Guildford 01483 539131
London 0207 1526050

Dr Ashley Bowes

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Called to Bar:
2013 Gray’s Inn (Prince of Wales Scholar)

Practice Areas


Ph.D (Employment Law)
LLB (2:1 Hons)
BPTC (“Very Competent”)
Public Access Registered

Planning and Property Law

Ashley has a wide range of experience representing developers, local authorities and residents’ groups in planning, property, village green, rights of way and common land disputes. He is the Assistant Editor of Sweet & Maxwell’s Journal of Planning & Environment Law, which is the leading industry journal for planning professionals. He is also a contributor to the 13th edition of Moore & Purdue’s A Practical Approach to Planning Law published by Oxford University Press, and to Sweet & Maxwell’s ‘Planning Law’ commentary on Westlaw UK Insight. He was formerly a planning consultant and is an elected member of a Surrey local planning authority.

He has won recognition for his practice in this field from judges:

… I do not think that [the Claimants’] interests could have been better advanced than by the untiring efforts of Dr Bowes.” – Mr Justice Holgate in R(Tadworth &c.) v Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [2015] EWHC 972 (Admin.) at [98].

from barrister-inspectors:

covered everything of importance [for his client]” (Village Green Inquiry at Rydens Way, 2011), “very effective” (Village Green Inquiry at Sawpit Green, 2012), “an experienced advocate” (Village Green Inquiry at Ash Meadows, 2013).

from clients:

“It was very comforting for us to have someone with such in-depth knowledge in this specialised area of planning helping and advising us. At the Inquiry itself our excellent choice of barrister was readily apparent. We were all very impressed with Ashley’s presence, the way he supported our witnesses, and his approach in dealing with any arguments raised by the objectors’ barrister” – Allan Jones, Founder member and a Director of Bryants Bottom Community Trust CIC.

and from academic commentators:

“The subject of town and village greens … has become increasingly important and therefore a final chapter has been devoted to this subject written by Dr Ashley Bowes who is an expert in this field” – Professor Michael Purdue, Forward to A Practical Approach to Planning Law (2014, Oxford University Press).

His notable recent cases include:

  • A “significant Planning Court claim” concerning policies for the supply of housing in a 400 homes residential development on a Greenfield site in Surrey – R(Ash Parish Council) v Guildford Borough Council [2014] EWHC 3864 (Admin.), [2015] 5 JPL 604 (led by Paul Brown QC)
  • A village green judicial review application described by Planning Magazine as a “test case” – concerning whether the “by right” doctrine applies to private land managed by a local authority, and the scope of s.15(6) Commons Act 2006 – R(Naylor) v Essex County Council [2014] EWHC 2560 (Admin.), [2015] 2 JPL 217.
  • A judicial review of a decision to deregister and exchange common land in Surrey – R(Tadworth & Walton Residents’ Association) v Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [2015] EWHC 972 (Admin.), [2015] All ER (D) 121 (Apr.)
  • A tortious High Court claim against a highway authority for obstructing a private right of access without statutory authority – Lynchford Tyres Ltd v Hampshire County Council (Claim No. HQ14XO2804)

His recent inquiry and advisory work includes:

  • Successfully representing the Applicant to register two large fields as a village green in Buckinghamshire, in the face of strong landowner objection at public inquiry.
  • Successfully representing the British Horse Society to resist the down-grading of a long-established Restricted Byway to a footpath in East Sussex following a two week long public inquiry.
  • Successfully represented a Norfolk residents’ group resist an application for a wind-turbine.
  • Represented North Horsham Parish Council at an Examination in Public of the Horsham Local Plan to successfully promote an alternative site to accommodate the strategic housing needs of the District.
  • Advised Burpham neighbourhood forum in its successful bid to be designated to represent all of Burpham ward in-spite of landowner objections.
  • Representing and advising Frack Free Fylde against the Cuadrilla’s application for hydraulic fracturing in Lancashire.
  • Representing and advising a developer promoting a 90 unit residential and retail scheme on the Surrey Green Belt.
  • Representing and advising a residents’ group opposing a 2,000 unit residential allocation in Arun District at the Examination in Public.
  • Representing and advising three Applicants in applications to register land as a town or village green across the South East of England.

Ashley is a member of the Planning and Environment Bar Association.

Employment Law

Ashley holds a PhD in Employment Law from the University of Surrey and has written and delivered academic papers on a range of employment law issues. He has a wide experience in all aspects of employment litigation and his recent work includes:

  • Currently engaged in a complex Tribunal hearing concerning the scope of a “worker” in EU law for the purposes of holiday pay, national minimum wage and daily rest periods. (2014)
  • Successfully arguing that to be on “garden leave” requires an employee to remain available to work at his employer’s direction – Jackson v Castle Vets Ltd (Case no. 2700273/2014) (2014)
  • Successfully negotiating a settlement package (including an agreed reference) for a head of department in a secondary school in a stress at work claim (2014)
  • Successfully negotiating a settlement package (including an agreed reference) for a sixth form college teacher in a constructive unfair dismissal and age discrimination claim (2013)
  • Successfully negotiating a receptionist in holiday pay claim a settlement package (2012)
  • Successfully representing a ferry steward at one day judicial mediation (2012)
  • Successfully negotiating a facilities manager in flexible working/sex discrimination claim a settlement package (2012)

Licensing Law

Ashley has a broad experience of licensing law having chaired a number of licensing sub-committees, which have considered, premises licenses, licensing reviews and applications, and taxi licenses reviews and applications.

His recent work includes:

  • Appearing (as a pupil) in a judicial review concerning whether a “best endeavors” condition was enforceable and consistent with other operating schedules – R(Star Oyster Ltd) v Guildford Borough Council [2014] EWHC 2174 (Admin.)
  • Appearing for a major night club owner in a judicial review concerning whether in resolving to adopt extended sexual entertainment venue powers, the licensing authority acted unlawfully in failing to consult only “local people”, irrationally in affording less weight to written representations, and in breach of a legitimate expectation not to consider anonymous representations – R(Extreme Oyster Ltd) v Guildford Borough Council (CO/4543/2014)
  • Successfully appearing for an applicant for a shadow premises license for table dancing (amongst other licensable activity) to demonstrate (i) a proposed condition concerning door staff should be removed and (ii) the proposed DPS was appropriate following Police and licensing authority objections.

Judicial Review

With a growing High Court practice, Ashley welcomes instructions to advise and act in judicial review or statutory review proceedings in any of the above areas.


  • ‘The Localism Act 2011 and the General Power of Competence’ (with Dr John Stanton, City University) [2014] Public Law (Jul) 373-402.
  • ‘Determining a neighbourhood area’ [2013] 8 JPL 926-930′
  • “As of Right” the current conceptual crisis in the public law of prescription post Barkas‘ [2013] 5 JPL 495
  • ‘Delivering Housing Need: an assessment of the NPPF’ [2012] 10 JPL 1174
  • ‘The Uncertain Prescriptive Underpinnings of the Town and Village Green Regime’ [2012] 7 JPL 789
  • ‘The Registration of Town or Village Greens and the Res Judicata Myth’ [2012] 1 JPL 10-19
  • ‘The Rise of the Neighbourhood Triffids’ [2011] 4 JPL 386–391
  • ‘A Bright Future for BSF?’ [2011] 16(2) Judicial Review 156-162
  • ‘Revocation of Regional Strategies, a State Frontier Rolled Back too Soon?’ [2011] 2 JPL 137–142
  • ‘To Consider or not to Consider? – the Materiality of off-site Benefits in Compulsory Purchase Law’ [2011] 16(1) Judicial Review 60-65
  • ‘Can Religion be Racially Discriminatory?’ (2009) 10(3) International Journal of Discrimination and the Law 149–160

Further Information

Ashley enjoys playing the piano and organ, and walks with his dog, Boris.

Guildford Chambers Stoke House, Leapale Lane, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 4LY