Since 2012, Planning Direct has attracted the best staff by offering a challenging but relaxed working environment with excellent pay, pension, holiday, flexi-time, flexi-working and numerous other benefits.

Over time, we’ve created a diverse team with a wide range of skills and experience. All members of our team possess excellent logical reasoning skills, communication skills and the ability to find creative solutions to challenging problems.

If you think you’d fit in, please get in touch – your character and skillset are more important to us than your qualifications or experience!

Andrew Cann B.A. (Hons) MCILT APM, Director

Andrew studied Geography at the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London) before starting a long career in the corporate world where his roles included securing major planning consents for international investment holding company, Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience in planning, transport planning, shipping, rail construction, operations, logistics, procurement, I.T. and Local and National Government. 

Over the width and breadth of his career, Andrew has developed an unrivalled understanding of the planning system from both sides of the divide (the private and the public sector). He has given expert evidence in a number of public forums, including the House of Lords.

Andrew founded Planning Direct in 2012, having recognised a gap in the planning industry market for a consultancy with customer service and care at its heart. His first major win led him to being called ‘The man who beat Tesco’.

Andrew is an avid Formula One fan, aspiring sailor and foodie. 

Steve Miller DipTP MRTPI, Principal Planning Consultant

With over 40 years’ experience in all aspects of planning, Steve has seen and done it all. Steve has been involved in countless major planning cases, including various Public Inquiries, presentations to Planning Committees and attendances at High Court. 

Before joining Planning Direct in 2016, Steve was Head of Planning at Ipswich Borough Council.

Steve specialises in complex appeal cases. Recently, he managed to overturn a local council’s refusal of 5 new houses on an agricultural field in the Essex Green Belt.

A long-standing member of the RTPI, Steve is also a Maurice Hellier Award Winner, having been the highest achieving student in his cohort.

On the weekends, Steve loves to sail and is a member of the Pin Mill Sailing Club.

Nikki O’Hagan B.A. (Hons), Head of Planning Appeals and Policy

Nikki has a lifelong passion for writing, literature and linguistics, having spent a good portion of her early childhood in the local library.

Having grown up in Milton Keynes, she moved to Southampton to study French at the University before landing in Ipswich. Following completion of her award-winning degree, she spent a few years working as a supervisor in various busy town centre pubs, also enjoying a brief stint bartending in Paris.

Nikki joined Planning Direct in 2017, where she rapidly progressed to management. She is involved in all aspects of the business, although she specialises in heritage, appeals work and policy.

Nikki has recently been working on a Neighbourhood Plan for a rural parish in Essex.

One of her recent heritage appeal wins – concerning various alterations to a Grade II* listed building in Islington – is currently under construction and she is looking forward to seeing the results.

In her spare time, Nikki can usually be found walking (or otherwise pandering to) her dog, Rudy. Rudy loves to spend time at the office, especially when new people are about.

Jamie Cann B.A. (Hons), Head of Planning Applications

Jamie was born in Ipswich and lived in the county of Suffolk for 40 years before moving to the Norwich area with his wife and family where he currently lives.

Having worked in the development departments of various housing associations for the majority of his working life thus far, Jamie is pleased to have been able to contribute towards improving and expanding the stock of affordable housing within the UK for the benefit of the community.

Heading up the planning applications team at Planning Direct, Jamie is responsible for preparing, submitting and managing all types of planning applications on behalf of his client base and has worked for Planning Direct since 2016. 

Over his career, Jamie has secured planning permission for thousands of new homes, including multiple new housing schemes outside of settlement boundaries and in the open countryside.

Much to our client’s satisfaction, Jamie’s recent dedication to one challenging enforcement case caused the local council to withdraw their enforcement notice and pay our client’s costs.

Jamie is a keen football fan and is probably one of only a few people within the Norfolk area to support Ipswich Town Football Club. Jamie has previously represented his former county, Suffolk, at pool and is also an avid snooker player, having once defeated a reigning world champion.

Elise Colombel

Elise was born and raised in France where she gained a degree in history from the prestigious Sorbonne University.

She first visited Ipswich as part of a student exchange programme, returning nearly 10 years later to live here permanently. Much of her early career was spent in the hospitality industry where she progressed to front of house manager for a very well-reputed local restaurant. Elise then moved into the property management industry before stepping over to planning.

She joined Planning Direct in 2019 and works predominantly on planning applications. Due in no small part to her hospitality background, Elise has exceptional customer service and communication skills which are appreciated by clients and council officers alike.

Since 2019, Elise has used these skills to secure planning permission for a variety of complex and contentious planning developments, including HMOs, hot food takeaways, pet services and new houses.

Elise belongs to a local book club and spent many years pursuing her passion for running, especially cross-country and long distance events.

She recently hung up her running shoes to pursue a new passion for yacht sailing. During the spring and summer months, Elise now spends much of her spare time out at sea. 

Holly Weston B.A. (Hons)

Holly is from Ipswich but moved to Manchester to study Geography at the University of Salford, graduating during the pandemic in the summer of 2020.

Following graduation, Holly returned to Ipswich where she joined Planning Direct in January 2021. She has since worked on a variety of planning applications and planning objections.

One of her most recent wins has allowed a small home-run business – offering swimming classes to local children – to continue operating despite multiple attempts by the local council to shut them down.

Holly is in the process of completing a postgraduate degree in MSc Town Planning at Anglia Ruskin University.

Her knowledge and understanding of the planning system is developing rapidly through her studies and daily work.

Although the pandemic may have halted Holly’s keen interest in travelling, it allowed her to spend more time reading, cooking and baking (like the rest of the country). She has recently been delving into Feminist literature. 

Alex Webb Bsc (Hons)

Alex is a sociable person who loves gaming and almost any type of sport. Growing up with teachers for parents, he managed to secure a place at Sussex University in Brighton to study a BSc in Neuroscience.

When he wasn’t in a lab coat poking around at brains, he was more than likely out with the University Rugby Team, of which he was an avid social member.

After graduating during the pandemic, he chose to take a break from science and worked in product management before being snapped up by Planning Direct as their newest recruit in late 2021.

Alex has already succeeded in securing planning consent for a range of cases, including an agricultural barn conversion, a new rural veterinary surgery and multiple householder extensions.

He is beginning to tackle some more complex cases, including housing in the Green Belt.

Lisa Stevens

Lisa started her career in banking but changed vocation early on to train to become a Landscape Designer.

With over two decades of award-winning work behind her, Lisa joined the team in 2021 to provide our Landscape Planning and Landscape & Visual Impact Services.

Lisa is a keen gardener and animal lover. She also enjoys attending gigs and music festivals.

Seth Havens BSc (Hons)

Seth originally has a background in IT and programming, having studied at the University of Manchester. He left the programming world 5 years ago to get involved in property development. He has first hand, in depth experience of the planning and building control processes and hard-won knowledge of the pitfalls and frustrations involved. 

He recently joined the team in 2021 as an Architectural Technician and is studying for his Advanced Diploma in Structural Engineering. 

His role at Planning Direct includes the preparation of detailed and accurate planning and building regulations drawings for a wide range of projects.

In his spare time, Seth is building his own home. He also enjoys miniature painting and gaming as well as practicing his carpentry skills.

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