The Urban Vision Expert Panel

Our Expert Panel is a group of people with qualifications and experience in a range of built environment and related disciplines who have worked with Urban Vision over a number of years.  Our panel members are architects, arts professionals, building conservation specialists, community consultation practitioners, highway engineers, landscape architects, quantity surveyors, sustainable development experts, town planners, and urban designers.  All are professionally qualified and/or have extensive experience in their field gained in working across the UK.

Members of our Expert Panel provide the specialist skills required to help deliver some of Urban Vision’s projects and services, including our Design Review Service.  In all cases we ensure that the expertise of the Panel member is closely matched to the skills and experience needed for the specific piece of work in question.


Alistair Sunderland

Alistair Sunderland

A partner at Austin-Smith:Lord for more than 25 years, Alistair’s knowledge has been of paramount importance in sustaining the reputation of the Practice and in its growth. The breadth and depth of his portfolio is notable and as such he is able to draw on an extensive range of experience and resource. His responsibilities and project experience have included development strategies, environmental design, masterplanning, building appraisals, technical briefing and core design inputs, across all major sectors.

His work has received awards from the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Civic Trust, amongst others.

Alsitair has maintained involvement in professional, civic and social organisations, often as a board member, trustee or chair: RIBA, LUDCAP (Liverpool); Places Matter, UVNS (Stoke), Liverpool Tate, Liverpool Biennial, SLH (Liverpool). He has tutored in the Liverpool schools of architecture and has assisted in the establishment and operation of several Design Review panels: LUDCAP, Places Matter (previously RENEW) and Urban Vision North Staffordshire.




Annie Coombs

Annie worked in Asia for 15 years until 1997.  Much of her project work in Hong Kong was on assessment and landscape planning for major infrastructure and new towns.  She was accountable for the running of 4 offices in 3 countries in Asia. 

She returned to UK and worked on environmental assessment work for the waste and energy sectors and held senior management roles in an environment management consultancy. 

Over the last 10 years Annie has been self-employed undertaking enabling and training work, including open-space, green infrastructure and public realm strategies, flood recovery plans, rural settlement options, design competitions and localism.  She was appointed as a commissioner for the IPC and now examine nationally significant infrastructure for the Planning Inspectorate (on a fixed-term, part-time employment basis). 

Key projects include: design review panels, public realm enabling for CABE Space including public ream strategies and design competitions in HMR Pathfinder in Pennine Lancs, case-study preparation for open-space strategy guidance, writing large sections of the public realm brief for the Olympic Park, rural masterplanning enabling for Carlisle, assessor for carbon challenge site and design appraiser for Setting the Scene for Growth submissions for Places Matter! and training on Localism Bill/Act.  


Bob Ghosh

Prior to starting his own practice, Bob spent 7 years as a Director of Glenn Howells Architects, working on a number of prestigious commissions, including performing arts venues at Hereford, Warwick, Dunstable and Armagh in Northern Ireland. Most notably, he was responsible for the award-winning Britannia Basin in Manchester for developer Urban Splash. 

Since founding K4 Architects in 2010 (and previously Kinetic AIU in 2003), he has built up a significant portfolio of clients and projects in the UK, Europe, India and the Far East. When K4 launched, they had already secured a portfolio of prestigious projects totalling more than £50 million. Their portfolio includes projects as varied as an exclusive private residence in Belgravia, barn conversions in rural Warwickshire, a new Hindu Community Centre in Coventry and the redesign of Mere Green Town Centre. K4 are also the retained architects for the Central Fire Station project in Birmingham, which is regarded as one of the most complex heritage projects in the UK. 

K4 have recently been shortlisted for the Inside Housing Sustainability Awards 2012 for their Scribbans Place affordable housing scheme. They are also shortlisted for the RIBA Forgotten Spaces Competition 2012. 




Dan Roberts

Dan is a Chartered Town Planner with over 20 years experience in the public sector.  He has worked in local plans, implementation and development control/ management and, from 1999, Dan specialised in building conservation and urban design. 

He is currently head of the Conservation & Urban Design team at Lichfield B.C.  Since 2008 Dan has worked part time as a Senior Lecturer in the Birmingham School of the Built Environment, Birmingham City University.  He is also a visiting teacher at the University of Birmingham and has delivered professional training sessions on behalf of Trevor Roberts Associates for the past 10 years. 

Dan is a member of the Urban Design Group, the West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust, Walsall Civic Society and past Chair of the West Midlands Urban Design Forum.  He is a member of the Urban Vision and MADE Design Review panels.




David Ainsley

David is an architect with considerable architectural, community, master planning, and design advisory experience.

As a founding director of Ainsley Gommon Architects, David has been responsible for a range of award winning buildings including social housing, schools, university and commercial new build and historic building conversion projects, as well as major urban renewal projects in Pontypridd, Hulme, Salford, Merseyside and Carlisle. David's master planning experience includes a Lancaster SRB canal side urban village, the University of Wales campus Swansea, and substantial Urban renewal projects in Hulme, Manchester, and Salford.

As well as being a regular member of the Urban Vision Design Review Panel, David has been President of the Liverpool Architectural Society, Vice Chair of the Liverpool Architecture and Design Trust, a Board Member of Liverpool Habitat for Humanity, Board Member of the Merseyside Civic Society and is currently a Civic Trust Award Assessor.



David Watkins

David is a registered architect with post-graduate qualifications in building conservation.  A partner of Brock Carmichael Architects for 25 years, he was responsible for the creation and management of the conservation team within the practice.  He now provides conservation advice to BCA and BCA Asia whilst practicing independently on predominantly conservation and regeneration based schemes.

He has been responsible for many award winning projects, involving work to existing/historic buildings, listed buildings, registered gardens, scheduled ancient monuments, conservation areas and complex sites requiring specialist conservation expertise, high design input and careful/sensitive liaison and consultation with Client/Community/Statutory/Amenity Groups. He has worked extensively with the National Trust over the last twenty years and has been involved with many sites and buildings of national importance.

He is a Past President of the Liverpool Architectural Society, a former member of the Liverpool Urban Design and Conservation Panel, a guest lecturer and tutor at Liverpool University School of Architecture, the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and the University of Hong Kong and a professional practice examiner and lecturer for the RIBA.

David Williams

David is a quantity surveyor and contract manager in the construction industry working in both building and civil engineering sectors. He has over 30 years experience of working on a wide variety of projects with values up to £120m.

David has masters' degrees in Construction Law and Heritage Environment Conservation that enable him to undertake a broad range of roles for both client and contractor based organisations. He has a particular interest in urban regeneration and working on projects involving heritage assets.

He is particularly conversant with collaborative working arrangements in the delivery of construction projects and the contracts that underpin such relationships, including producing documents that embed the behaviours that improve the likelihood of successful outcomes. David has also delivered training for a number of clients regarding various forms of contract and commercial management.

David's recent work includes rail projects involving signalling, structures, heritage station buildings (including Paddington Station span 4 refurbishment) and new modular stations, residential and office developments in London and the Midlands, office refurbishments and gas storage schemes. David has broad experience of innovative contracting arrangements, including non-adversarial partnering arrangements promoting an open book integrated teamwork approach to project management.


Dorthe Riis Jones

Dorthe originally trained as an architect in Denmark and has over 15 years experience in delivering a varied portfolio of high value, complex residential and educational projects for public and private sector clients in both Denmark and the UK. 

Dorthe is an internationally experienced project and contracts manager, and has worked as team leader on a 7 country large EC funded project involving sustainable methods refurbishment of post-war social housing estates.  Her experience has enabled her to develop excellent management skills and techniques, and demonstrate successful results working with various user groups and stakeholders. 

She is a member of Danske Arkitekters Landsforbund (Federation of Danish Architects) and past president of the organiation Danish Urban Ecology.  Dorthe has worked on schools, childrens centres, health care schemes and the refurbishment and new build of social housing for UK local authorities including Walsall, Telford and Wrekin, and Sandwell.  She has also worked in the private sector for BDP and more recently in her own practice, Riis Consult. 



Fiona Heron

Fiona is Managing Director of Fiona Heron Ltd, which focuses on the design and delivery of integrated landscape and fine art projects for the public and private sectors. An academic background in biology was followed by an MA in Landscape Architecture and Chartered Membership of the Landscape Institute. As Senior Landscape Architect with Nottingham City she designed and managed complex urban regeneration schemes, several gaining the Lord Mayor’s Urban Design Award.

As a Director of Wolfgang and Heron Ltd from 1999 to 2007 Fiona’s work combined high quality landscape architecture with public art winning several national urban design awards, including the landscape design for Park Rock Apartments, Nottingham which was featured in the Landscape Institute Journal, April 2006.  In 2008 she established Fiona Heron Design Ltd, adding successful garden designs for international competitions.

Fiona is an Urban Vision North Staffordshire Trustee, an OPUN Design Panel Member, a visiting lecturer and examiner in Landscape architecture at Sheffield University and a tutor at Nottingham University.

Fiona is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, has written articles for the Landscape institute Journal and has been recognized in Pevsner : Nottingham.  She also exhibits sculpture and fine art photography.


Francis Colella

Francis is a landscape architect who extablished his Staffordshire-based practice, FFC Landscape Archtiects, following his role as design co-ordinator for the Stoke-on-Trent National Garden Festival in 1986.  Previously, he was employed with several major Midlands practices including Percy Thomas Partnership and Peter Hing and Jones.

Francis has been involved in large scale land restoration projects for the Coal Authority as well as work for various Health Authorities and a range of housing, industrial, retail and commercial projects.

Francis is a Chartered member of the Landscape Institute and Corresponding member of the Society of Garden Designers.  He also has a UCD Diploma in Historic Gardens Restoration.



Geoff Wright

Geoff is a widely experienced town planner and urban designer now leading his own consultancy.

He has high level experience across plan making, planning control, planning consultant, project client and corporate leadership roles. Previouos employers include Manchester City Council, Birmingham City Council and Turley Associates.

In Birmingham Geoff delivered the Brindleyplace and Bullring schemes, quarter plans and city centre environmental programmes.  In consultancy since 2000, he secured consent for major projects including Cabot Circus in Bristol, Friargate in Coventry, and numerous office, housing, university and hospital developments.

Geoff has achieved award-winning outcomes, brokering agreement between public and private sectors and with community stakeholders.

Involved at ‘both ends of the telescope’ with design quality and urbanism from the 1990s' ‘Quality Initiative’ through roles with CABE since 2001, he has authored guidance for CABE and for Universities UK, and is currently a BEE (Local Plan Reviews and Neighbourhood enabling).  Geoff is a board member and design review panel member of MADE. 


Helen Metcalfe

Helen is a chartered town planner with 19 years’ experience of working in the regeneration and planning fields, including senior management experience in Local Planning Authorities.  She specializes in neighbourhood planning (from help with consultation and training to policy writing) across a wide range of client groups from local authorities to parish councils and neighbourhood forums. She is also a consultant for both Locality and Planning Aid, delivering milestone 1 and 2 direct assistance under the government funded Neighbourhood Planning support.  Helen is on the East Midlands accredited consultants panel and a Design Review Panel member for OPUN.

Helen is currently a director with Planning For People.  Preivously she worked for Planning Aid England as a community planner.  Ealrier roles include 10 years in economic development starting at Birmingham City Council and then as Assistant Director at a Local Authority working in the economic regeneration field delivering the Single Regeneration Budget and Rechar programmes managing the transformation of several colliery sites.

Helen is currently working with town and parish councils and neighbourhood forums across the country at various stages of Neighbourhood Plan development.


Jenny Crawford

Jenny is a strategic planner and consultant with over twenty years’ experience in the public and NGO sectors.

Former roles include Head of Research with the Royal Town Planning Institute, in which she engaged with research partners at regional, national and international levels. From 2008 – 2011, she managed the UK Contact Point for the European spatial planning research programme, ESPON, on behalf of the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Jenny is a chartered member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and a member of the British Ecological Society. She is also a member of the Economic and Social Research Council Peer Review College.

Jenny Peevers

Jenny Peevers is a freelance Cultural Planner.  She delivers projects which bring people together in interactive and creative ways, to listen to their thoughts, stories, values and concerns about their area.  By valuing their opinions the aim is to re-energise, motivate, build confidence and aspiration.  The activities build upon local ways of living, supporting needs and livelihoods to improve their locality and quality of life.  Jenny is also an Executive Director of Creative Health, an independent Community Interest Company that oversees the joint planning, commissioning, delivery and profile raising of arts and health work in the West Midlands.

Jenny previously worked as Relationship Manager, Regional Planning at Arts Council England, Urban Designer and Arts Specialist at Bryant Priest Newman Architects, Public Art and Built Environment Officer at Arts Council England, and Arts Development Officer at Solihull MBC.


Joe Holyoak


Joe Holyoak is an architect and urban designer with his own practice based in Birmingham. He is also Director of the MA in Urban Design at Birmingham City University and an author of books and articles on architecture and urban design, and their social and historical implications.

In practice and academia Joe’s interests are in urban regeneration, architectural conservation, the design, use and management of urban space and 19th and 20th century architecture.  He has designed individual buildings, such as community centres and a charity headquarters, and has produced master plans for urban spaces.  Joe has led the production of the Balsall Heath Neighbourhood Plan on behalf of his own local community.

From 1982 – 2004 Joe worked with the Axis Design Collective, before setting up his own practice.  Joe is also a member of the MADE Design Review Panel, and was formerly a CABE Regional Representative.  


John Gething

John is a town planner with over thirty years' experience in professional and management positions in local government.  His work has focused on statutory land-use planning, master planning, community regeneration and housing renewal. John led several successful bids to secure significant funding for urban regeneration in North Staffordshire (circa £80m of direct grant), including the designation of the North Staffordshire Regeneration Zone, and delivery of large-scale capital programmes.

John worked extensively with public, private and voluntary sector organisations and with local communities and was the Strategic Co-ordinator for the Economic Development block of Stoke-on-Trent's Local Area Agreement for three years until 2010.

John is Chair of EPIC Housing Association Stoke-on-Trent and a member of the Audit Committee of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College. He lectures on Staffordshire University's MA in Regeneration course.

John is a trustee/board member of Urban Vision North Staffordshire and a member of the Potteries Heritage Society.


Jon Phipps

Jon is an architect, town planner and historic buildings professional with over 30 years experience in private practice.  He began his career in London, but for the past ten years has been director responsible for urban design at Latham's Architects of Derby.

During his career Jon has gradually migrated from detailed technical design, on to conceptual design and project management and is now almost exclusively concerned with policy, feasibility, heritage, spatial planning, urban design and regeneration.  He curently focuses on producing feasibility, planning, heritage and strategic guidance and advice to a wide variety of public and private sector clients.  Key work areas include design focused policy and planning documents such as Conservation Area Appraisals, master plans, development briefs and Design and Access Statements. 

Jon is a member of the Academy of Urbanism, a Member of the Institution of Engineering Designers and a member of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturing and Commerce (RSA). 


Julian Baker

Julian has been a practising architect for more than 25 years. He began his career with HLM architects in Bath working on mixed-use retail and hospital schemes directly under the founder of HLM David Hutchison MBE. In 1991 he moved to Manchester to join Ellis Williams Architects which he helped develop into one of the country’s largest practices, becoming managing director in 2013. 

Since joining EWA Julian has been involved in a wide cross-section of projects including mixed-use retail, education, commercial, leisure and bespoke one-off houses. In addition, he has produced a number of master plans for private and public sector clients.  In recent years he has designed and delivered a series of large further education colleges across the country and has become a specialist in this sector.  He has also designed cinemas on behalf of Odeon Cinemas.

Julian has won awards for several of his projects including Lymm Water Tower, Macclesfield College, Stroud College and Newcastle under Lyme College.


 Kevan Spink

Kevan is a qualified urban designer and chartered landscape architect with over 25 years experience in the public sector. He has worked as Principal Urban Designer in the City Design team at Birmingham City Council for six years, including two years seconded to Urban Living Housing Pathfinder as their Design Manager. He was previously Urban Designer and Senior Landscape Architect at Stoke-on-Trent City Council.  

Kevan has extensive urban and landscape design experience that includes masterplanning, producing planning policy and design guidance, development and competition briefs, townscape character appraisal, public realm strategies and detailed project  design.

He is a member of Birmingham City Council’s Design Review Panel and, in an independent capacity, a member of the Urban Vision North Staffordshire panel. He appears for Birmingham City Council as an expert witness on design matters at public inquiries.


Mike Taylor

Michael Taylor is a town planner and conservation specialist with over 30 years' experience in the public sector. He is currently part-time Historic Areas Adviser with English Heritage in the West Midlands Region and deals with planning and grant casework throughout the region. In this capacity he has advised and negotiated solutions in the context of many major development proposals and masterplans as well as engaging proactively in regeneration schemes throughout the region. Before joining English Heritage in 2000 he was Senior Building Conservation Officer with Leicester City Council.

Michael has been a member of the MADE and Urban Vision North Staffordshire design review panels. He is an Honorary Fellow and visiting lecturer in the Centre for Urban History at the University of Leicester.

Mick Timpson

Mick Timpson has over 25 years of high-level professional experience in architecture, urban design, town building and place making, as the front-end designer, initiating design ideas and leading design teams to succeed. His specialities are design team management, creative thinking and design communication in architecture, master planning, urban design and place making. 

Mick has created master plan and regeneration frameworks at the strategic scale to the design of towns, neighbourhoods, buildings and public spaces.  He led EDAW’s Manchester studio until 2009 where he was responsible for the Holt Town Waterfront master plan, and EASEL a 7000 home regeneration master plan in Leeds, now nearly complete. He also led the master plan design for Allerton Bywater, including its innovative design code. 

Mick is a past CABE Regional Representative for the North West and has been a UK-wide CABE Enabler since the start of the organisation. He lectures widely, regularly speaks at conferences, workshops and teaches.  His work has appeared in the national and professional pressand has been exhibited at the RIBA Architecture Centre, the Architecture Foundation, The Royal Academy and CUBE Gallery Manchester.


Noelle Wright

Noelle is an architect with 30 years’ experience in the built environment in the UK and Internationally, across both the private and public sectors, in residential, public, leisure, education, defence, urban regeneration and transport delivering projects from £100k to £600m in both client and job architect capacities. 

 With a specialism in transportation infrastructure and architecture, Noelle has expertise in managing complex projects within multi-stakeholder environments.  Her interest in infrastructure is in the relationship between design quality and capacity of the physical and organisational structure in sustaining communities and enterprise.

Noelle has been a member of Urban Vision’s Design Review Panel since 2005 and has taught at Manchester School of Architecture and at the School of Planning UCE.  She has also been involved in the regional CITB’s programme of schools’ workshops promoting and guiding careers in construction and the built environment.

Phil Jones

Phil Jones is a Chartered Engineer with around 30 years’ experience in traffic engineering,  transport planning and urban design.  He is the Principal of the UK consultancy, Phil Jones Associates, and has worked on many commissions for public and private sector clients, ranging from development studies, infrastructure planning and design commissions, developing technical standards and writing policy documents

Phil was part of the team responsible for Manual for Streets and was the joint editor of Manual for Streets 2. He also contributed to the preparation of Designing Streets for the Scottish Government.  He has been a member of the CIHT’s Urban Design Panel since 2008 and is a CABE Built Environment Expert.  In recent years Phil has been involved in many cycling initiatives, including editing the Welsh Government’s Active Travel Design Guidelines and is a member of the DfT’s Cycle Proofing Working Group. Phil specialises in achieving synergy between transport planning and urban design, with the aim of creating places and spaces that meet aesthetic, social and functional aims.


Rosemary Coyne

Rosemary Coyne is an experienced sustainable development advisor – working at strategic to detailed level on strategy, policy and design with a broad understanding of social, environmental and economic issues and the value of sustainable high quality place-making.

Rosemary has worked in the sustainable housing sector on low carbon new buildings and retrofit of existing buildings; for the regional development agency on sustainable design and construction policy; with Birmingham City Council on the definition of sustainability targets for high density mixed use city centre developments.  Rosemary has experience of environmental impact assessment; flood defence design and construction; waste management and landfill restoration.  She has also worked on environment projects including habitat restoration, conservation and enhancement. Rosemary has worked with communities on their comments on development and with politicians and senior executives on development proposals.  She is a practitioner partner and an Honorary Research Fellow on the new EPSRC funded Liveable Cities programme co-ordinated by the University of Birmingham. Rosemary is also a newly recruited Design Council CABE Built Environment Expert (BEE). 


Stacey Sykes

Stacey is a freelance Architectural Conservation professional, who has worked on a broad spectrum of conservation related projects within architectural practices, historic building consultancy practices and a local authority.

She was an Architectural Conservation Assistant at Stephen Levrant Heritage Architecture Limited in Manchester, where she produced high quality written assessments, appraisals and statements for large-scale projects on a variety of issues relating to the historic built environment in the Manchester and London areas.  She has also worked for Purcell on a number of significant conservation projects providing detailed technical drawings for such projects as the restoration of Wollaton Hall, Nottingham.  She worked in the Conservation Team at Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, supporting the conservation officers and producing conservation area appraisals.

Stacey has a first class honours degree in Architectural Conservation from the University of Derby and a dedicated interest in the historic development of English towns, their topography, and how they adapt to new development.  She has a strong interest in urban design and enjoys assessing and commenting on planning applications for new development within sensitive contexts, an interest which informs her role as a Potteries Heritage Society’s Planning Advisory Group Member.


Tony Burton

Tony has over twenty years’ experience on the boards of national charities.  He has a strong track record in campaigning and external affairs for conservation, community, regeneration and the environment.

Tony was recently Director of Policy and Communications at the Design Council.  He was the founder of Civic Voice – the national charity for the civic movement – in 2010 and prior to this he was the National Trust’s Director of Strategy and External Affairs for 8 years and moved to this role after 13 years with the Campaign to Protect Rural England which he left as Deputy Director.  Tony is a member of Defra’s Civil Society Advisory Board and on the Council of the National Infrastructure Planning Association.  He is currently working freelance. 

Tony has been Chair of Wildlife and Countryside Link and a founder trustee of Heritage Link – the two main voluntary sector liaison bodies – and was a member of Richard Rogers’ Urban Task Force.  Tony is a geographer, town planner and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects.  He was awarded a CBE in the Jubilee Honours in 2012.

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