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Karen Cooksley

Position: Partner

Core Areas: Real Estate

Specialist Areas: Planning (law, policy, strategy and tactics), Development, Regeneration, Tall Buildings, Urban Extensions, Affordable Housing, Sports Facilities and Stadia, Heritage, CIL and s106 agreements


Legal 500 - Leading Individual 2017Karen Cooksley - Chambers UK 2016

Karen Cooksley - Mover & Shaker of the Year 2015

Karen is Head of Winckworth Sherwood's planning team and handles specialist development and residential planning matters. She has 25 years’ experience in planning law, as well as a strong reputation in relation to the delivery of major projects. Karen is consistently listed as one of the leading planning lawyers in the Country, particularly in relation to London projects and residential/mixed use schemes.

She was voted “Mover and Shaker of the Year” in 2015, in recognition of her networking skills, which she brings to bear in her work for clients by having broad and deep connections politically, administratively and throughout the development industry and its intermediaries.

She is recognised by Chambers UK as having "a very focused and commercial approach to development which clients greatly value"

Recent experience

  • Essential Living on its schemes at Archway Tower (using office to resi permitted development rights) Greenwich and the Perfume Factory Ealing (both using an innovative discounted market rent structure), Berkshire House, Maidenhead (where Karen advised on local authority governance matters to help reverse a refusal of permission) and Helix Tower (where Karen helped negotiate a reduction in affordable housing on viability grounds)
  • Quinn Estates Limited and Redrow Homes on all planning aspects of a major scheme for 550 new homes and a leading sports hub providing new tennis, hockey, cricket and football club facilities. The work of our team has included preparations for a major public inquiry which was avoided by negotiation of a key S106 agreement in relation to a parallel application
  • The London Borough of Wandsworth on matters relating to the redevelopment of the Battersea Power Station, including listed building matters and the demolition of the iconic chimneys. She has also advised on planning aspects of the related Northern Line extension and the redevelopment of One Nine Elms.  Her work has included re-planning and re-phasing advice on statutory agreements, varying consents, advice on s106 agreements and conditioning
  • Barratt London on various schemes including joint venture projects such as Fulham Wharf, Nine Elms and Sugar Quay
  • London Square on the on the redevelopment of the Royal Star and Garter Home in Richmond, among others
  • St George in relation to Imperial Wharf/Chelsea Creek (a project in which she has been engaged since 1997), Fulham Reach and Battersea Reach
  • Various clients on major new settlements and urban extensions including Peel Holdings on Liverpool Waters, South Hams District Council, Plymouth City Council and Devon County Council on Sherford and Dover District Council on Whitfield
  • Karen is a leading expert on CIL planning and has been giving advice to clients such as Barratt, Redrow, Notting Hill, Genesis, Catalyst and Metropolitan HA as to CIL risk and mitigation.

Professional memberships

Law Society of England and Wales

Academician of the Academy of Urbanism

Work history

2011 to present, Partner and Head of Planning, Winckworth Sherwood

2009 to 2011, Partner and Head of Planning, Field Fisher Waterhouse

2004 to 2009, Partner and Head of Regeneration and Head of Housing, Bevan Brittan

1996 to 2004, Partner, Masons 

1993 to 1996, Legal Manager, Freshfields Brukhaus Deringer

1987 to 1989, Articled Clerk, Winckworth & Pemberton 

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Upcoming Events :

Social Housing Annual Conference 2017

Thu 09 Nov 2017

200 Aldersgate, London, EC1A 4HD

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Winckworth Sherwood's real estate practice continues to impress sources with its diverse workload, including a number of innovative development deals.

Chambers and Partners UK