Legal and Project Development Team

Legal and Project Development Team

Find out about our L&PDT

L&PDT is our Legal and Project Development Team, based at The Wharf House at Over Canal Basin. It brings together the expertise needed to develop the exciting new key projects on which the Trust is focusing and is directly funded by The Wharf House.

We are pleased to able to call on pro-bono or heavily discounted support from a number of sources. The team is regularly in liaison with landowners, developers, local authorities and commercial partners as to attract funding and to maximise project delivery.

The primary focus of the L&PDT is the delivery of the long term strategic goals of the Canal Trust and the fundamental sustainability of the Waterway, not only financially, but with community, charity, and business support. This has led to the L&PDT leading on a number of projects and being a key delivery partner on others. The work undertaken is diverse including:

Work undertaken

  • All liaison with statutory bodies, developers and land negotiations
  • Legal’s and negotiations for current sites like Malswick, and Newent Station and all other land acquisitions and partnerships and negotiations.
  • The Malswick site has seen two river bridges restored and a new 32 ton capacity farm bridge constructed by volunteers across the river which splits the farm in half as part of the wider land acquisition package to reconnect the divided farm and permit us to restore the Canal alongside the B4215 severing all the farms main accesses from this road with the exception of a small swing bridge. This is coming as a donation from Somerset County Council when it becomes surplus in 2019 as part of a new road scheme. In addition 2019 and beyond will see nearly ¾ mile of canal rebuilt alongside the road and the site of a lock has also been acquired for reconstruction in the future. Many years of voluntary work are now available on land we own.
  • The work on master planning the Newent site will shortly lead to a £4-5m funding bid for the Newent Station and related infrastructure including a GWR footbridge secured form Gloucestershire County Council and the reconstruction of the two former signal boxes on site to become 2 bed air B&B rental type units; under the station and platform additional rentable space has been designed which multiplies by 3 or 4 the commercial space that would have been available in the station building alone. The site will also see the Dymock Road Aqueduct constructed; the staircase of locks; and Newent Town Basin recreated alongside the fire station. This will secure many years of volunteer work and very high profile income generating site for the long term economic prosperity of the canal.
  • Securing the restoration work carried out on Llanthony footbridge by the Government Pipelines Agency and devolving of legal liability to them.
  • Securing Consent for the successfully revised plans for the development at Dymock, and taking this forward to delivery on the ground.
  • Design and delivery of the Aylestone Park Weir to give a strategic surplus water discharge facility for the City of Hereford
  • The design of Mill Barn at Over Basin is planned to provide a desperately needed support resource for the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust. The barn will provide a much-improved volunteer mess room, disabled WC facilities, storage and a much- needed base for the expanding canal-wide maintenance team. The large loft space will provide a crucial meeting and training room, and hugely improved open plan office space for the Trust. The facilities will be available for the regular users of Over Basin like Over Fishing Club, Gloucester and District Model Boat Club and the Sailig4Disabled.
  • Growth and delivery of the Llanthony Hydro, flood relief and navigation enhancement scheme which will see a £7 10m scheme delivered to both link the Canal to the national network whilst enhancing navigation into Gloucester Docks; provide limited flood relief; hugely decrease siltation in the river above the weirs and the docks; boost tourism as a by product; and provide a secure 7 figure annual income stream.

The Team

Headed in a voluntary capacity by David Penny, Commercial & Technical Director of the Canal Trust, the team includes, solicitors, civil engineers, quantity surveyors working in both paid and voluntary capacities. David’s background includes some 30 years creating and delivering the Strategic Vision for the Canal Trust which has helped make it one of the most highly respected in the Country for its vision to be financially independent and secure a return from those who benefit.

David was also a Partner for 8 years in Penny Environmental and Planning, working on European scale civil engineering projects, and matters of National and European Precedents in Planning and Environmental Law. This provides a diverse experience covering legal, negotiation, project development and management, and major Civil’s work, and an understanding of environmental, and technical aspects of potential projects and developments. At times this included Chairing project groups for Clients to deliver £5m cost solutions instead of the worst case of £50m through negotiation and lateral thinking.
In a private capacity he has led a £1 billion master-plan for a private developer leading the strategy and co-ordinating architects as well
undertaking the negotiations on behalf of the developer with leading landowners and partners including jointly presenting to the Local Authorities Cabinet and Directors.
In addition to running The Wharf House and being one of the Chefs there winning AA Rosettes and training chefs to Rosette standard, David also has a diverse interest in early stage tech and food industry businesses including supporting and advising a graduate led start up in the food tech sector that has increased in value 3 fold in 2 years to £1.2m.
Dr Caroline Buffery joined the team 4 years ago and not only brings her legal background but also her PhD was ‘the legal geography of the River Severn’ and so ideally fits with our Llanthony Hydro plans. Much of her time however is spent with Company Secretary duties for both Companies and ensuring that rents and other income is duly collected – on which she draws on previous roles in housing and tenancy law. Alongside this is the considerable work in closing a raft of land acquisitions and general legal work for the Trust. If it needs doing Cal tends to end up doing it, and is the only person currently paid in the L&PDT.

Thomas Ashworth joined the team in a voluntary capacity following a presentation by David to members of the Institution of Civil Engineers in Gloucestershire on the diverse work in hand and the commercial strategy of the L&PDT. As a Civil Engineer he is playing a crucial role in helping to take projects forward, and we are also very pleased to have the assistance of his employer Tony Gee & Partners. They have an enviable reputation worldwide including such appropriate projects as the Falkirk Wheel, and we are very grateful for their ‘back office’ support in providing resources and technical expertise to assist Thomas in providing this crucial expertise to the H&G Canal Trust. We very grateful for his ongoing support Designing the Overflow at Aylestone, Cycle store at Over, embankment at Dymock and most recently the new bridge at Malswick. Currently he is designing our next project of the Malswick Swing Bridge.

David Gregory of David Gregory Design who lives within sight of the Newent project and heads this up in a voluntary capacity providing all the architectural support for this site, as well as looking at a future accommodation block at Malswick House.

Roberts Limbrick Architects, Gloucester – have supported us taking forward Mill Barn and supported us with design services, all on a pro- bono basis, for both Kymin and Malswick Canal restoration.

Rosamund Rutter worked for The Wharf House prior to and during her Law degree and helped form the fledgling L&PDT in 2010 whilst still at University, Roz joined the team full time having finished her Law degree in June 2011 to head up the legal services. Roz returned to the team full time in June 2013 having been on sabbatical to complete her Bar Professional Training Course to become a Barrister. Now a Barrister with Apex Chambers, Cardiff she gives advice if required in a pro-bono capacity.

Nigel Johnsonthe former Head of Legal at British Waterway who delivered its transformation into Canal & River Trust the largest transfer of assets from the public to third sector. In his ‘retirement’ as well as overseeing the complete renewal and updating of the Canal Trust’s Articles of Association and giving other Strategic advice to the Trust he delivered the transfer of English Heritage to the third sector and the formation of The Royal Parks as a Charity. We are very grateful to have his outstanding level of expertise and experience in the team when required.

We are pleased to have been assisted in delivering the projects the Trust has seen in the last 10 years with the assistance of former members of the team:-
Simon Freeman former Partner of Gabbs Hereford – who has kindly provided practical advice and support to the legal team firstly whilst at Gabbs and then in pro-bono capacity after retirement. His advice and support having been much appreciate over a number of year.Colm Coyle – an experienced architect with whom we have worked on anumber of projects in a professional capacity and developed a most understanding relationship with (he tolerates David’s red ink better than could ever be expected!) and joined the team in a voluntary capacity to help deliver Mill Barn.
Tony Kelly – assists as required in a voluntary capacity on the QS side. Most appropriately he has recently retired as the Head of QS Studies at Birmingham City University and is particularly assisting in delivery of the reconstruction of Mill Barn as a new Headquarters.
Katie Purton has strong academic background within law, having recently achieved a master’s degree and distinction on LPC, a commendation on GDL, and a 2.1 at degree level. Particularly focused on property and company law with a variety of practical experience within the legal sector, including litigation. Katie joined us full time in January 2013, having been part time for the previous two months, and moved to Charles Russell Solicitors in April, and continues in an occassional role in her spare time. The role blends her keen interest in the law with the appreciation for the charity’s admirable preservation work.
Stephanie Pike joined our Legal & Project Development Team (L&PDT) at The Wharf House on a 6 month internship which is 50% funded by the University of the West of England. She took the role of the Legal & Project Development Assistant in support of our then recently qualified barrister Roz Rutter.
In addition we were very grateful for the support in the teams formation of Peel Group (owners of Gloucester Quays) who have sponsored our &G Canal Festival at Over, as well as contributing towards the employment costs of our L&PDT.


We welcome speculative applications from those who feel that they could assist in our work within L&PDT, in a voluntary, reduced cost or paid capacity. We are looking for people with a various skills and experience who have enthusiasm and an interest in the work of the H&GCT. Graduates and interns who feel that they could benefit from joining the team can also send a CV and a covering letter.

Please email l&

We currently specifically have vacancies for:

  1. A legal assistant, preferably with some practical experience in land law.
  2. A fundraising and  marketing assistant.
  3. A part-time Clerk of Works to oversee the growing number of projects on site undertaken both by volunteers and contractors.

We are very pleased to have the support of Peel Group (owners of Gloucester Quays) who have to sponsored our H&G Canal Festival at Over, as well as contributing towards the employment costs of our L&PDT.