Areas of Expertise

Strategic Planning

Our specialist strategic planning services draw on the experience and track record of leading the production of a Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) and Joint Structure Plan (JSP) – the Yorkshire and Humber Plan and Hull & East Riding JSP.

Richard Wood Associates - about

Over the past three years Richard Wood Associates has been providing strategic planning advice to the Directors of Development for the York, North Yorkshire, East Riding and Hull group of authorities and Local Enterprise Partnership.

Recent support has focused on the development of a guidance methodology providing a consistent strategic approach for collaborative cross boundary working.

Through a commission led by Cushman & Wakefield we are coordinating and project managing a major study looking at the long-term development and infrastructure opportunities and requirements along an Energy/M62 corridor for Selby, North Yorkshire, East Riding & Hull.

We are part of a consortium of highly skilled consultants with direct, extensive experience in strategic planning and in supporting local authorities across England over the last thirty years.

The Strategic Planning Partnership consortium combines the expertise of Catriona Riddell Associates, Cambridge Planning Services and Richard Wood Associates.

The consortium has been commissioned by the Planning Advisory Service as one of two providers of strategic planning support to groups of Authorities in England over the next two years.

Richard Wood has also been on the steering group that has shaped the production of the RTPI Ambitions for the North – a spatial framework for people and places in the North of England.

Local Plans

Using 30 year’s plan making experience, Richard Wood Associates has helped Harrogate, Hambleton, Kirklees, Selby and York Councils prepare new Local Plans.

This has included the production of local development schemes, issues and options documents and background evidence papers, along with critical friend reviews and support with site allocations and Examinations.

Close working with officers and Members, draws on our senior Local Government management and Chief Officer experience.


“Richard has provided the Council with clear and robust, evidence based strategic policy and critical friend advice that will withstand scrutiny through the Local Plan examination process and help to guide and shape positive development”

Rachel Macefield, Forward Planning Team Manager, City of York Council.


Neighbourhood Plans

Our broad-based planning experience is helping Pocklington Town Council to produce a Neighbourhood Plan.

Work with the steering group has a focus on local priorities and adding value to the East Riding Local Plan.

Support included:

  • evidence and policy review and development work;
  • general advice;
  • and the preparation of an innovative Townscape Character Assessment.

The latter assessment has been produced in conjunction with BG Design and integrates landscape, heritage and transport issues as a basis for setting out development guidelines for the town.


“Richard has proved to be very helpful to us and is an easy person to work with.”

“He has good contacts both in the Council and with other consultants with particular specialisations.”

“With us he has always delivered good work on time. We are now using Richard to take a major role in further policy development and drafting of the Neighbourhood Plan.”

Jon Duke, Chair of the Pocklington Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group.


Planning Appeals

Planning appeal work has for Harrogate, Selby, Wakefield and York Councils has focused on the planning balance involving complex issues such as a World Heritage Site, the York and West Yorkshire Green Belts, five-year housing land supply and heritage impacts.

Our support includes:

  1. appearing at inquiries and hearings (as part of a team or as the sole representative of the Council);
  2. mentoring support to witnesses;
  3. and critical reviews of evidence statements.

Our approach involves close working with case officers, policy leads, the legal team and technical witnesses.


“Richard has provided the Council with clear planning policy input and advice to assist in the preparation, submission and management of the planning appeal process”

Rachel Macefield, Forward Planning Team Manager, City of York Council.


“Worked together on a big inquiry in the East Riding involving highly complex 5 year supply and FOAN issues.”

“I was exceptionally impressed with the grasp of the intricacies of the case as well as the impressive ability to withstand careful and robust cross examination.”

“I would have no hesitation in recommending Richard Wood as an expert planning witness.”

Paul Tucker (QC – Kings Chambers)


“Immediate clear grasp and understanding of all relevant issues in a complex planning appeal, and an innate and invaluable ability to “see the wood for the trees.”

“Enabling the presentation of clear, concise, cogent and highly persuasive evidence, both in writing and orally, at a heavily contested planning inquiry.”

“I would recommend Richard without hesitation.”

Ruth Stockley (Barrister – Kings Chambers)


Infrastructure Planning

Project experience includes infrastructure studies, engagement workshops and strategic advice.

Through an O’Neill Associates commission, we led the preparation of Harrogate’s Infrastructure Capacity Study and Delivery Plan (available for download here).

Work with Fore Consulting for Selby District Council and North Yorkshire County Council on critical transport and infrastructure priorities involved facilitated workshops with officers and the Selby Economic Partnership.

Critical friend advice helped to shape the Sheffield Transport Strategy and an update of the Hull Local Transport Plan is ongoing.


“Richard has provided a range of support to Selby District Council over the last few years in support of our local plan and five year land supply and planning appeal work.”

“He is also helping us to develop a more integrated approach to growth & infrastructure planning drawing on his excellent knowledge of the region and the district. Consistently provides a great mix of strategic thinking and practical advice and works very well in partnership with other consultants and key stakeholders to deliver an excellent service.”

Dave Caulfield, Director of Economic Regeneration & Place, Selby District Council


Site Promotion

Our work for public, private and charitable landowners includes:

  • Local Representations
  • Master-plan Coordination
  • Delivery Statements for Plan Examinations
  • Site Appraisals

For the Corporate Landlord at Kirklees Council we helped to secure an allocation for a 2,000-home site at Bradley Park, Huddersfield – the most controversial site in the Local Plan.

The Kirklees commission included leading two stages of master planning work (through an O’Neill Associates commission), a delivery statement and appearance at a local plan hearing.


“In overseeing the master planning work on Bradley Park, Richard’s understanding of the local plan process and insight as to the wider importance of the site has been invaluable, along with the ability to bring together all the different technical disciplines needed for the masterplan.”

Liz Jefferson – Strategic Partnership Lead, Regeneration Delivery, Kirklees Council


For Bransby Wilson Parking Solutions, the potential of town centre sites in Harrogate and Dewsbury have been assessed.

Current work for the Chatsworth Settlement Trustees is focused on promoting a site to the west of Sheffield through the local plan process and project managing a wider technical team of consultants.