Home Appointments & Contracts County Durham planning consultancy expands with senior hire

County Durham planning consultancy expands with senior hire

Steve Hesmondhalgh, Mark Russell
From left – Steve Hesmondhalgh, Mark Russell

County Durham and Harrogate-based planning consultancy Steve Hesmondhalgh & Associates has appointed Mark Russell as its new head of planning.

Mr Russell, previously principle planning adviser at the Scottish housebuilders’ national industry body, Homes for Scotland, joins the planning and development practice with over 17 years’ of public and private sector planning experience.

Beginning his career at Eden District Council in rural Cumbria, Mr Russell has also worked at Edinburgh City Council on major projects, and spent six years leading a large planning team at Fife Council. He then moved to the private sector as associate director with international planning consultancy RPS, based in Edinburgh.

With offices in Newton Aycliffe in County Durham and Harrogate, Steve Hesmondhalgh & Associates’  recent planning successes include the redevelopment of the highly controversial Boosbeck abattoir near Redcar  for housing; gaining planning approval for a £3m tourism and leisure development at Angrove Country Park near Great Ayton; planning permission for 145 homes on the edge of Kirklevington near Yarm and enabling fashion design business Inspire Intimates to create new offices in the former Bilton Library in Harrogate.

With particular expertise in housing and tourism schemes, the firm works on projects for organisations and individuals across the North of England, collaborating, when projects demand, with a team of specialist consultants including architects, economic and tourism consultants, transport engineers, ecologists and landscape architects.

Managing director, Steve Hesmondhalgh, said: “I am really pleased to be welcoming a new colleague on board with Mark’s breadth of town planning experience. The changes to the UK planning system mean there are many opportunities emerging for new development that will address the shortage of homes across the country.  As head of planning Mark will lead on a range of the new projects we will be seeing in the coming months.”

He added: “We have a strong team and an impressive, successful track record of delivering commercially viable schemes for clients and we look forward to helping them to take a pragmatic approach to making development projects a reality in the new planning environment.”