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Karen Jones

Karen Jones

Partner, Planning & Environmental Law

+44 (0)118 951 6864

  • 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
  • Village greens advice
  • Environmental regulation and enforcement
  • Nature conservation law 
  • Contaminated land issues
  • European Nature Conservation designation, including SPA and SAC implications
  • University College London, LLB (Hons) Law, LLM Environmental Law
  • Legal Associate, Royal Town Planning Institute (LARTPI)
  • Accredited member, Law Society Planning Law Panel
  • Member, Country Landowners’ Association (CLA)
  • For the University of Reading - advised on several successful housing redevelopment proposals on surplus land, including at Sibly Hall and Bulmershe Campus.
  • For the University of Reading - advised on the redevelopment of land for a Science and Innovation Park and associated one mile of road infrastructure.
  • Extensive experience in drafting section 106 agreements and unilateral undertakings, from “simple” agreements for small developments to complex and bespoke agreements for large mixed use developments. 
  • Successfully defending prosecutions for Environmental offences in both Magistrate and Crown Court proceedings including successfully protecting directorships from applications for disqualification. These prosecutions involve highly technical legal arguments on the definition of waste and the WRAP (waste regulation authority protocols) guidance on recycling.
  • Judicial Review of an administrative decision on issue of a planning enforcement notice and stop notice for a leisure industry sector client, resulting in a withdrawal of notice.
  • Providing strategic planning advice in respect of high-value basement projects in London and other developments.
  • Judicial review of a decision of Natural England acting for the landowner
  • Negotiating planning obligations on major projects for the University of Reading and developer clients.
  • Enforcement advice, including S289 appeals to the High Court.
  • Advising on the operation of the Crichel Down Rules.
  • Advice on Compulsory Purchase procedures and objections.
  • Highway Agreements, including declarations under Section 31(6) and Section 278 of the Highway Works Agreements.   
  • Advice on Judicial Review prospects generally and particularly for third party challenge of planning decisions.
  • Advice on compliance with pre commencement conditions and implementation of permission to prevent time lapse.
  • Evaluating the prospects of a “call in” request and advising on the process and procedures. 
  • Advice on imposition of TPO Controls in an Oxford conservation area.
  • Advice on planning consent for a major waste facility transfer in Hampshire.
  • Successfully defending applications for village green status of land at a non-statutory inquiry. 
  • Planning Law

    Karen Jones is described as "very thorough" and has impressive knowledge of a wide range of planning and environmental law. "She is extremely good with clients," notes one source, who continues: "She is extremely personable and understanding of client requirements." Chambers UK Guide

    "Karen Jones has extensive knowledge of nature conservation law in addition to planning matters including appeals and public inquiries. One source comments: "I find her level of technical knowledge quite staggering." Chambers UK Guide

    “Blandy & Blandy LLP’s ‘planning and environment expertise is particularly strong’. Team head Karen Jones and Simon Dimmick are both recommended.” The Legal 500

    "Department head Karen Jones has ‘a sound grasp of planning.'" The Legal 500

    "Department head Karen Jones is highly sought after for her expertise in sophisticated residential and commercial mandates. Sources say she is 'helpful, knowledgeable and a good team player,' and praise her ability to 'get to the central cause of a problem and reach a resolution.'" Chambers UK Guide

    "We are always keen to refer people to a safe pair of hands." Top 5 UK Planning lawyer

    “Somewhere it is written that you are considered amongst the top 20 Planning Lawyers Good for you, for your firm... and for us! This is a very tricky work; getting permission to build (not to mention building itself!) so many thanks and best wishes.”

    “Thank you for your carefully thought-through response… we much appreciate your detailed analysis and for all your time and advice.” 

    “Thank you for your unfailing courtesy and assistance throughout.” 

    Environmental Law

    "Karen Jones leads the team and is noted for her experience in the sector. According to one source she is 'extremely knowledgeable on planning law. Her experience working with local authorities is definitely a plus.'" Chambers UK Guide

    Karen Jones is picked out for her expertise in "the intersection between planning law and environmental regulatory regimes" and has a wealth of experience, particularly in relation to nature conservation. "She is very forensic and very good at reading detail and spotting implications," comments an interviewee. Chambers UK Guide

    "Blandy & Blandy LLP’s environmental practice is led by Karen Jones, which has recently advised on town and village green issues arising on potential development sites. The team has a particular focus on issues in relation to development near designated ancient woodland, and European nature conversation designations and protections." The Legal 500

    “The excellent CPD presentation by Blandy & Blandy’s Karen Jones and Debbie Brett on the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) and Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) was an extremely informative event for us at Pegasus Planning Group in view of the emerging changes to the planning system. Karen and Debbie used their extensive planning and commercial experience (respectively) to provide a focused discussion interspersed with specific cases which illustrated the key messages admirably. The CPD session was structured to allow for interaction throughout with our staff which provided valuable opportunity for us to drill down into areas specific to planning.” Martyn Smith, Director, Pegasus Planning Group Ltd

    "I would like to say thank you for the effort in helping to get a final result for the case with the Agency." 

    "Thank you so much for your sound advice Karen." 

    "Karen was a very responsive and knowledgeable lawyer. She was detailed in her knowledge and analysis." 

    "Your decisive letter to the council to which they had no response, despite considerable time to deliberate and research, was the key to our success for which I think and praise you." 

    “Thank you for all your help, I think it was the right decision to have our objection handled professionally via yourselves.”

    “Thank you very much, I can’t imagine how much patience you must have. When we next apply for planning we’ll be in touch.”

    "Thank you for all of your assistance and guidance over the last four years.”

    “We are extremely grateful for your help and patience.”

    “Thank you, you are always so kind and the voice of reason."

    “Thank you again so much! You have really made our year!”

"Department head Karen Jones is highly sought after for her expertise."
Chambers UK Guide

Karen Jones is a partner and planning and environment law solicitor with over 25 years’ experience and is head of the firm's Planning and Environmental team, which operates across our Reading, Henley-on-Thames and London offices.

Planning Magazine’s 2015 Planning Law Survey ranked Blandy & Blandy among the UK's top planning law firms and Karen has consistently been ranked among the country’s top planning law experts. Chambers UK Guide ranks Karen in band 1 for both Planning and Environmental law, while in The Legal 500 she is named as a ‘leading individual’. Clients describe her as "very thorough", "extremely personable" and "understanding of client requirements". 

Karen's experience 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 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.

She has published a practitioner's guide entitled: Conservation and Land Use (2000) and has written articles for sector journals and national media. Karen also writes a regular column for Waste Planning.

Karen is a legal associate of the Royal Town Planning Institute (LARTPI) and an accredited member of the Law Society’s Planning Law Panel. She holds both an LLB (Hons) Law and LLM Environmental Law from University College London. In addition, Karen 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. 

She attends and speaks at a wide range of planning and sector focused events in London and across the Thames Valley, including the firm's annual planning law seminar.

In her spare time, Karen loves gardening and cultivating a small vegetable plot, home-making and DIY, having converted a former pub into her home. She enjoys city breaks, walking holidays in Europe, and has travelled widely in Africa and the Caribbean. She enjoys sharing her home and garden with her Tonkinese pedigree cat.

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