One of the region’s largest town planning consultancies has made its first foray into Tyneside with the opening of a new office in Newcastle.
Darlington-headquartered England and Lyle made the move after winning a clutch of contracts in the northern part of the region.
Launched in 1995, it has expanded rapidly in recent years, securing work in Teesside and Yorkshire and opening offices in Preston and Sheffield. With the economic recovery in full swing, it has now strengthened its hand in the Tyneside and Northumberland markets, which will be serviced by the Newcastle office.
England and Lyle is currently working on several projects in the north of the region, including an initial application for 140 new homes as part of a wider mixed-use scheme on vacant industrial land in Sunderland. It has also been appointed to promote the extension of urban developments in Washington, Morpeth and Ponteland.
Set to open within weeks, the Newcastle office will be headed up by senior planner Jason Whitfield, who previously held private sector roles in Newcastle and Durham. He brings to the role more than ten years’ experience of a range of planning disciplines, particualarly in the residential housing market.
Whitfield said: “We are seeing significant investments by volume housebuilders in the region. In the last 12-18 months more confidence has returned to the market. We’ve developed a lot of greenfield sites in Middlesbrough and parts of Yorkshire and that buoyancy has spread to the north of the region in places like Newcastle and Sunderland.
“The residential housing market has been a particularly strong area for us. Part of that has been down to Government schemes like Help to Buy, which has helped more first-time buyers get onto the property ladder.
“Another reason is the shortage of homes. The politicians say we need to build about 500,000 new homes a year [to satisfy demand] and as a country we’re building about half that amount.”
As well building up a strong track record in the residential property market, England and Lyle is also active in other sectors including retail and leisure, renewable energy, health and education and rural development.
The company, which has ten staff, deals with a range of planning issues from initial site assessments and submission of planning applications to community consulation exercises. It represents individuals on small-scale domestic issues and works on multi-million pound projects for international organisations.