Matt Gilks

Matt Gilks

Senior Associate Solicitor
Romsey Stuart Court Salisbury Road Romsey SO51 6DJ
Mobile 07387023890

Senior Associate Solicitor - Planning and Environment

Matt advises on planning and environmental matters, with a particular focus on rural and urban diversification, regeneration and bespoke business and residential development. He has practised as a Barrister in the Government Legal Service, a solicitor at international law firms in London and a Principal Planning Solicitor. Matt regularly speaks at RICS events and is a member of the RICS Rural Market Forum, the London Society and the Environmental Law Foundation, and a Committee Member of the Hampshire CLA.

Development of Land

Drawing on his experience as an advisory lawyer to the Secretary of State, Matt advises on a broad range of complex commercial residential and mixed-use project matters. His role in central government involved drafting legislation and examining appeal decision letters, giving him unique insight when it comes to helping clients create strategies to overcome obstacles during the planning application or appeal stages.

Matt was also the lead legal adviser to the UK government during negotiations of the Seveso II Directive on the control of major accident hazards. He is a valuable source of knowledge for cases involving hazardous substances, conservation areas and listed buildings.


As part of our Agriculture team, Matt is a trusted adviser to large landowners on matters ranging from music festivals to sensitive ecological and landscape issues and concerns involving the Environment Agency and Natural England. His work includes halting planning enforcement investigations and prosecutions, including tree preservation orders and breach of condition notices.

In particular, Matt has a strong understanding of regulations and environment affecting South of England AONBs, the South Downs National Park and the New Forest.

Matt's relevant experience includes:
  • providing strategic advice on planning law and a section 106 planning obligation, resulting in planning permission for high profile, four-day summer music festival in the South Downs National Park;
  • advising on the planning and highway aspects of the City of London's Aldgate Project regeneration
  • advising a Spanish international infrastructure corporate on the planning aspects of its proposed purchase of an environmental business with over 26 waste transfer and landfill sites
  • negotiating the section 106 planning obligation on behalf of the City of London for the Bloomberg European HQ, including the relocation of the Temple of Mithras scheduled monument
  • advising Transport for London and the London Development Agency on major infrastructure and regeneration projects
  • providing strategic advice to a Surrey-based diversified farming business, enabling it to obtain retrospective planning consent securing 250 jobs and a £16.5m turnover in the context of a planning enforcement notice appeal and planning application refusal appeal
  • advising the Conservators of Epping Forest on a three-day opposed inquiry before the Secretary of State dealing with objections to and representations about cattle grid and by-pass proposals
  • obtaining indemnity costs against Hampshire Local Planning Authority in planning enforcement proceedings for an alleged unauthorised dwelling
  • advising a London local authority, in partnership with a British international airline, on the prospects of defeating or minimising a £6m claim for compensation pursuant to a Compulsory Purchase Order to facilitate its international headquarters
Notable cases include:
  • acting for a Claimant to successfully quash a  Development Consent Order approved by the Secretary of State for Business for a 158 turbine windfarm off the coast of Norfolk, because of a failure to take into account the cumulative environmental impacts with a sister scheme comprising the largest windfarm project in Europe. The landowner claimed he was adversely affected by the onshore infrastructure and had proposed an alternative Offshore Ring Main solution in substitution. This was the first time an objector had been successful in the Planning Court after a defended hearing, ever since the inception of the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project consent regime under the Planning Act 2008: Pearce v Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy [2021] EWHC 326 (Admin).
  • successfully defending and obtaining indemnity costs against the claimant third-party beneficiary of a section 106 planning obligation, who sought a court order to compel enforcement by a local planning authority: Milebush Properties Ltd v Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council [2010] 30 EG 64 [2010] EWHC 1022 (Ch)
  • quashing the Secretary of State's decision to block the claimant's opportunity to claim compensation for an appeal refusing works to a protected tree: Beyers and another v Secretary of State for Environment, Transport and Regions [2000] CO/4446/99 (Admin)

Accolade 1

Special thanks go to Matt Gilks who's been exceptional in terms of his knowledge, skill and genuine willingness to help. I find it uncommon for somebody to cover so broad spectrum of expertise to such a high standard and it was simply a delight to work with Matt both on professional and personal level. -