A senior planner at housing and regeneration quango the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is moving to a new planning consultancy that will focus on supporting large-scale residential projects such as garden villages.
Stephen Hill finishes his role as Northern Coordinator for the HCA’s ATLAS (Advisory Team for Large Applications) team at on Friday.
Next week, he starts at new consultancy Hyas, which he has founded with two former ATLAS colleagues, Rob Smith and Paul Brockway.
Hyas, says Hill, aims to provide advice and support to both local authorities and landowners, where they are working with councils, on the delivery of large-scale projects through the planning system.
Hill said: “We recognised, through our ATLAS work, that, when it comes to the delivery of large-scale, residential-led places, there’s a real lack of skills, capacity and knowledge in the sector, mainly in local authorities.
“There’s also a lack of skills and knowledge in the support provided by many private practices. So we felt the demand was there.”
Hill said Hyas viewed the government’s recent announcement of support for new garden towns and villages as a “key opportunity”, adding: “They do need some intensive support to get them moving.”
Hyas, said Hill, has particular skills and knowledge around viability, masterplanning and project deliverability “that we are hoping to utilise with good effect”.
Current projects include working with Aylesbury Vale District Council on Aylesbury Garden Town in Buckinghamshire and with three north Essex district councils and Essex County Council on the North Essex Garden Communities scheme.
The company’s head office is in Newport Pagnell, with a presence in Bristol and Staffordshire.
As well as the three directors, the firm also includes Gilian Macinnes, formerly of the Planning Advisory Service, and former ATLAS head Simon Leask.
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