Lancashire planning consultancy De Pol Associates has recruited two new members of staff as part of its growth strategy. Jo Mills joins the team from Liverpool City Council where she was Principal Planner, while new graduate planner Louis Webb joins from Newcastle University where he recently completed a degree in Urban Planning.
Jo Mills holds her Master of Planning from the University of Liverpool and an MSc in Commercial Building Surveying from Liverpool John Moores University. She has 15 years’ experience in planning and building control across major residential, retail, and office projects, community facilities and heritage status projects.
Schemes include delivery of the new Merseyside Police Headquarters and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service operational centres, securing the regeneration of New Hall Campus, a development of 26 Grade II listed buildings, the majority of which were at risk. She has a high success rate on appeals and has dealt with a wide range of contentious planning issues including out-of-centre retailing, regularisation of unlawful developments and new developments within the World Heritage site.
Having completed his degree, and after regular summer work placements at De Pol throughout his course, Louis Webb has now been offered a full-time training post. He will assist the team by undertaking research, and helping to prepare documents in support of development appraisals, local plan representations, client applications and appeals as part of his professional training and development.
Alexis De Pol said: “We are delighted to welcome Jo and Louis to the De Pol team. Having been an integral part of one of the country’s busiest planning departments, dealing with a range of diverse and high-profile schemes, Jo’s credentials are incredibly impressive. Her experience of major projects, winning on appeal, and her breadth and depth of knowledge will be most welcome by our clients.
“In Louis we have an enthusiastic and smart young planner who is a great addition to our team. With strong technical skills and an up-to-the-minute grasp of the theory, Louis will immediately be able to assist and learn from his senior colleagues, and we will be working with him to develop his on the job expertise and achieve his RTPI chartered status.”
Jo said: “After 15 years of public sector planning, working predominantly within an urban environment, I was looking for an opportunity to broaden my skills within a commercial consultancy and have the chance to see a plan through from inception to a successful approval.
“De Pol has an excellent reputation for success across a wide spectrum and within a variety of locations. I am particularly looking forward to tackling the varied and complex planning issues that De Pol excels in, particularly those associated with rural sector developments, which will be an exciting new field for me to explore.”
Louis added: “Having enjoyed three years’ of summer placements at De Pol I am delighted to have been offered a graduate position and look forward to learning what I can from this fantastic team as I work towards my professional qualification.”
The recruitment comes on the back of a series of new project wins, both from new clients and existing clients increasing their activity. A resurgence in residential property and commercial development within Lancashire and nationally is resulting in a hike in planning submissions, and De Pol is picking up significant instructions throughout the county and beyond as its reputation grows.
It’s all in line with the new business strategy implemented by managing director Alexis De Pol. “We are assisting numerous clients with their expansion and redevelopment strategies and advising landowners on maximising the value of their holdings,” said Alexis.
“As our clients build for the future, we too are investing in ours. The team is expanding as we deal with higher volume from existing clients, and we are seeing more new enquiries from word-of-mouth recommendation than ever before.
“We have a track record and a client base which provides the reassurance they need, along with a hugely personable team with more than 82 years’ experience between us. We are securing the approvals and providing the advice that is really making a difference to our clients’ businesses, whatever their sector or wherever their scheme is based, and that’s what will continue to drive us.”