LB & Co is a specialist planning and highway law practice, headed by solicitors Carolyn Lord and Kate Butterfield who have worked together from 1988.
Carolyn and Kate have between them well over 50 years’ experience in planning and related areas of law, working in legal practices, local government and in-house for development companies. Their success is based on:
Planning applications and related development strategy from first principles, including advice on the technical assessments, reports and professional team required
Advice on Environmental Impact Assessment
Advice on implementing planning permissions, drafting and interpretation of planning conditions and seeking variations
Advice on applications for Lawful Development Certificates
Planning appeals either by way of written representations, hearings or public inquiries
Judicial review of planning decisions, both defending and launching challenges
Advice on enforcement matters
Support on property transactions
Highway law and rights of way advice and documentation
Drafting and advising upon planning obligations (Section 106 Agreements)
Drafting and advising upon infrastructure agreements (including more complex Highways – Sections 38 and 278 - Agreements) and Traffic Regulation Orders
Advice on development plan representations, including Neighbourhood Plan procedure
Community engagement strategies, communications and specialist team building
Advice on Compulsory Purchase Orders and Transport and Works Act Orders
Advice on Town and Village Green and Commons Act 2006 legal issues
We are often brought in by other commercial property law practices without relevant in-house expertise as their planning and highway law specialist in order to provide a seamless service for their clients.
We also work successfully alongside a number of chartered planning consultants who refer their clients to us for planning and infrastructure agreements and legal planning advice/opinions.
Born and brought up in Leeds, Carolyn left the city for only a few years to complete an honours degree in English Literature and History at the University of York. She then worked within local government, where she worked in urban regeneration and was then involved in implementing new legislation and policy, before studying law and achieving honours in the Law Society’s final examination.
While still a trainee from 1990 at Hammond Suddards (now Squire Patton Boggs), she was appointed secretary to the firm’s multi-disciplinary Building Society Unit and was then seconded to work for a national infrastructure client in preparation for a six month energy-related public inquiry. This, together with her experience working with Leeds City Council, led her to specialise in planning and other areas of public law.
A strong professional team is essential for the success of any large or complex planning project. Carolyn takes pride in her ability to anchor and co-ordinate such teams. She has followed through on her belief in a team ethos, building niche planning law practice Wilbraham & Co, working as a founding consultant to Walton & Co (2004 to 2008) and as in-house adviser to the GMI group of companies (2008 to 2012).
Carolyn's clients benefit from her deep roots in the north (but with a national practice), extensive networks and knowledge of local and national government operation. She plays an active role in the community and was a governor of Leeds Trinity University (2009 – 2018) and is now a director of Leeds College of Music.
Since 1999 because of her knowledge of local authority matters she has served on several independent advisory panels to make recommendations on local government and on allowances schemes for elected members (including the West Yorkshire Combined Authority). She has been chair of the Standards Committee of West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority/Integrated Transport Authority and is now ‘Independent Person’ for the Combined Authority in relation to Standards.
Carolyn is involved in the wider Yorkshire business community. She is co-founder of Leeds Fashion Works and Yorkshire Textiles, two initiatives that aim to promote the region's fashion and textiles industries internationally and catalyse innovation and economic growth. She regularly promotes and fosters schemes for learning and skills training for local people when opportunities arise with clients or other contacts; see for example the CEG Forging Futures Campus.
Having been identified in Legal Experts and Legal 500 from her earlier career with Wilbraham & Co, Chambers & Partners Directory and Legal 500 both recognise Carolyn as a ranked lawyer in planning law for the region.
Kate studied law in Leeds after completing a degree in Economics. She achieved honours in the Law Society’s final examination and like Carolyn went on to train at Hammond Suddards (now Squire Patton Boggs). She joined Carolyn at Wilbraham & Co, where she became a partner. In 2005, when the firm merged with Cobbetts, Kate remained a partner before moving to Gordons LLP in 2010. Here she developed and grew the planning practice, became a partner, and led on a range of significant retail and residential projects.
Over the years, Kate has advised on numerous and diverse high-profile proposals, both in Yorkshire and nationwide. She has acted for both national house-builders and smaller specialist housing developers on stand-alone residential sites and mixed use development schemes. Kate has an extremely wide knowledge of the planning system and development projects including the conversion of listed buildings; advising on and undertaking planning applications, infrastructure agreements, appeals and judicial reviews; leisure projects, enforcement matters and objections to Compulsory Purchase Orders and Transport and Works Act Orders on behalf of landowners. She is a highly respected specialist planning lawyer in the region and consistently recognised as a ranked solicitor in legal publications such as Chambers & Partners and Legal 500.
In January 2015, she joined Carolyn at LB & Co in order to take advantage of the undoubted synergy which arises from their long-standing association. Working in a specialist planning law practice means she can offer clients better value for money and a service specifically tailored to their needs.
As well as legal expertise, large projects involving significant infrastructure call for strategic decision making and the ability to co-ordinate a complex series of procedural building blocks in order to bring the project to fruition. Both Kate and Carolyn have particular experience in managing or working as part of the teams involved in complex planning projects which are often overlaid with highway and rights of way matters.
Since 2015 the firm has coordinated the legal planning process for CEG’s city centre Temple district £350 million mixed use development where on-site work has started in Leeds South Bank. The planning permission granted in October 2018 (supported by a complex Section 106 Agreement drafted by LB & Co) was acknowledged as one of the largest mixed-use permissions in the country in 2018 and involved a team comprising some 30 consultancies. LB & Co have now been instructed by CEG on the same basis to promote a wider regeneration scheme, centred on funding the stabilisation of and bringing back into use internationally important but ‘at risk’ Grade I Listed Temple Works. This will be one of the most significant city centre regeneration schemes in the country, comprising some 27 acres adjacent to Leeds train station and the terminus for HS2. The 2020 budget announced funding to catalyse the potential for a new British Library North to be located at Temple Works.
The firm undertakes work for national and local housebuilders including Persimmon Homes, Countryside Properties and Strata Homes and developers including CEG, GMI, Litton Properties and Sterling Capitol as well as SMEs, charities and heritage organisations. The firm advised the vendors on complex planning legal aspects of a city centre site which attained a new city-wide high in purchase price for a brownfield redevelopment site.
Over the last few years, LB & Co has increased its role as planning legal adviser to a major rail freight operator, DB Cargo (UK) Limited, including extensive advice relating to rail freight facilities in the London Boroughs and input to the New London Plan. In 2019 the firm completed long-running advice on Herten Triangle, a significant extension to Lakeside sub-regional leisure park for Willmott Dixon and Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council. The firm is instructed on a strategic mixed-use development for over 43 ha of employment land and around 1700 new homes and supporting infrastructure in South Yorkshire, and by another developer for a significant office development on a site at an M1 Junction.
Carolyn and Kate’s combined experience covers the entire spectrum of planning and related areas of law, and includes:
Smaller projects can also often involve complex questions of planning law and we are often asked to advise smaller-scale developers. After taking legal advice clients need to determine whether the cost of continued advice and support will be justified by the smaller project’s returns. Please note that although we may provide informal initial advice without charge so that clients referred to us by known intermediaries can assess whether a project is viable, we do not provide any pro bono planning law services.
I have known Carolyn for many years and have always found her to be the consummate professional, an expert in her field.
Most recently, I engaged Carolyn to represent the Club (Walsall FC) in a particularly demanding and unique case, which involved the achievement of an Advertising Consent for Europe’s largest digital screen situated on the M6 motorway, and I can say with real conviction that she faced the challenge head-on, leaving no stone unturned and ultimately pursued the matter to a successful conclusion.
Carolyn has an in-depth working knowledge of Planning Law and coupled with a tenacious and determined approach makes her a leading authority in her discipline. What makes Carolyn stand out from the crowd is her ability to ‘think outside the box’ to achieve a positive outcome.
I would have no hesitation in engaging Carolyn to act on my behalf again in future.
The fact that Carolyn Lord is still working with us after 25 years of dealing with mainly very long running complex planning appeal/applications is testament to our view of her skills, personality and dogged determination to deliver planning consents.
As extremely practical and pro-active lawyers, LB & Co have added value by ensuring compliance and project delivery from their first involvement on Doncaster’s long-awaited leisure scheme at Lakeside. They have been an invaluable resource and sounding board for the project. They have helped the Council navigate through the whole development process, identifying issues and providing practical solutions.
We have had a difficult time with this … and it has really taken its toll …, we truly believe that your input has had a massive impact or resolving things that at times seemed impossible and we greatly appreciate it.
Thanks for all your support and amazing input. I wish all the planning teams I work with had you in them!!”
Carolyn Lord is well versed in advising on major development projects. Sources say she is an "excellent strategist" and "formidable operator" who is "good at dealing with complex planning applications."
Their attention to detail and ability to derive a project is terrific. They have a really pro-active approach – they identify problems but also suggest solutions.
Kate Butterfield assists clients with planning applications, appeals and compulsory purchase orders. Sources note that "she reacts to situations promptly."
Kate’s strength is being able to explain complex planning legal arguments to clients and helping clients understand the legal requirement, putting their mind at ease.
They are superb. They provide quality, clear, expert legal advice and are always on hand to respond promptly and efficiently.”
Both Kate Butterfield and Carolyn Lord have been involved in a large number of significant projects in the region for many years and are well known to the key regional developers. Their insight and expertise is well renowned in the region – there are few scenarios they haven’t seen before and they are well connected.
LB & Co has excellent knowledge of planning law, strong experience and attention to detail coupled with a strong client and team ethic‘.
The team has unrivalled experience in planning matters and delivers pragmatic and focused advice. It doesn’t overly focus on the narrower points in a transaction.
Carolyn Lord and Kate Butterfield are first-rate planning lawyers with strong planning experience coupled with an understanding of how to make things happen. They take a thorough and careful approach to all applications and legal matters and have a strong track record of success.
L B & Co Ltd
Avenue des Hirondelles
Pool in Wharfedale
Gardenhurst in Headingley Conservation Area