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Meet the Team

Directors

James Whilding

Rural Planning Director | MRICS FBIAC
James is Managing Director and Finance Director.

A qualified Chartered Surveyor (RICS) and Fellow of the British Institute of Agricultural Consultants (BIAC), James specialises in planning and business consultancy including work relating to agricultural dwellings, asset maximisation and diversification and is a lead consultant for our intensive agriculture (pigs and poultry) work.

James is also a lead contact for the NFU and CLA.

Mike Bamforth

Rural Design Director | MCIOB
Mike is a Director and takes responsibility for the National Building Design Team.

Mike is a qualified member of the Chartered Institute of Building and is highly experienced in rural design projects, housing and diversification projects; in particular the conversion of traditional farm buildings into residential, tourism and commercial uses.

Associate Directors

Laura Wall

Rural Planning MRICS MBIAC
Laura graduated from Harper Adams University College in 2007 with a BSc (Hons) degree in Rural Enterprise and Land Management. Since joining Acorus she has worked within the rural planning team and progressed to becoming an Associate Director which includes the role of Head of Operations (HR and IT).

As a Rural Chartered Surveyor, Laura specialises in planning and appeals consultancy, including work relating to agricultural/rural worker dwellings, conversions, change of use, diversification, occupancy conditions, certificates of lawful use and equine work.

Henry Doble

Rural Planning MRICS
As an Associate Director Henry’s roles include Head of Marketing and Business Centre Manager for the Anglia & South-East.

He graduated from the Royal Agricultural College (University) in 2011, with a BSc(Hons) degree in Rural Land Management. Since qualifying as a Rural Chartered Surveyor, Henry has specialised in new farm dwellings/buildings, lifting of agricultural occupancy conditions, Certificates of Lawful Use and permitted development, together with planning appeals.

Associates

Roland Thomas

Rural Planning | MRICS
Roland is one of our leading consultants for agricultural occupancy conditions related work.

His experience as an Agricultural Surveyor began in Leeds where he undertook a range of agricultural and rural planning projects. He also has experience of residential surveys and valuations and now specialises in property consultancy.

Roland's expert witness experience is often required at public planning inquiries.

Ian Hopkins

Rural Design
Ian has over 25 years' experience in varying sizes of Architectural practices within the Midlands and the South West, and is currently based at our Exeter Office as Senior Architectural Technician.

He has experience in projects ranging from one off houses to factory units and all types of buildings in between, preparing drawings from Planning through to Building Regulations and then onto construction on site.

Ian is the Exeter Drawing Office Manager and the National Co-ordinator for processes, quality control, technical, CDM and productivity/delivery of drawing work.

Emma Baker

Rural Design | BA (Hons)
Emma works within the South East office as a member of the drawing and design team, having graduated from Oxford school of Architecture (OBU) in 2018 with a BA (Hons) in Interior Architecture.

Emma is involved with designing and drawing up a wide range of rural properties, new houses and subdivisions in 2D and 3D.

Emma manages the company’s branding and social media, including the website.

Olivia Hazell

Rural Planning | MRTPI
Olivia graduated from Cardiff University in 2009 with a BSc (Hons) degree in Human Geography and Planning, went on to graduate from Oxford Brookes University with an MSc (Hons) degree in Spatial Planning and after became a full Chartered Member of the Royal Town of Planning Institute. Olivia is based in Oxfordshire and covers the surrounding counties. She has four years’ experience previously as a Planning Officer at both Cherwell and South Northamptonshire District Councils, since joining Acorus she has worked within the rural planning team and progressed to becoming an Associate. Olivia has extensive knowledge of business and financial issues within the Farming and Agricultural industry gained by involvement on her parents' and husband's mixed farming businesses. Olivia specialises in achieving planning permission to deliver strategic asset maximisation and diversification projects for landowners and farmers relating to agricultural/rural worker dwellings, conversions, change of use, occupancy conditions, certificates of lawful use and equine work.

Team

Anthony Atkinson

Rural Planning | MRICS, FAAV
Anthony is responsible for projects in the North & Midlands. He has numerous years of experience in planning consultancy for agricultural development and farm diversification schemes. He has extensive knowledge of the complex processes involved from initial planning investigations, building and design requirements through to the submission of detailed planning applications. Anthony also undertakes property sales and estate management. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Land Management from Harper Adams Agricultural College, he is a professional member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a Fellow of the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV).

Brian Barrow

Rural Planning | MRICS
A qualified Chartered Surveyor (RICS), Brian specialises in planning consultancy and handles planning appeals, agricultural occupancy conditions, intensive livestock developments and equine related work. His work also includes the preparation of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs).

Brian leads the property sales work within Acorus and advises clients on how to maximise their property value prior to marketing and sale.

Debbie Locke

Rural Design Graduate | BA (Hons)
Debbie works within the South West office as a member of the design team, having graduated from Arts University Bournemouth in 2017 with a BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design.

Since her graduation, she has been involved with designing and drawing up a wide range of rural properties.

She grew up in the Devonshire countryside and looks forward to developing her knowledge and helping the team.

Louise Gregory

Rural Planning
Louise works out of the Bury St Edmunds office and handles planning applications, planning appeals, certificates of lawfulness and GPDO 28 day notices for Acorus clients.

Louise also manages Environmental Impact Assessments and Agricultural Occupancy Conditions and has a solid knowledge base of all planning matters.

With several years' service at Acorus both as a Rural Planning Consultant and a Project Manager, Louise has extensive knowledge of the business, its clients and dealing with local and national authorities.

Megan Masters

Rural Planning | BSc (Hons) MRICS
Megan is a Chartered Rural Surveyor based within the South West team providing advice to clients relating to all aspects of rural planning. Having obtained a degree in BSc (Hons) Real Estate at the University of Reading in 2018, Megan began her professional career in the South East working for a national company.

She has a strong background in the practice of general estate management and the valuation of rural property, which allows her to adopt a broad-view approach and identify a number of opportunities for her clients. Megan grew up on a dairy farm in North Cornwall and returned to the South West in 2021.

Rose Haines

Human Resources
Rose works part-time providing administrative support for Human Resources including company insurances, cars, mobile phones and the company client account.

Sarah Hopkins

Planning Assistant | B.ed (Hons)
Sarah is part of the South West rural planning team. Sarah's role is to assist consultants and to facilitate planning applications.

Angus Bridges

Graduate Rural Planner | BSc (Hons)
After graduating from the Royal Agricultural University in 2020, with a BSc(Hons) degree in Rural Land Management, Angus joined Acorus East and South East rural planning team contributing to all aspects of planning work.

Angus is currently working towards gaining his RICS qualification.

Sid Richards

Rural Design | RIBA
Sid is a Chartered Architect and works on the design of buildings from inception to completion on site.

Projects he has worked on have varied from new houses and commercial offices to equestrian work stables, new farm buildings and conversion of traditional buildings.

Josh Trump

Drawing and Design | BSc (Hons)
Josh graduated from the University of West of England having achieved a BSc (Hons) in Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part 1). He forms part of the overall Acorus Drawing and Design Team working from our office in Exeter, Devon as an Architectural Assistant.

Josh is keen to develop his skills with Acorus and continue with his studies to obtain his Part II and Part III in Architecture in due course.

Cara Fieldhouse

Drawing and Design | BArch (Hons)
Cara works within the East office as a member of the Drawing and Design Team, having graduated from Lincoln School of Architecture & the Built Environment in 2022 with a BArch (Hons) in Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part I).

She has been involved with putting together Building Regulation packages and drawing up a wide range of rural properties, both new builds and conversions in 2D and 3D.

Cara looks forward to developing her rural planning and design knowledge while assisting the team.
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