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Planning consultancy grows socio-economics service with expert director hire

Economic Development | News

Planning consultancy Marrons Planning has expanded and bolstered its socio-economics service with the appointment of housing need research specialist Dan Usher.

Dan joins the team as economics director after more than 11 years at Barton Willmore, now Stantec, where he worked his way up from senior planner to development economics associate. Prior to this, Dan spent six years as a planning officer in numerous local authorities in Sussex. He also worked as an urban planning officer in Dubai during an eight-month secondment with developer Nakheel.

Working across all housing sectors – including later living, student accommodation, affordable and general market housing – in his new role, Dan will be utilising demographic evidence to add value to client developments nationwide across all different local authority levels.

Dan, who will primarily be based at Marrons Planning’s London hub, but will be working with clients nationally, said: “I am thrilled to have joined the Marrons Planning team at such an exciting time as the consultancy continues to build its reputation in the South East and expand its portfolio of services.

In the past, socio-economics has often been thought of as a dark arts within the industry, but it is really powerful and robust information that can be drawn out to support the planning process. Clients are beginning to see and understand the value of this data and there is growing demand as a result.

During his career, Dan has worked with major national housebuilders and strategic land companies, and given evidence as an expert witness at planning appeals and local plan examinations across the country. He also has extensive experience presenting to counsel, clients and colleagues.

Recently, Dan researched the role migration from London to the wider South East region will play in delivering the capital’s significant unmet housing need, which was picked up by South East Councils. As a result, he was invited to Westminster to present his findings at a select committee’s annual general meeting. Dan has also worked on the issue of unmet housing need in Birmingham, presenting this analysis at local plan examinations in the authorities of the Greater Birmingham housing market area and to a range of housebuilding clients with interests in the area.

Director of economics Simon Macklen, who heads up Marrons Planning’s socio-economics division, said: “Having launched the socio-economics service less than a year ago, we are strengthening our team in response to growing demand from clients for a combination of town planning and economic analysis to provide robust evidence that contributes to successful planning outcomes.

We’re well-known for providing planning advice that helps inform our clients’ decision-making process, driving projects forward and using our close working relationships with local planning authorities to help unlock strategic sites.

Dan brings with him extensive knowledge and experience in demographic forecasting and population modelling, which will further enable us to model out the potential and future population of new schemes – looking at the likely growth in an area, how future demand can be catered for and the associated benefits that will bring in terms of economic activity.

I am looking forward to working with Dan as we expand our socio-economics service and presence nationally.

Marrons Planning’s socio-economics division supports developers in evidencing the need for and impact of schemes on the local population, social infrastructure and the economy in planning proposals.

The service includes market intelligence – such as consumer profiling and labour market studies – to build a picture of an area and see how the development would fit into its needs; population modelling to understand how an area will change to assess future housing and employment needs; and impact assessments looking at a development’s impression on the community it will sit within.

Published: 11th October 2022
Area: Economic Development

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Marrons is a multi-service development consultancy backed by the experience of working for local authorities, extensive market intel and connections across the industry - from planning offices and private landowners to housebuilders and retailers.

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