Who? David Cooper, 72, town and country planning specialist at his own City practice David Cooper & Co.

Why is he in the news? Acted for conservation campaigning groups Save Britain’s Heritage and the Victorian Society in a successful challenge to a developer’s plans to demolish part of the City of London’s 19th century Smithfield General Market.

Henderson Global Investors (HGI) had plans to demolish a derelict part of the market and replace it with restaurants, cafes and multi-storey office blocks. However, communities secretary Eric Pickles sided with the campaigners, describing the £160m proposed redevelopment as ‘wholly unacceptable’. HGI now has six weeks to appeal the decision through the High Court.

A 2008 bid by a different developer to redevelop the same part of the market also failed.

Thoughts on the case: ‘This was a good win, a white line decision showing that people today care about more things than just money. I have a deep belief in conserving our heritage and regard it as nothing short of vandalism even to consider demolishing such an important building. We must defend our values in this world.’

Why become a lawyer? ‘I come from a Jewish refugee family and my mother told me, when I was just five, that I should become a doctor or a lawyer. I don’t like blood and so the law was the obvious choice.’

Career high: ‘This case is one of them, although I have dealt with 1,100 planning enquiries in a long career.’

Career low: ‘An attempt to open a butterfly farm in Windsor Park. We were winning the application until the Queen’s equerry arrived with a letter saying she objected on security grounds.’