with the local planning authority. Blandy & Blandy's involvement saved my client from the significant cost of potentially demolishing a building along with the cost of wasted materials or alternatively having to submit a planning application, the chances of success here being limited. Without their involvement, I am not sure we would have arrived at such an equitable outcome, for both the client and the LPA! A great job done by a great team!”

Planning Consultant

“I consulted Karen Jones from Blandy & Blandy regarding a succession of planning issues. There were some quite complex points of property law and planning law involved, which other lawyers and planning consultants had pronounced as being beyond their sphere of expertise. Karen's expert knowledge and practical approach shone through, resulting in a favourable outcome. For a partner of such high repute, she is approachable, responsive, and cost-effective.”

Client

“We were recommended to instruct Karen Jones of Blandy's by both our architect and planning consultant, to assist in the purchase of SANG capacity for a residential development. We are experienced in commercial property transactions, having created and sold off a small retail portfolio but this was, to us, an entirely new and relatively complex type of transaction. Karen dealt with the instruction and could not be faulted in ensuring all matters were dealt with efficiently and effectively. Karen’s speed and level of communication are superb; it was clear to us that Karen cares deeply about her clients.”

Client

“Thanks to the team at Blandy, Karen Jones, David Murray and Paul Wilkinson, for their recent work on our high-profile case. Expertise, great communication and simply a complete inside and out understanding of our entire case. We could not have achieved what we did with any other team in our opinion.”

Client

“Blandy & Blandy trooped together with our rather shell-shocked family through a long and protracted litigation battle that ended up in the High Court. Due entirely to their collective expertise, impeccable knowledge and strategic thinking, together with an excellent choice of Barrister, we secured an outcome that we were exceedingly pleased with, and one that also generally well covered in the media. There is no doubt in our mind that this could not have been achieved with any other team in place. We are, and will remain, extremely grateful.”

Client

“I find Karen's level of technical knowledge quite staggering.”

Client

“This is a brilliant result and is no doubt largely due to the hard work you put into writing the excellently worded letter. Thank you very much indeed. I look forward to working with you again in the future.”

Client

“Somewhere it is written that you are considered amongst the UK's top Planning lawyers Good for you, for your firm... and for us!”

Client

“Karen Jones was extremely professional and great to deal with.”

Client

“As well as being extremely knowledgeable and experienced in their field, they also take the time to ensure everything is explained and I was very comfortable that the work carried out was always within the budget we agreed. Thank you Karen and Kayleigh for all your hard work to date.”

Client

“Karen speaks with knowledge and authority.”

Client

“Exceedingly efficient and commercially aware.”

Client

“An extensive knowledge of planning and environmental law.”

Client

“Karen and Kayleigh have advised me on producing objections to a number of planning development applications in the last 12 months, including challenging a Certificate of Existing Lawful Use, which without their help and guidance would not have achieved the successful result recently obtained.”

Client

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