Birketts announces Partner appointment

Deborah Sharples

Top 100 law firm, Birketts, has announced the appointment of Deborah Sharples as a Partner in its highly regarded Planning and Environmental Team earlier this month.

She is based in Birketts’ Ipswich office, but will support colleagues across all four offices in Cambridge, Chelmsford, Ipswich and Norwich and will continue to work for clients nationally.

Deborah qualified in 1990 and has over 28 years’ experience as a solicitor acting for a wide range of clients, including manufacturers, farmers and landowners, waste management businesses, private individuals and public bodies. Prior to joining Birketts, Deborah was a Partner and the Head of Planning and Environment at Hewitsons for 15 years, during which time she built up a strong reputation in the sector and gained recognition in the Legal 500 Hall of Fame.

Deborah has considerable experience advising on contentious and non-contentious planning and environmental matters and in connection with public rights of way and access to land. Her experience includes acting in respect of alleged breaches of environmental permits, abatement notices relating to statutory nuisance, environmental impact assessment and claims relating to the modification of the definitive map to add rights of way.  

Deborah also acts in relation to some types of civil contentious matters, where they relate to her areas of practice and in particular in relation to judicial review and other statutory challenges to decisions by public bodies. She has recent experience of advising in relation to a challenge to the grant of a hazardous substances consent and in relation to challenges to the grant of permission for poultry houses.

Deborah also has extensive experience in providing support for planning applications and appeals, section 106 Agreements and planning enforcement. Deborah’s considerable expertise also enables her to skilfully deal with matters in which there is an overlap between environmental and planning issues, such as environmental impact assessment and sensitive ecological issues.

Deborah represents clients accused of planning and environmental offences in PACE Act interviews and acts as an advocate in the magistrates’ courts and at public inquiries.

Commenting on her appointment, Deborah Sharples, Partner, said: “It is exciting to join a firm with such an innovative and inclusive culture, and at such a high point in its history. I am delighted to have the opportunity to share the benefit of my extensive experience with my colleagues, and of course, our growing client base. I feel that my diverse knowledge further strengthens the team’s offering and I look forward to contributing to the growth of Birketts’ reputation for superior client service.”

Tom Newcombe, Partner and Head of Birketts Planning and Environmental Team, added: “I am very pleased to be able to add Deborah to the Team. Her extensive experience working with such a broad client base, particularly on environmental and rights of way matters boosts the team’s credentials greatly and I’m sure existing and new clients across the region and far beyond will appreciate the skills and wisdom she can offer.”



Birketts is a top 100 UK law firm with offices in Cambridge, Chelmsford, Ipswich and Norwich. Our lawyers deliver a full range of expert legal advice on corporate and commercial, commercial property, dispute resolution and private client issues. Our clients trust us to achieve a solution that is right for them however difficult or challenging the circumstances.

Birketts LLP