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Trio joins West Midlands planning, design and development consultancy to meet demand

Marrons | News

Following a significant increase in demand for its services in the West Midlands, planning, design and development consultancy Marrons has expanded its Stratford-upon-Avon team with a trio of hires.

Partner Luke Hillson has joined the consultancy to head up its urban design and masterplanning function, while assistant planner Sarah Watkins and graduate planner Louis Jones will work to promote land and secure planning permission for developers, landowners and homeowners.

With a background in both town planning and urban design and almost 20 years’ experience delivering great places, communities and developments, Luke is a recognised practitioner in urban design, and has extensive experience in masterplanning and strategic land promotion. Luke will be working from Marrons’ Birmingham and Stratford-upon-Avon hubs, but will be providing high-quality design consultancy services across the country.

He has joined Marrons following more than half a decade as a design director at Barton Willmore. Most recently, he led on the design promotion of a 3,500 new home mixed-use development near Lichfield, which included two local centres, a secondary school, sports pitches and extensive public open space.

Luke said: “As a designer, I am interested in how people live within their communities and use the public realm, and as an urban design and masterplanner, I am able to shape the streets and places where people work, rest and play, which is a real honour. Marrons is an increasingly innovative consultancy looking to deliver high-quality homes, developments and communities, which I am thrilled to now be a part of. I am looking forward to expanding upon Marrons’ current design offering, extending its design service and delivering exceptional places across the country.”

Sarah joins Marrons followed a two-year career break from planning to become a secondary school geography teacher. Prior to this, she worked within Countryside Properties’ development management team, working on regeneration schemes in inner London, including bidding on projects, acquiring planning permission and monitoring construction progress.

She said: “My time as a geography teacher provided me with invaluable communication and negotiation skills, but I missed planning and I am delighted to be back working within the profession. I was attracted to Marrons’ growing reputation for excellence and commitment to supporting individual’s personal and professional development. I am particularly looking forward to working alongside such an experienced team and learning from their experience and expertise.”

Louis has joined the team after completing his urban planning and development studies at Cardiff University. Alongside his new role, he will be working towards his masters in urban and regional planning at the University of Birmingham, which he will be completing part-time.

He said: “Marrons is experiencing a period of significant growth and I was attracted to the prospect of joining a team with an increasing reputation for successfully delivering planning results to a high standard. I am looking forward to gaining valuable experience working in the private sector and learning from the considerable expertise within the Marrons team.”

The new appointments will assist the team in developing Marrons’ offering in the West Midlands and nationally, providing services including securing planning permission for development and promoting greenfield and brownfield land to meet future housing and employment needs.

Brian Mullin, head of Marrons, said: “There has been a significant increase in demand for our services due to our high success rate in achieving planning permission for clients. We are extremely pleased to have Luke, Sarah and Louis join the business in our highly experienced Stratford-upon-Avon and Birmingham hubs as we continue growing our presence in the West Midlands, South West and nationwide. Their invaluable experience and expertise will strengthen the team, and bring new ideas and skills to unlock sites.”

About Marrons

Marrons is a multi-disciplinary development consultancy, delivering planning, architecture, design, heritage and socio-economic services to help clients realise their project’s potential and get their schemes the green light.

The consultancy acts on behalf of a range of clients across the UK to deliver economic, social and environmental regeneration through preparing and submitting planning applications, promoting development sites through the local plan process and providing representation at planning appeals.

Part of legal and professional services group Ampa, Marrons is a certified B Corporation, meaning it has been verified by B Lab to meet high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability.

The consultancy has been listed in Best Companies 2022 as one of the top 100 best large companies to work for in the UK. It also ranked as a top 75 East Midlands company, top 75 West Midlands company, and top 50 large London company to work for.

Marrons has hubs in London, Milton Keynes, Birmingham, Solihull, Stratford-upon-Avon, Bristol, Nottingham, Leicester, Lincoln and Sheffield.

Press contacts

Jemma Page –, 0115 945 4617

Published: 7th September 2023
Area: Company News

Our Services

Marrons is a multi-service development consultancy backed by the experience of working for local authorities, extensive market intel and connections across the industry.

About Marrons

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.

With expertise in Planning, Architecture, Design, Heritage and Economic Development, you can trust us to lead, protect and enhance the value of your land or building assets ensuring we turn your plans into reality.

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We act on behalf of a range of clients across the UK to deliver economic, social and environmental regeneration. Our specialists are here you turn your vision into reality.

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Our Areas of Expertise



Whether you are looking for advice on an appeal for a major development scheme, or putting in an application for a house extension, we can help you navigate the best way forward.



Led by RIBA Chartered Architects, our Architects have wide-ranging experience in handling large scale projects through multi-disciplinary teams, often acting as project co-ordinators and design team leaders.



Our urban design team have a wealth of experience in both large scale urban development and detailed design and can help you make the most out of your land and provide a clear vision for your development.



Our heritage team proudly advocate for the role of heritage in sustainable place-shaping, and champion the value that heritage assets can bring to developments.


Economic Development

Our specialist team works with you to provide evidence that your land or planning development has commercial benefits, and positively impacts socio-economics in the wider community.