Tom Newcombe



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"Tom Newcombe is an excellent lawyer...he is extremely organised and can quickly get to the heart of complicated legal matters."

Legal 500 [UK 2020]


Tom qualified as a Solicitor in September 2005 and joined Birketts in March 2011. He is a Partner and Head of our Planning and Environmental Team.

Tom specialises in planning, environmental and highways law and joined Birketts with significant experience as a planning solicitor within the national planning team of an international law firm.

He advises on all aspects of planning law, advising local authorities, landowners and developers on the planning of commercial and residential developments including: the planning application process and supporting documents; Environmental Impact Assessment; contracts conditional on planning; section 106 agreements and unilateral undertakings; planning conditions; submission of and process management of planning appeals via written representations, hearings and inquiries; section 73 applications; and judicial review.

Tom also has wide experience with environmental due diligence, warranties and indemnities, contaminated land, highways matters, adoption agreements (including section 38 and section 278 agreements) and public rights of way. His client base includes commercial and residential developers, institutional landowners, registered social landlords, further and higher education establishments and local authorities as well as major transport operators and renewable energy developers. He also advises private clients on a wide range of planning matters.

Additionally, Tom leads the team on Compulsory Purchase (CPO) and Development Consent Order (DCO) work 

Tom is based between our Cambridge and Chelmsford offices.

Other Information

Tom is recommended and named as a 'Leading Individual' by Legal 500 [UK 2021]. In the previous edition a client notes that "Tom Newcombe is an excellent lawyer. He instructed me in a complicated and highly topical judicial review challenge to a grant of planning permission, which we won in the High Court and is shortly to be heard in the Court of Appeal. He is extremely organised and can quickly get to the heart of complicated legal matters".

Tom is also ranked in band 1 and recommended by Chambers [UK 2021]. In this edition clients say he is: "Very astute at understanding and dealing with complex issues and explaining them clearly to ensure the preferred commercial outcome." Another adds "Tom is very pragmatic and approachable." A third notes: "He understands the planning process thoroughly and how to approach the local planning authorities." 

Legal 500 UK 2021 Leading Individual