Meet the Team

Here you will find out a bit more about each of our panellists where links for their personal pages at their firms and chambers can be found.

Charlie Banner QC
Charlie Banner QC

I’m a proud Brummie now living in London (which isn’t quite as much as a sell-out as a certain Yorkshireman now living in Lancashire). I’m famous for my unparalleled music taste, although I gather my take on what “unparalleled” means in this context is different from everyone else’s. I was once on stage with Bon Jovi and still have the hair to prove it. In my spare time between karaoke, acting as family chauffeur, and HWGPNFY, I’m a barrister at Keating Chambers specialising in planning law and other related fields. I’ve run 9 London Marathons but haven’t yet dared do a 10th as Sasha has started running them and the risk of losing to him and being forever humiliated isn’t worth it. I ski badly but enthusiastically, much like my guitar playing. And whilst Chris is Young, I am Younger.

Mary Cook
Mary Cook

My name is Mary and after many years in chambers, including serving as Joint Head of Cornerstone Barristers, I left to help set up the inclusive planning niche law firm Town Legal LLP and I am now based in the City.  For the last 30 years I have lived in Wandsworth with another barrister Nick and our three children;  Annie, Josh & Ellie. My daughters are, like me, super competitive and (unlike me) played lacrosse for England.  Annie is management consultant in the banking sector and Ellie is an EIA consultant ! My son is in the flexible office sector where his easy charm pays off . He is a party animal (like me) as those of you who have attended the Joint Oxford Law Conference, which I help to organise, can attest to.  All of my family work and play hard. Our favourite holiday location is North Cornwall and/or the ski slopes somewhere;  if we are not on hols we might very well be at Twickenham at an England rugby game or in the bar at the Turks Head afterwards.  If you see me by chance and I failed to respond, it’s not me, it’s my twin. Do say hello , her name is Sarah.

Paul Tucker QC
Paul Tucker QC

Paul is a Yorkshireman by birth and inclination. To the shame of his family he has lived in Lancashire for over 20 years and claims to be doing missionary work. He is married to his artist wife Ursula and has three sons Matt, Will & Luke. He has strongly discouraged his children from being lawyers and instead has encouraged his children to do what he really wanted to do. His eldest son has played high level Rugby having captained Irish Exiles at U19s level. His middle son is the lead singer of the band The Ruby Tuesdays and his youngest son is currently working on a domestic particle reactor. Paul is quite involved in lots of legal things (see his chambers website) but more importantly he likes Rugby, is proud of being based at Kings Chambers in Manchester, thinks he can play guitar but is actually hopeless at it. He would also like to point out that whilst he is pleased and proud to be involved with the show, he can’t recall ever finalising his appearance fee and is waiting for Sasha’s lawyers to get in touch!

Sasha White QC
Sasha White QC

Sasha White has been a planning barrister now for 29 years. He lives in London and Oxfordshire. He is also a sports fanatic and has season tickets at Arsenal, Rangers, Lords, Twickenham and Murrayfield. He is a Director of Middlesex County Cricket Club. He also runs Marathons [3 so far] and plays golf badly. He is also planning to cycle from Lands End to John O’Groats in August 2020. He is married to Clare and the proud father of 3 wonderful kids and a beautiful sheltie.

Chris Young QC
Chris Young QC

I used to be a racing driving for Aston Martin. But wanted more excitement in my life. So I became a planning barrister. And now, nothing inspires me more each day that the prospect of cross-examining a witness over a highway junction model.  I live in Hogwarts Castle with my family, two rabbits and an Owl called Presumption. Married to Emma (also a barrister) with two (almost adorable) kids. I support Aston Villa and Gloucester Rugby. My son supports Spurs. I coach my son’s rugby, run up hills and ski off-piste obsessively. I have travelled the globe: first as a penniless student, including working for the National Parks in Australia; and now as champagne backpacker with the family. I have never been to Holland. I love beer, red wine and Japanese food. I have driven HGVs. I did a PhD for one week. I can swim underwater for ages. The Queen has sought my views on Rupert Murdoch. Favourite film is Lawrence of Arabia. And I have never seen Aliens or the Matrix. I love to read, mostly decisions about five year housing land supply. Only two of these facts are untrue.   

Rebecca Craig
Rebecca Craig

My name is Rebecca and I have worked alongside Mary at Town Legal for three and a half years. I live in Hertfordshire with my cat Molly, who likes to steal my chair when I am not looking. I graduated with a History degree from the University of Sheffield in 2015, where I also developed an undying love of 70s disco and, most importantly, pies. After leaving uni I embarked upon studying the Graduate Diploma in Law where I learnt some stuff and then promptly forgot it all, and I will soon be swapping the Big Smoke for life in rainy Glasgow as I go on to study a Master’s degree in City Planning. My goals for next year include not freezing to death in my student flat, and to develop a love for rain, whisky, more rain, and all things deep-fried.

Rob Newbery
Rob Newbery

Rob is Have We Got Planning News For You’s resident IT “professional” and is mostly responsible for making the 5 panellists look good in post-production. He has two Art degrees and lives in good old Lancashire, dangerously close to a certain Mr Tucker QC. After six long years working as an IT and Systems Manager for an online retailer, he realised that his skills would be better put to good use starting his own company, bluebear IT. Rob enjoys technology (unsurprisingly), video production, being in the great outdoors (especially skiing), Formula 1 and other motorsports. He has an unusually strong dislike for restaurants that serve food on roof tiles or wooden chopping boards and thoroughly enjoys not cooking whenever possible.

Presumption the Owl
Presumption the Owl

Presumption has come first in Planning magazine’s annual survey of the “Most Respected Woodland Bird” for the last five years, having won the under 35 months category for the preceding three years. He lives in Hogwarts with Chris. And has no regrets about not trying to make it in London. He thinks he is a Tawny owl. But is reluctant to be pigeon-holed. He would like everyone to know he was not born in a barn. He likes eating out, especially at night. His favourite food is Chinese. He has been out with lots of birds, but there is no one special right now. He is also hedging his bets and is now on Grindr. His favourite author AA Milne. His favourite film director is Alfred Hitchcock. His has never been to Barnard Castle (not with that eyesight). His ambition is to work for the Post Office or at an Airport. He doesn’t suffer twits gladly. He’s a big fan of Cheltenham Town FC (“the Robins”). His claim to fame is he once played rugby of Newcastle on the wing.