Taking on the role of principal planner, Kevin – who joins the consultancy after 16 years as a planning policy officer at South Derbyshire District Council and two years as a planning officer at North West Leicestershire District Council – will be offering expert planning advice to clients and formulating strategies that ensure development projects have the best chance of obtaining planning permission.
With a strong public sector background, Kevin understands the complexities of the planning system, the role politics plays in planning, and the ways in which to negotiate the balance in favour of development. He said: “I have worked in local government for many years, working with developers to bring forward housing and other developments. However, by the time local authorities see many emerging projects, much of the ‘planning’ has been done.
“Working for Marrons Planning will provide an opportunity for me to use the skills and knowledge I have learned in local government to get involved with potential development sites at an early stage, supporting developers to bring forward much-needed sustainable schemes.
“Like most people, I care about the environment, but equally there is chronic need to build more houses and commercial premises to provide the homes and jobs local communities need. I enjoy the challenge of trying to balance the issues of environmental protection with the need for growth and trying to create good quality developments that don’t cost the earth.”
During his time at South Derbyshire District Council, Kevin drafted numerous sections of the authority’s local plan document, which has successfully delivered the housing and employment land needed to meet local and wider Derby housing market area needs since 2011. He has also assisted in selecting the sites earmarked for growth and helped draft the policies included in the plan to minimise the effects of the large-scale of expansion proposed.
Kevin said: “Years working in the Derby housing market area have provided me with a good understanding of the housing and employment issues facing the area. This experience will enable me to provide insight to clients by explaining how local authority planners would likely view their proposals and how they can be enhanced, as well as assist site promoters to adjust to the challenges these issues bring.”
More recently, Kevin produced the district council’s local green spaces plan and has been involved in a number of large development projects, including major urban extensions, retail developments, road infrastructure, and energy generation schemes, such as solar farms and battery storage facilities.
Kevin added: “My extensive knowledge of environmental assessment and related legislative requirements and guidance has allowed me to get involved in a wide range of development projects for South Derbyshire District Council, as well as gain experience in dealing with a number of emerging environmental issues including in respect of nutrient neutrality – which is becoming a major bottleneck to development in a number of locations around the UK – and biodiversity net gain, which will become a mandatory requirement for most development over the next few years.“
Andy Gore, partner at Marrons Planning and head of the Nottingham team, added: “I’ve worked closely with Kevin for a number of years and know there are few planners out there who can boast a better understanding of the housing and economic issues the East Midlands faces. Kevin is an articulate and hugely experienced planner and I’m genuinely excited about the additional strength and depth he will bring to the growing Marrons Planning team.”
Kevin joins following a string of appointments by Marrons Planning, including Simon Macklen as director of economics to head up the firm’s new socio-economics service and RIBA chartered architect and urban design expert Alex Craggs in support of its newly-launched urban design service.