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Meet the team - Principal Consultants

Meet our
Principal
Consultants

Please feel free to browse our Principal Consultants profiles below.

Helen Binns

Helen Binns

Helen Binns joined the Walsingham Planning team in Knutsford in March 2011 and has over 14 years’ experience as a planner. She started her career working in local government in development control and enforcement before joining RPS in 2002, where she progressed to the level of associate.

Helen has experience of a wide range of planning matters and advises both public and private sector clients. She has been involved in many residential development projects, including affordable housing and student accommodation, as well as commercial development, leisure and education schemes. She also has experience of development proposals involving heritage assets and dealing with enforcement cases.

Helen has experience of leading large multi-disciplinary project teams and managing complex planning applications, including where environmental impact assessments are required. She also has experience of negotiating Section 106 legal agreements, instructing counsel, pursuing planning appeals, submitting representations to development plans and planning applications and undertaking planning appraisals.

She has been a member of the Royal Town Planning Institute since 2001.

Helen is a dedicated mum to two children. Outside of work she also enjoys reading, walking, swimming and going to the cinema.

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Gavin Cooper

Gavin Cooper

Gavin Cooper joined our team at our Bourne End office in 2018.

He holds a post graduate Masters in Town Planning, and became a Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute in 1996. He worked in local government for approximately 20 years, progressing to Head of Development Management at Dacorum Borough Council and then at the London Borough of Lewisham.

Gavin moved to McCarthy & Stone in 2015 and was responsible for advising throughout the development process from site acquisitions through to gaining planning permission to gaining extra value from changes and amendments to permissions. He has considerable experience of managing complex planning applications, enforcement and a wide range of application types from small to large. He has also provided detailed evidence at Planning Inquiries and Hearings.

Out of the office, Gavin likes to run as fast as he can and follow Watford Football Club.

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Sophie Matthews

Sophie Matthews

Sophie Matthews joined the team at our Bourne End office in 2011.

She graduated from the University of Southampton in 2002 with a BSc (Hons) in Geography and holds an MSc in Development Planning from the University of Reading. She became a member of the Royal Town Planning Institute in 2009.

Sophie began her planning career at Runnymede Borough Council before moving on to Cunnane Town Planning LLP in London. She advises a broad range of clients, including Hartwell, Explore Learning, Greene King and Hotel Chocolat, and has experience with developments including food and drink, retail, office, residential and mixed use. She has made applications for residential developments, redevelopment of part of the Butlins Minehead resort, new hotels and a wide range of other proposals.

Sophie enjoys live music, movies and baking.

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Alan Divall

Alan Divall

Alan Divall joined Walsingham Planning in January 2019 having spent 7 years at a planning and design practice in Oxfordshire where he was a Partner leading the planning team.

This involved leading on projects covering all sectors of the built environment, including major development proposals for residential, educational and mixed use schemes.

He has extensive local authority experience having worked for Oxfordshire County Council for 9 years in planning policy and development control roles.

These roles gave Alan considerable experience in strategic planning matters as well as the nitty gritty of dealing with individual planning applications.

Alan’s extensive planning experience in both the private and public sector has provided him with invaluable project management skills as well as skills in leadership and management.

Alan is passionate about supporting the next generation of planners in the profession. Outside of work Alan spends most of his time running (literally) around after his two children, cycling, walking and supporting his beloved Liverpool Football Club.

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Russell Smith

Russell Smith

Russell Smith joined Walsingham Planning’s Bristol office in August 2018. Russell is a chartered Town Planner with over 12 years of planning experience in both the public and private sector. He holds a Masters in Town and Country Planning from Manchester University and is a Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute.

Russell specialises in providing advice on strategic land promotion and the delivery of major mixed use and residential developments. This can include the appraisal of planning potential, advice on planning strategy and the management of planning projects to secure planning permissions. His expertise also includes planning appeals, local plan representations and Environmental Impact Assessment.

Prior to joining Walsingham Planning, Russell worked for Savills in their London Planning Team alongside a diverse range of property professionals at their head office. Prior to Savills, Russell worked for the Greater London Authority where he provided advice to successive London Mayor’s on strategically important planning applications. Before this he was a Principal Planning Officer in the Major Projects Team at the London Borough of Hackney, where he was involved in the delivery of some of the Borough’s most significant developments. Russell spent the early years of his career at Oldham Council and Birmingham Council.

Away from work Russell has made a hobby out of BBQing, which he complements with his own homebrewed beer. He plays football and, when the opportunity arises, enjoys scuba diving and snowboarding.

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Meet our team

Job Vacancies at Walsingham
Planning

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30 Years in business 1984 to 2014

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2014 saw Walsingham Planning celebrate 30 years in business as a town planning consultancy. We would like to thank all of our clients for their continued support and look forward to the next 30 years.