South East firm DMH Stallard represented Brighton & Hove Albion (FC) on its successful planning application for a 22,500-seat stadium at Falmer, on the outskirts of Brighton.
Communities secretary Hazel Blears today approved the club's planning application, which was first submitted by DMH in October 2001. The approval will see the club gain a new stadium and associated infrastructure.
The club has been represented throughout the campaign by DMH planning partner Tony Allen and Jonathan Clay, a planning barrister from 2-3 Gray's Inn Square.
Allen said: "Hazel Blears' decision vindicates the club's original selection of Falmer and the work that the professional team has done to support that choice.
"Our team, particularly our director of planning Peter Rainier, who gave planning evidence at the public inquiries, and Jonathan Clay, have worked extremely hard to achieve today's decision."
The application for the new stadium was approved by the planning applications sub-committee at Brighton & Hove City Council in June 2002, but was called in by the Secretary of State for determination in September 2002. Plans had to be reviewed after permission granted by John Prescott in October 2005 was overturned amid opposition from Lewes District Council, Falmer Parish Council and conservation groups.
Jonathan Clay said: "The Secretary of State has balanced the need of the club to have a permanent home in the city and the regeneration benefits it will provide against the impact of locating the new stadium within the Sussex Downs area, and close to the proposed South Downs National Park boundary, Falmer village and the campuses of the two universities."
Lewes District Council was represented in-house with counsel from Robert White of 4-5 Gray's Inn Square, and Falmer Parish Council used a team at EarthRights, an NGO specialising in human rights and environmental law, led by Charlie Hopkins. Brighton & Hove City Council was represented in-house.
Pending any challenges to the decision, DMH's commercial property team can now complete the development agreement and leases to allow construction to commence.