While we have the expertise and a passion for all things rural - we are not your typical rural practice. We are rural, but you're as likely to find Doc Martens as you are Dubarry Boots, marathon runners as ramblers, festival-goers as fishermen among our team. Our varied backgrounds mean that while our technical abilities are second to none, it's our creativity and vision that deliver real value to our clients.

2 women looking at documents in a small office

Because Rural Solutions have such credibility in the rural context, their involvement can greatly enhance a planning application

Client feedback

Meet the team

Mark Hancock - Chairman

Mark Hancock


Ask me about:
Steering the ship. I have had a long career in property covering both urban and rural regeneration throughout the UK. I have been the Chairman of the company for 13 years and I am also Chairman of the trustees of the Duke of Lancaster Housing Trust and sit on the rural advisory committee of the Duchy of Lancaster. I am responsible for ensuring Rural Solutions is the best company in this sector.

I am Rural: I am an ex-rugby player

William Fry

Managing Director

Ask me about:
Anything! 22 years in rural development means I’ve seen a lot. What I love about the sector is the people, their innovation and determination to satisfy an ever-growing consumer appetite for the countryside and what it has to offer, and how we can make it happen for them.

I am Rural: I am a tennis player

Rob Hindle Managing Director

Rob Hindle

Executive Director

Ask me about:
Whole estate plans and estate scale strategy - I am known as ‘The WEP Guy’! However, I have been around the rural sector for nearly 4 decades so get involved in all kinds of projects and lead our work advising clients on regenerative land management.

I am Rural: I am a sailor

Heather Hancock - Non-Executive Director

Heather Hancock

Non-Executive Director

Ask me about:
Non-executive director, drawing on my current and previous roles as: Lead Non Executive Board Member for Defra, Chair, Agricultural Forum and The Royal Countryside Fund; Trustee, Chatsworth Settlement Trust; NED, Urban Logistics REIT plc; and previously Managing Partner and Strategy Partner, Deloitte LLP, and Chair of the Food Standards Agency, BBC Rural Affairs Committee, and Holker Group Ltd.

I am Rural: I make gardens

Hannah Fell

Operations Director

Ask me about:
Rural Solutions! I’ve worked at Rural for more than 10 years, building the team and business to the market leader it is today. I am responsible for all things operational and am passionate about client service and making sure Rural Solutions is a great place to work.

I am Rural: I am a hedgehog rescuer

Nicole Wright - Head of Planning

Nicole Wright

Head of Planning

Ask me about:
Planning. My background is in providing independent strategic planning and development advice. Having previously developed and managed my own planning consultancy, I have spent most of the past 20 years in East Anglia representing private and public sector clients on a range of challenging planning issues.

I am Rural: I am a walker

Malcolm Birks - Head of Design

Malcolm Birks

Head of Design

Ask me about:
Our design services. I lead our team in designing buildings and their environs to create spaces that enhance rural places through contemporary and traditional design. I design homes, leisure, and commercial schemes, with a focus on sustainable, functional building design and inspiring spaces.

I am Rural: I am a cricketer

Sally Ormiston - Head of Advisory

Sally Ormiston

Head of Consulting

Ask me about:
Our consultancy services. I lead our team of consultants and work with estate, public sector, private and commercial landowning clients. I help clients to understand their options for the management and development of their land and property and how to achieve their aims.

I am Rural: I am a campervanner

Alex Robinson - Associate Director, Design

Alex Robinson

Associate Director - Landscape

Ask me about:
Country house landscapes. From replacement houses to new build Para 80s or re-energising well established landscapes, I can help you understand your external space and reimagine it for your current needs taking the design from concept to completion.

I am Rural: I am a house renovator

Angela Nightingale - Accountant

Angela Nightingale


Ask me about:
Management accounting. I am responsible for company financial management. I also undertake financial modelling and analysis on project work to support viability assessments and business planning.

I am Rural: I am a runner

Photo of Anna

Anna Ridewood


Ask me about:
Regenerative land management – I am passionate about the protection, enhancement and celebration of our rural landscapes through thoughtful and informed management strategies. I work with clients on a variety of projects where soil health, water quality and biodiversity improvements are core objectives.

I am Rural: I am a trail runner

Baz Armstrong

Senior Architectural Technologist

Ask me about:
Anything to do with architectural technology and the link between building concepts and realisation. With over 20 years’ experience, I’ve worked in a range of fields from heritage, estates and leisure to housing schemes and city centre masterplans. I love the rural sector and exploring the balance between traditional and contemporary design.

I am Rural: I am a footballer.

Photo of Catherine

Catherine Robinson

Marketing Manager

Ask me about:
All things marketing, communications and content, especially when it involves good design and a worthy cause. Having recently joined the company, I’m looking forward to documenting the wonderful projects the team is working on, and promoting the exciting new brand.

I am Rural: I am a nature lover

Chloe Elliott - Internal Operations Manager

Chloe Elliott

Internal Operations Manager

Ask me about:
What makes our company and our team tick. I lead the team providing day to day support to the business and oversee our project portfolio management and HR services.

I am Rural: I am a snowboarder

Dawn Mercer - Associate Director, Consulting

Dawn Mercer

Associate Director - Consulting

Ask me about:
Rural leisure. I’ve spent 14 years working in the leisure sector, and specialise in rural leisure projects from concept to delivery. I also help existing leisure businesses optimise their performance, in particular heritage and outdoor attractions.

I am Rural: I am an outdoor adventurer

Duncan Hartley - Planning Director

Duncan Hartley

Director - Planning

Ask me about:
All things planning. As a former Chief Planning Officer, having now been in private practice for many years, I am an expert in planning strategy, in particular where development proposals have implications for protected landscapes and heritage assets. My work includes individual homes in the countryside as well as numerous diversification schemes to create and expand rural enterprises.

I am Rural: I am a countryman

Emily Leader - Senior Consultant

Emily Leader

Private Client Lead

Ask me about:
Individual country homes and development projects for private individuals. As Private Client Lead, I specialise in individual country houses and oversee our portfolio of private clients. I work with Planning and Design teams to enable the creation of homes of exceptional design quality and other high value developments.

I am Rural: I am a runner

Emma Hodgkiss - Architect

Emma Hodgkiss


Ask me about:
The built environment. I work within the design team to creatively fulfil design briefs such as large-scale leisure and residential projects from individual homes to quality housing developments. With a passion for sustainable architecture, I will assist you through the process from concept to construction.

I am Rural: I am a wanderer

Fiona Tiplady - Associate Director, Planning

Fiona Tiplady

Associate Director - Planning

Ask me about:
Planning as a means to enable development in senstive and protected locations. I work across all types of development projects to ensure the planning strategy is optimised to provide the very best of outcomes for our clients.

I am Rural: I am a round the world sailor

James Ellis - Director, Planning

James Ellis

Director - Planning

Ask me about:
Complex rural planning challenges. I work with clients cross many sectors to obtain planning consent in sensitive and constrained locations. I am a specialist in strategic promotion and masterplanning for large scale developments, exceptional new country homes and planning appeals.

I am Rural: I am a walker

Photo of Rural Solutions team member James Sackley

James Sackley

Senior Planner

Ask me about:
How to navigate the complex world of planning. I work on a variety of projects from large-scale housing developments to individual homes in areas with challenging planning issues. I also advise clients looking to diversify their land through new leisure facilities and for other commercial uses.

I am Rural: I am an ultra-marathon runner

Jessie Mitchell - Project Coordinator

Jessie Mitchell

Project Coordinator

Ask me about:
Project administration. I work with the professional team to make sure our projects are managed effectively, and we meet our commitment to clients on project delivery. I work across the whole team but lead on Planning projects.

I am Rural: I am a dog walker

Jon Tunstill - Landscape Architect

Jon Tunstill

Senior Landscape Architect

Ask me about:
Landscape design. I work on a myriad of different projects - creating sketch proposals, 3D models and visualisations, to preparing detailed landscape design and construction drawings. I can help take your project from concept design and planning through to completion.

I am Rural: I am a skier

Kate Girling - Associate Director, Planning

Kate Girling

Associate Director - Planning

Ask me about:
Planning in sensitive areas. I advise and assist clients on all aspects of planning from creating and developing strategies to the determination of planning applications and am currently working on a number of exceptional country homes.

I am Rural: I am a countryside explorer

Katie Fox - Office Administrator

Katie Fox

Internal Project Coordinator

Ask me about:
All things operations and people. I love getting the best out of people and processes and work to continuously improve things to make people’s lives more effective and enjoyable. I am often the first to arrange a team event and can multi-task like a pro!

I am Rural: I am a Three Peaker

Photo of Keely, Rural Solutions Team member

Keely Shaw

Project Coordinator

Ask me about:
The countryside and sustainability. I live in a rural village in Lancashire. You will find me on the moors walking my dogs, Margot and Murphy. I love country fairs, and recently became Treasurer for my local agricultural show. My passions are learning, being organised, communications, wine and food.

I am Rural: I am a hiker

Lisa Allison - Associate Director, Planning

Lisa Allison

Associate Director - Planning

Ask me about:
The development potential of sites, working in complex landscapes, with a focus on heritage conservation and enhancement, economic development and creating sustainable communities. I lead on a varied portfolio of complex rural planning and development projects across the UK.

I am Rural: I am an adventurer

Liz Walker - Associate Director, Planning

Liz Walker

Associate Director - Planning

Ask me about:
Re-use of buildings, development in protected landscapes, and energy projects. I have lots of experience in both the private and public sectors and I am well used to successfully navigating the complexities of the rural planning system.

I am Rural: I am a brass bander

Luke Dooler - Architect

Luke Dooler


Ask me about:
Designing buildings and creating amazing spaces to live, work and play. I’ve worked on a huge variety of projects including residential developments, barn conversions, farm shops, DVA’s, and one-off houses. I have experience at all stages from concept through to construction.

I am Rural: I am a golfer

Matt Jarvis - Associate Director, Design

Matt Jarvis

Associate Director - Landscape

Ask me about:
Anything landscape related - impact appraisals through to design, including CAD and GIS. I have a passion for improving the landscapes we live in through exploration and delivery of unique, stimulating design ideas and the integration of strong local narratives.

I am Rural: I am a mountain biker

Photo of Melanie

Melanie Simcoe

Senior Planning Administrator

Ask me about:
Anything systems, process and admin related. I work within the Planning Team providing support on and co-ordinating core admin functions which underpin all aspects of planning work to ensure we are delivering an efficient high quality service and an excellent client experience.

I am Rural: I am a dog walker

Michael Gordon - Senior Planner

Michael Gordon

Senior Planner

Ask me about:
Planning advice. I work with clients to provide planning advice and to attain planning consent on sites across the country. I have experience ranging from house extensions, barns conversions through to housing and commercial schemes.

I am Rural: I am an all-round sportsman

photo of Nicky

Nicky Witchell

Senior Consultant

Ask me about:
Communication. It sits at the very heart of everything I do. Whether I’m working on a Whole Estate Plan, developing a new leisure offer, creating and delivering a stakeholder engagement strategy or overseeing a project team, communication is always key.

I am Rural: I am a windswept beach lover

Rachel Cass - Architect

Rachel Cass


Ask me about:
Designing buildings. I’ve worked on a huge variety of projects including small scale residential developments, barn conversions and amazing, innovative one-off houses. I’ve experienced all stages from concept and feasibility through to detailed design and construction.

I am Rural: I am a runner

Rich Mills Associate Director - Consulting

Rich Mills

Associate Director - Consulting

Ask me about:
Rural estate strategy and business diversification. I help owners and managers of rural assets to shape strategies, develop profitable business models and engage stakeholders. I'm particularly passionate about regeneration projects that support both nature and communities.

I am Rural: I am a backpacker

Richard Webster - Senior Architectural Assistant

Richard Webster


Ask me about:
Buildings. I love designing architectural spaces that make people happy, improve well-being and are environmentally responsible. I work on all kinds of projects as part of the design team.

I am Rural: I am a cross-country skier

Sandy Fishpool - Associate Director, Design

Sandy Fishpool

Associate Director - Architecture

Ask me about:
How to bring your design vision to life. I work with clients to develop and realise their aspirations for architectural projects from concept to construction. I design proposals for buildings in sensitive and constrained locations, specialising in heritage buildings and bespoke house design.

I am Rural: I am an artist

Selby Stocks - Associate Director, Design

Selby Stocks

Associate Director - Architecture

Ask me about:
Buildings! I’ve been looking at them, designing them and then re-designing them for over 25 years. I get especially excited about housing but I’ve turned my hand to most sectors. I’m happy to help guide you from inception right through to a completed project.

I am Rural: I am a cyclist

Shelley Jones - Director, Planning

Shelley Jones

Director - Planning

Ask me about:
Rural planning and diversification. In my 10+ years at Rural Solutions, I have worked with many rural landowners in securing planning permission for diversification and redevelopment proposals including new opportunities in leisure and tourism, renewable energy and rural housing.

I am Rural: I am an explorer

Stuart Postlethwaite - Senior Landscape Architect

Stuart Postlethwaite

Senior Landscape Architect

Ask me about:
Landscape design. I specialise in site appraisal, concept design, landscape strategies, masterplanning, detail design and implementation. I design private schemes, public realm, residential developments, and leisure schemes, to ensure landscape plays an integral role within all projects.

I am Rural: I am a lover of the outdoors

Tabitha Saville - Architectural Assistant

Tabitha Saville

Senior Architectural Assistant

Ask me about:
Our design capabilities. I work within the design team to help bring your project to life all the way from feasibility studies and planning drawings through to construction.

I am Rural: I am a climber

Thomas Heap - Accounts Administrator

Thomas Heap

Accounts Administrator

Ask me about:
The money! I look after invoicing, accounts payable, procurement and expenses and support the wider management accounting for the business.

I am Rural: I am a football supporter

Give us a call on 01756 797501 or drop us a mail at info@ruralsolutions.co.uk

We'd be delighted to have a chat.

Your vision realised

Whether your vision is to create an exceptional one-off home, develop high quality rural housing, diversify a land-based enterprise, or evolve the way you manage your land and property portfolio – we can help you realise all these ambitions and more.

The new business HQ of Thwaites Brewery

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