‘An eclectic mix, but one bound by a single minded ambition to deliver innovative and informed thinking that brings our clients the best possible results’.

We are specialists in the diversification of property and land assets.

We are creative, entrepreneurial and passionate in what we do.  Not every project is the same, consequently our team is as diverse as our client base.

Our advisory team consists of property professionals, business consultants, analysts and researchers.

Our planning department is built on a foundation of senior, ex-local authority planning policy and management personnel.

Our architecture and project management business offers the creativity of a design led architectural practice with the rigour and discipline of quantity surveyors, project management and a firm grounding in commerciality.

Mark Hancock BSc (Hons), MA


A well-known figure in the commercial property world, a rugby blue from Cambridge and a wealth of interests in both urban and rural business. Mark brings verve, enthusiasm and rigour to Rural Solutions. His business acumen combined with his passion for all things rural is best demonstrated in the work he has done on his own estates in the Yorkshire Dales.

William Fry BSc (Hons), MBA, MRICS

Managing Director

 William is a hugely experienced businessman and chartered surveyor. There can be very few people in the rural sector who have the experience in diversification and development to match. His commitment to developing and growing the Rural Solutions business is mirrored in his ability to help clients develop ideas and deliver successful schemes across commercial, residential, tourism and leisure sectors. He also plays a pretty brutal brand of tennis.

Duncan Hartley, BSc, MA, DipTRP


Duncan is a poacher turned gamekeeper (or vice versa) as he has considerable experience working in the public sector as Chief planning Officer of two rural local authorities. His private practice work has seen him achieve considerable success in projects across the board including, new country houses, retail development, residential and renewables. He stands as expert witness on rural sustainability for developers, land promoters and their legal teams as well as a considerable amount of work for landed estates. Outside the planning world Duncan spends most of the time trying to control his young family.

Rob Hindle, BSc (Hons), MRICS


Rob’s twenty years in rural planning and development has seen him bring Rural Solutions to the forefront of expertise in rural planning particularly in relation to understanding rural communities and sustainability. His understanding of ‘vitality’ and what it means for the long-term development of rural communities is key to the success of many residential and commercial schemes across rural England and Wales. Rob also has a very clean car despite the time he spends working his labrador Inca in the rural North West. A triumph of management, of which he is rightly proud.

Tor McLaren

Non Executive Director

 Tor joined the Non executive board having commissioned Rural Solutions on a number of complex planning opportunities on his estate.

He is an accomplished businessman as well as a countryman and has interests in the agribusiness, renewables and technology sectors.

He is a patron of the Aberbaldie Foundation, which supports education and medical research in the Australian Bush.

Ralph Foljambe. BA (Hons), Msc

Non Executive Director

Ralph joined Rural Solutions in 2005 after a number of years working in the rural property sector.

Ralph works with landowners principally to advise them on the redeployment of rural property assets for greater gain. His deep knowledge of the countryside and business in that sector is particularly enhanced by his main career which is running his own family estates in Nottinghamshire and his property business ‘Foljambe Estates’

Matthew Hale, Bsc (Hons)

Non Executive Director

Matthew is a farmer and businessman who has delivered a number of diversification initiatives on his farm in North Hertfordshire. His first hand experience from the principal side of land ownership brings the board very useful insight into what Rural Solutions should be constantly striving to achieve for our clients.

With office units, light industrial space , a café and livery yard now adding to his existing and traditional farming business he is an exemplar of the Rural Solutions ‘concept to completion’ mantra and the success that can bring.

Willy Browne-Swinburne

Business Development – North


Willy worked in the world of advertising and marketing with15 years at JWT in London. Returning to Northumberland in 2008 he has focussed on the diversification of his own house and estate in Northumberland. He is a trustee of The Tyne Rivers Trust, Northern Ambassador for the Red Squirrel Survival Trust and Chairman of the Northumberland & Durham Committee of The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust.

Dom Palmer-Tomkinson, BA (Hons)

Business Development – South East


Following 14 years spent working in the City as a Director in the Corporate Broking Department of a large financial institution, Dom moved back to his roots in the East Anglian countryside. Dom has vast financial expertise combined with a passion for the countryside and rural affairs. With 3 young children he occasionally finds a little spare time to enjoy tennis, golf and cricket and also holds a private pilot’s licence.

Rob Jones-Davies, BA (Hons)

Business Development – South West


 Rob previously worked for Middleton Advisors sourcing country houses and estates gaining invaluable knowledge and experience within the property sector. Having sailed across the Atlantic and cycled from Moscow to London he also has a broad perspective on the world.

Paula Onea, BA, MBA

Head of Consultancy


Paula spent a decade as a management consultant and senior credit analyst in one of the biggest European financial institutions. Within her financial and consulting roles, Paula has provided assessment and advice on a large number of investment projects in the private and public sectors. She has worked on developing projects, strategies, financial restructuring and fund raising. Paula completed an MBA at Lancaster University graduating with distinction, after achieving a first degree in economic studies.

Joanne Halton, BSc (Hons), MSc MPlan, MRTPI

Head of Planning


Joanne is an experienced Chartered Planner and has spent a decade working in both the public and private sectors. She has considerable experience in dealing with general planning and specialist knowledge in renewable energy planning. She has worked on an array of schemes including; changes of use, retail developments, industrial developments, equestrian developments, householder applications, applications to regularise unlawful development and renewable energy applications. In her spare time Joanne enjoys horse riding and spending time with her son.

Malcolm Birks, MA (Cantab), Dip Arch, MPhil, RIBA

Head of Architecture and Project Management


Malcolm is a Chartered Architect and trained at Cambridge University and the Architectural Association and has worked for small and large practices, delivering projects ranging from the small-scale to £23 million in value.  These have included new secondary schools, offices and housing. He also has a Masters in Environmental Design and has considerable experience working with existing buildings in sensitive contexts. Malcolm is a keen cricketer and enjoys playing chess with his young children.

Hannah Fell

Office Manager


Hannah has vast experience within the office management field with a track record of delivering creative and imaginative solutions to problems. She is very good at effectively influencing decisions and developing positive and ongoing relationships with experience across a range of business activities such as project coordination, financial management, sales, client management, accounts and the implementation of policy and effective working procedures. In her spare time Hannah enjoys spending time with her dogs and friends in the countryside walking and exploring country taverns.