Residential estate from above

AMS Planning Team

Anne-Marie and Steve giving plans with client

About AMS Planning

Formally known as Steve Hesmondhalgh and Associates, our practice was established in 2013. AMS comprises an established team of Chartered Town Planners and Chartered Architects.

Our highly skilled team provide specialist planning, development and architectural advice to a range of public and private sector clients throughout the country.

The team’s experience varies from site analysis, promotion, preparation and submission of planning applications, to the research and preparation of viability and socio-economic assessments. Using the latest technology, including Geographical Information Systems (GIS), we are able to present work in a creative, efficient and cost-effective manner. We firmly believe the use of GIS enables a holistic approach to planning in the pursuit of sustainable development and have successfully utilised it within a number of our recent projects.

Our focus on delivering high-quality development and the right outcomes for our clients has earned us an enviable reputation as a trustworthy and successful planning consultancy with many long-term clients.

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Meet the Team

Steve Hesmondhalgh

Steve Hesmondhalgh BA (Hons) MRTPI

Managing Director

Steve has over 30 years' experience in the planning industry. He has worked in both local government and the private sector. He spent 10 years at senior level in local government before moving to the development industry.

Previously Steve ran a large independent planning consultancy based in a law firm, then went on to be a partner in an architectural practice before setting up Steve Hesmondhalgh & Associates.

He has a reputation for providing excellent, commercially astute planning advice. He provides a more personalised service for his clients; with a wealth of experience, first class expertise and problem solving skills.

Anne-Marie Hesmondhalgh

Anne-Marie Hesmondhalgh

Director and Business Development

Anne-Marie has had a varied career leading up to her role as Business Development Manager of Steve Hesmondhalgh & Associates. Her position as Miss Zimbabwe in the early 1990's led her to set up the first independent television station in that country. This was followed by a highly successful career owning businesses that trained multi-national companies in IT and Customer Relationship Management - with clients as varied as Coca-Cola and the United Nations.

Her role in the Practice has been focused on developing the broader geographic base of the business. She is also responsible for improving client access to information.

Helen Riley

Helen Riley

Finance and Office Manager

Helen is an experienced professional Management Accountant with over 15 years of experience from managing essential everyday duties within various finance departments to providing high quality, specialised financial and management information to senior management and shareholders within a corporate businesses structure.

She brings considerable ‘hands on’ experience working from small privately owned businesses to larger blue chip organizations to AMS Planning and is an essential member of the Team. Working with the Directors she deals with the day to day organisation to the Practice as well as handling all accounts matters.

Ross Sandbach

Ross Sandbach BA (Hons) DipTP MRTPI


Ross is a Chartered Town Planner who has worked in Local Government, the Civil Service and Private Sector consultancy planning roles.

Working for one of the UK's larger planning consultancies Ross was involved in a number of large scale housing applications, with experience of the preparation and submission of planning applications for development projects of significant scale across a variety of Local Authority areas throughout the northern region. His experience also includes student accommodation and retail schemes.

Ross runs the team's operation across the Northern region though despite his knowledge of of the area his work is not restricted to that region.

Michael Dinn

Michael Dinn BA (Hons) DipTP


Michael has an extensive background across both the private and public sector.

Most recently he has been successfully promoting residential developments of various scales and locations for one of the countries largest land promoters through both the Development Plan process and via planning applications. He works with landowners and agents to craft an achievable vision for their planning project before implementing a bespoke planning strategy.

His extensive experience includes spending a decade in the public sector working in a variety of senior roles across Development Management, Planning Policy and Enforcement.

Michael is a highly organised project manager and is skilled at co-ordinating multi-disciplinary teams. He is the lead Associate covering the work of the Southern Area team.

Philippa Baruch

Philippa Baruch BA(Hons) MA MSc MRTPI

Associate (London and Special Projects)

Philippa has Masters degrees in both Town Planning from Newcastle University and Politics from Durham. Previously she obtained a BA in Politics and Economics from Newcastle.

She is a Chartered Town Planner and an extremely effective planner. She has excellent knowledge of planning law and uses this in undertaking research and report writing for planning application submissions.

Based in London Philippa has an understanding of the particular issues relevant to the capital. She is the lead on projects in London and provides planning and development advice to a select group of specific clients who value her in-depth knowledge and planning insight .

Marlon Cooray

Marlon Cooray BA (Hons) Dip Arch RIBA ARB


Marlon is a qualified Architect with over 20 years’ experience across broad range of design sectors, including Residential, Retail, Leisure, Commercial, Education, Healthcare and Pharmaceutical.

Though born and raised in West London, Marlon studied at Leeds University, settling in West Yorkshire following his registration as a qualified architect in 2001.

His career has allowed him to attain a wealth of design experience and industry knowledge, working at a senior level for over 12 years, managing the day to day running of a busy studio, multidisciplinary design teams and Client portfolios.

Marlon’s passion for creative and innovative design solutions, set within defined project deliverables, are fundamental to his architectural approach.

Bethany Scott

Bethany Scott BSc(Hons) AssocRTPI

Planning Consultant

Beth is an Associate Member of the RTPI. Following her Geography degree for the University of Sheffield Bethany joined one of the larger well known land promotion companies in the UK as a researcher working on a wide range of larger housing planning applications.

She has extensive experience in carrying out development site appraisals a great appreciation of planning opportunities and constraints and assists the team on policy related matters.

Since joining the Practice she has taken on an increasing important and complex case load and is now moving towards becoming a senior member of the team dealing with planning submissions across the entire UK.

Schalk Willem van Heerden

Schalk Willem van Heerden MSc, BSc(Hons), MA, BA(Hons)

Planning Consultant and GIS Specialist

Will has two master's degrees in Geography and Environmental Studies from the University of Stellenbosch and City and Regional Planning from the University of Cape Town. He has worked across a wide variety of fields within the spatial sciences. Which include serving as an academic at UNISA, consulting as a technical planning advisor for an environmental planning practice in Cape Town, and most recently working as a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist for a humanitarian demining organisation in northeast Nigeria.

Will is registered as a Licentiate Planner with the RTPI and as a GIS Professional with the South African Geomatics Council. Will’s planning qualifications, professional registrations along with his extensive work experience across different sectors allows him to bridge the gap between urban planning and GIS. As he provides a data-driven approach to the planning process, where it relates to conducting research and compiling reports for the submission of planning applications.

Will works within Steve Hesmondhalgh & Associates and our sister company MyLandData a Geospatial Solutions consultancy.

Henry Collison

Henry Collison MA. MA. BA(Hons)

Planning Consultant

Henry has Masters degrees in Both Town and Regional Planning from Leeds Beckett University and Classics and Ancient History from Exeter University. Previously he obtained an BA in Archaeology from Exeter University.

Henry has a long-held passion for the built, natural and historic environment. Returning to university in 2019, Henry has now joined the team at AMS to play an active role supporting our clients through the planning system.

In his dissertation Henry applied research developed over the past decade within the field of social psychology concerning social identity theory, to better understand the role the built environment can play in the remediation of past trauma.

Jamie Whitfield

Jamie Whitfield BA(Hons)

Assistant Architect

Jamie is currently studying to be an architect on the Graduate Apprenticeship Master’s Degree at Northumbria University.

Over the past four years he has developed a wealth of experience of large-scale housing developments. Jamie has also worked on the conversion of buildings of historic value in a conservation area. Through his studies and extracurricular activity, he has a keen interest in the acoustic design of spaces for singing. His major theses cover the design and control of acoustics in new Opera Houses, and the design of a community building for rehearsing and performing Opera.

At the heart of Jamie’s architectural design lies the experience of the user; believing that architecture has a key role to play in the way society interacts.

Andrew Purkiss

Andrew Purkiss MRAC, MRICS

Associate Consultant (Agriculture)

Andrew is a Rural Practice Chartered Surveyor with over 40 years' experience in providing professional advice to farmers and landowners across the country.

He now specializes in Rural Planning and provides advice on matters with an agricultural, horticultural or equestrian element. 

Andrew has an innate understanding of farming, the countryside and of the rural planning framework in the UK and harnesses this to provide clear advice to clients.

Andrew advises AMS Planning clients on a wide range of countryside issues with particular focus on agricultural workers’ dwellings. His analysis and reports have been a vital part of the success the AMS team have had throughout the UK countryside for many years.


Mike Potts Bsc (HONS/Lon), MSC PGDip MIOA

Associate Consultant (Acoustics)

Mike is an Environmental Noise specialist with over 20 years' experience in both Regulatory and Consultancy roles. He is a full corporate Member of the Institute of Acoustics (MIOA) with experience of a wide range of projects from small local development schemes to major infrastructure projects, both in the UK and overseas.

Besides his work for AMS in producing acoustic reports he has also provided Expert Witness evidence at Public Inquiries in England, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.

Mike's approach to environmental noise is solutions-based, rather than purely technical, with a focus on understanding the client's objectives and how that relates to noise issues for their project. Mike’s solution-based approach works well within the multi-disciplinary team approach adopted by AMS Planning, and he has helped many clients achieve successful outcomes where others have failed.


Helen Martin-Bacon B.A., M.A., PgDip., MCIFA, Affiliate of the IHBC.

Associate Consultant (Heritage) and Director and Principal Heritage Consultant at Avalon Heritage Ltd.

Helen is both an Associate Partner of AMS Planning and the founder of Avalon Heritage Ltd. She provides heritage and archaeological services to a wide range of clients on all matters pertaining to heritage and archaeology within planning led environments. Helen has worked as a historic environment professional for nearly 30 years.

Helen began her career as a field archaeologist directing a variety of complex archaeological excavations on sites as diverse as mineral extraction sites through to city centres. The extensive experience of working in the field has left Helen with an in-depth knowledge on how to manage archaeological investigations in a way which meets the needs of her clients.

Prior to founding Avalon Heritage Helen worked for a decade at a large engineering and environmental company in north Staffordshire where she acted as a heritage consultant. She works well within the multi-disciplinary team approach at AMS Planning with her experience on a wide range of diverse projects from solar farms through to large-scale mixed-use developments is a huge asset to the practice.

Helen uses her extensive experience of preparing Heritage Impact Assessments, Desk-Based Assessments, Significance and Setting Assessments and Historic Building Assessments to meet the requirements of various projects. She has a wide knowledge of heritage legislation and of government guidance on the historic environment which she employs when providing advice to clients and when preparing heritage reports. She is skilled at research and at assessing impacts from proposed schemes on the heritage significance of both designated and non-designated heritage assets.

Helen is skilled at liaison and negotiations with Local Planning Authorities and her knowledge of the heritage sector as a whole enables her to provide satisfactory solutions to projects with complex needs. She has considerable experience of managing projects within planning-led environments and at balancing the protection of the historic environment with understanding the key time constraints and financial pressures faced by anyone engaged in development from individual houseowners through to large housing developers.

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