Charlie Hopkins
Planning and environmental consultant

Cases and campaigns

Latest: 2021–2023

Sheep in front of a quarry equipment.

  • Didcot HIF1 road scheme—opposing a major infrastructure development on behalf of five parish councils involving a £300m new road being promoted by Oxfordshire County Council (OCC). The scheme is accompanied by a full Environmental Statement and we've assembled a team of experts in the fields of Sustainable Transport, landscape impacts and hydrology to object to the proposal, which involves a new river crossing over the Thames. The new road will increase traffic and carbon emissions at a time when OCC is committed to a 25% reduction in private car travel by 2030. Other adverse environmental impacts include elevated risks of flooding, noise and air pollution, harm to the Green Belt and European Protected Species (otters and bats). The plan was rejected by Oxfordshire County Council's planning committee in July 2023.
  • Oxford Brookes University, Clive Booth Student Village, Oxford—acting for a large group of local residents opposing a planning application to demolish 12 student accommodation blocks and replacing them with more intrusive and unnecessary units. Issues include the carbon footprint of demolition as opposed to refurbishment, impacts on landscape, protected species, tree felling and, traffic. The application was refused on two separate occasions by Oxford City Council, but over-ruled by its Planning Review Committee in highly controversial circumstances. A call-in request was submitted but refused by the Secretary of State.
  • Pinewood Studios (again!)—this time a proposal for the Pinewood Experience, a major visitor attraction, involving up to 2 million visitors a year (60% travelling by private car). I acted for and continue to advise local residents opposed to the development. Issues include greenhouse gas emissions, protected species, Green Belt incursion and air quality.
  • West Berks Mineral and Waste Local Plan—representing local residents opposed to the proposed allocation of a site for the extraction of sand and gravel in an AONB. Represented local residents at a "virtual" Examination in Public in Feb 2022.
  • St Mawgan, Cornwall—represented the local Parish Council, St Mawgan in Pydar, at a public inquiry into the proposed closure of a Public Right of Way (PROW). This matter is now the subject of a Judicial Review in the High Court.
  • Animal Distribution Centre, Honiton—. Acting for local residents and the Parish Council opposed to the relocation of an animal distribution centre to an isolated, rural area within an AONB. Concerns included traffic impacts, residential amenity and adverse landscape impacts.
  • Enfield Farm Anaerobic Digestor—Clyst St Mary, Devon. Advising local residents concerned over the operation of an anaerobic digestor with numerous apparent breaches of planning conditions and failure on the part of the local authority to enforce conditions.
  • Islington, London—advising local residents opposed to the development of residential units in the London Borough of Islington. Issues include residential amenity, noise and impacts on a Conservation Area.
  • Elvaston Castle, Derbyshire—advising the local Friends of the Earth group opposed to a major redevelopment of a Country Park for commercial use. Total visitor trips are estimated at 400,000 per year, the majority of which will involve travel by private car. Other issues include the loss of ancient woodland, inappropriate development in the Green Belt and carbon emissions.
  • Bass Recreation Ground, Derby—a proposal to build part of a flood defence scheme in a public open space. Local residents and Friends of the Earth are concerned about the lack of environmental impact appraisal, flood-plain development, tree felling and impacts on protected species.

Earlier cases and campaigns

Recent work: 2020–2021

Representation at earlier public inquiries

Campaigners from the White Horse Alliance, Westbury.

Photo: Campaigners against the Westbury bypass successfully defeated their road scheme in 2009. Photo by kind permission of the White Horse Alliance.

Advisory work at public inquiries

Old rusty wheelbarrow on an allotment

Photo: I've helped a number of allotment societies to resist development schemes.

Planning advisory work

Court of Appeal, High Court cases, and other litigation

Beach huts, Swanage Bay

Photo: Legal challenges can make a long-term difference. "R v Carrick District Council ex parte Shelley" was part of a long-running campaign to make water companies dispose of sewage more responsibly, making beaches and bathing waters cleaner and safer.