Tom Newcombe


[Tom is] “approachable" and "diligent” and is part of a team which is "practical, listens to clients’ needs and delivers on time".

Chambers UK 2017


Tom 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 listed as a Leading Individual by Legal 500 [UK 2019]. In a previous edition he is described as being "a particularly strong asset; a can-do lawyer who has an extensive track record in complicated projects requiring specialist expertise".

Tom is also recommended by Chambers [UK 2019]. He receives strong acclaim for his knowledge of Section 106 agreements. Sources say that he is "very knowledgeable about planning law, commercially minded and great with clients". Previous editions describe him as a specialist in strategic land, with one source commenting that "he has the ability to digest the law and apply it to a project without getting clients bogged down in technicality".

The Legal 500 Leading Individual 2019