The Urbanists secure planning permissions at Pembrokeshire College, Haverfordwest.

The Urbanists are pleased to announce that we have recently secured two planning permissions for extension and enhancement of Pembrokeshire College, Haverfordwest.

The first permission was to extend and enhance the main campus social space facilities, by extension of the building and re-use of the existing internal courtyard area.  The proposed project will significantly enhance both the use and enjoyment of the space, at the heart of the education complex.  This application was required to follow the PAC process prior to submission.

images copyright PDA

The second permission was for a building to provide additional engineering teaching facilities, which are currently provided off-site.  This will now integrate the operation into the main campus allowing students to benefit from an improved education facility for the subject plus now being part of the main campus life. Both applications were unanimously approved at Pembrokeshire County Council’s planning committee in July 2019.

images copyright PDA

Powell Dobson were the project architects.

For more information on this project please contact Mark Farrar.

Draft National Development Framework for Wales


This week sees the release of Welsh Government's Draft National Development Framework (NDF) - a plan and spatial vision for Wales for 2040, which is out for consultation until November.

This National Development Plan sets direction for investment and development which Local Development Plans will build on, with LDPs needing then to support the implementation of the NDF.

It provides eleven proposed outcomes of the NDF, which are based on the placemaking outcomes in Planning Policy Wales, and the Wellbeing Act such as: "Our cities, towns and villages will be physically and digitally well connected, offering good quality of life to their residents" and "Cities and large towns are magnets for jobs and investment, while people are drawn to live and work there for the economic and social opportunities they provide".


The Spatial Strategy sets out where growth should be focused, how it should be planned and managed, and how we should utilise renewable energy in powering and heating places. It identifies the main cities and towns as three national growth areas: Cardiff, Newport and the Valleys; Swansea Bay and Llanelli; and Wrexham and Deeside, and promotes their continued growth and regeneration.

It then proposes a set of draft national policies which set out how growth should be planned and managed to create sustainable places and to achieve the outcomes - fundamentally the opportunity to shape, grow, renew, and regenerated our cities and towns, and create sustainable, healthy places which embed green infrastructure.

Proposed policies include: sustainable urban growth (urban growth with active travel networks, mixed use, higher density, integrated public transport); supporting urban centres (public service facilities of a significant scale should be located in town and city centres); delivering affordable homes (a more balanced approach to delivery between private sector, local authorities, RSLs, and Small and Medium sized enterprises encouraged to build more homes); and preparing a strategic framework for biodiversity enhancement and ecosystem resilience.

Policies are also proposed relating specifically to each of the three regions of Wales, with the South East Wales.

Please contact Mark Farrar for further information on this, or to discuss how it could relate to your work, or responding to the consultation.

We will provide our opinion on the potential implications and opportunities of the NDF shortly.

New Kop stand and conference venue in master plan

A new conference venue and 5,000-seat Kop end stand at Wrexham's Racecourse football ground are at the centre of a new master plan unveiled for the town. A four-star hotel is also planned and Wrexham General railway station's role as a transport hub would be boosted. Wrexham council leader Mark Pritchard said the aim was to regenerate Mold Road, a major route into the town.

The Welsh Government, football club and Glyndwr University all back the plan although funding has yet to be agreed. Councillor Pritchard said: "There is a new want and desire to improve Wrexham as a place and as a region.

The conference venue would be built below the new stand, instead of the previously suggested museum of football which is now earmarked for Wrexham Museum in the town centre.

The Urbanists were the lead consultant and masterplanner for this project.

Full details of the press release are here.

The Urbanists – Celebrate their first Employee Ownership Day!

The 28th June is EO Day, a national celebration of employee ownership and a major opportunity to raise awareness of the economic benefits and positive impact the sector has on the UK economy.

IMG_5508 (1) copy.jpg

With numerous events running across the UK and the involvement of thousands of employee owners and other partners, EO Day is an integral part of the Employee Ownership Association’s events calendar and was introduced to raise awareness of employee ownership as an economically strong and balanced business model.  

The benefits of employee ownership have been proven in EOA-led research, and include improving employee health and wellbeing, increasing productivity and fostering creativity and innovation across an array of industry sectors.  The built environment is one of the fastest growing employee ownership sectors, currently representing 40% of UK Employee Ownership business. We’re pleased to be part of it. 

The Urbanists are 3 months in to their Employee Ownership and today we celebrate with a Heads Up and Smile Team Lunch.  Why Heads Up & Smile? It’s reminding us that sometimes we are so engrossed in our projects, meetings and deadlines, as a team sometimes we need to put our heads up, out of our devices and engage with everyone around us.   What better way to celebrate with a team lunch and plenty of smiles !

Urbanists’ Plans For Cardiff Canal Quarter Revealed

Following - 3 years of involvement with various frameworks and strategies for the area around Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena, The Urbanists are excited to see the recently published news which makes public the councils commitment to deliver the transformative ‘Canal Quarter’ scheme.

The Urbanists worked with Cardiff Council and a number of landowners and stakeholders to prepare a framework masterplan and report for the area between Queen Street Station and St David's Shopping Centre which encompass Churchill Way, Charles Street, Bridge Street, Guildford Crescent and the site of the existing Motorpoint Arena.

The plans and report set out the vision and design principles for a new unique Canal Quarter destination within Cardiff which advocated for the reopening of the cities historic dock feeder canal currently hidden under Churchill Way. The report sets out how opening up the canal can create new development opportunities which could be focused around an ambitious blue and green infrastructure led approach to place-making.

The former canal on Mill Lane (Source: Cardiff Central Library Local Studies Collection/Cardiff Story Museum)

The former canal on Mill Lane (Source: Cardiff Central Library Local Studies Collection/Cardiff Story Museum)

One of the key challenges was to produce a scheme that addressed the sensitivities around Guildford Crescent, the future transport infrastructure ambition for the city and the ambitions and aspirations of key stakeholders. Through comprehensive engagement The Urbanists successfully achieved this.

Council leader Huw Thomas celebrated the announcement as "good news”;

"Increasingly, developers are seeking to invest where there is good access to public transport and this area of the city centre on the doorstep of Queen Street station is as good as it gets.

I am delighted that we will now receive new plans for Guildford Crescent, leading to the potential for an even bigger reminder of the past by opening up the canal," 

The Urbanists are thrilled to be involved in such an exciting and transformative project.

The Urbanists secure planning permission for Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Tan-Y Lan, Swansea

(Image courtesy of Stride Treglown)

We are pleased to announce that the Urbanists have secured full planning permission for a new welsh medium primary school in Clase, Swansea. Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Tan-Y Lan will be a new welsh medium primary school that will accommodate growing demand in the local area for education through the medium of welsh. The new school is part of a programme to provide additional Welsh-medium school places in Swansea.

(Image courtesy of Stride Treglown)

The planning application successfully agreed a new state of the art school building including, means of access, parking, outdoor recreational facilities, landscape treatment and drainage infrastructure. The development will be delivered on land adjacent to Hill View Crescent, Morriston, Swansea. 

One of the main planning challenges that the design team were able to overcome was to ensure that a Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) could be appropriately included as a part of the development. The team also prepared a robust Transport Assessment to demonstrate that the highway impact of the scheme would be acceptable.

The project team consisted of: AECOM, Stride Treglown and Hydrock and the client was Swansea Council.

Please contact Liam Hopkins or Harri Aston for any further information.

Saundersfoot key projects - planning permissions secured in the National Park

We are pleased to confirm that The Urbanists have secured full planning permission for the Ocean Square mixed-use redevelopment scheme and the new Coaster Schooner Centre, in Saundersfoot, as part of the Wales International Coastal Centre (WICC) project.  

We are acting as planning consultants and landscape architects, on behalf of Saundersfoot Harbour Commissioners.

The Ocean Square project comprises the re-use and extension of the vacant Coal Building, plus the provision of a new commercial, community space and covered outdoor square, located at the heart of the village.  The Urbanists also prepared the landscape strategy for this constrained, and unique site.  The project will have a significant, positive impact on the vitality and viability of the village, and will act as a catalyst to regeneration.

The Coastal Schooner Centre is a permanent attraction to the village, providing new events space, small theatre, and shop.  It is designed to resemble a tall-masted schooner boat which once operated from the port, including full size masts and rigging. 

The WICC project overall also includes the new Marine Centre of Excellence and the new Events' Deck and amphitheatre.  The Urbanists also acted as planning consultants to secure permissions for both of these key projects.  


Powell Dobson Architects are lead architects and Faithful and Gould are project managers. 

Please contact Mark Farrar for any further information.

Architectural images courtesy of Powell Dobson

Urbanists’ Development Brief adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance for conservation area site within Brecon Beacons National Park

We are delighted to announce that the residential Development Brief prepared by The Urbanists on behalf of Collins Design & Build has been approved by the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority.

The Development Brief promotes a new residential and commercial development on the outskirts of Talgarth as Supplementary Planning Guidance. On the 9th April Brecon Beacons National Park Authority Supplementary Planning Guidance Committee convened to consider the motion to endorse and adopt the Development Brief as Supplementary Planning Guidance and found in favour.

The brief sets out proposals to deliver a 127 unit scheme redeveloping the former Mid Wales Hospital with a sustainable new community that will re-establish strong links to Talgarth and achieve a high quality, locally distinctive development that respects the character and history of the site. The proposals include the redevelopment of the former Mid Wales Hospital and Chapel. Due to the current state of dilapidation of existing structures on site this involves the demolition of a number of the existing buildings on site with the exception of the main administration building and the former Chapel which sits opposite. The retainment and refurbishment of these buildings for alternative uses will form the heart of the development contributing to the heritage of the area and creating strong character.

The proposed scheme will bring much needed activity, accommodation and vibrancy to the area and provides a viable approach to a challenging brownfield site within the Talgarth Conservation Area.

The Urbanists team to take ownership of the future of the business

We are very pleased to announce that The Urbanists have reached an important milestone in its 14-year evolution as a business, following the retirement of one of the founding members of the company, Martin Sullivan, from its Board.


The Urbanists new Board of Directors comprises of James Brown acting as Managing Director, Michelle Tuck, Director and Mark Farrar, Director, all of whom have been fundamental to the success of the business, alongside Martin and the wider team, over the last few years. Martin will remain as a consultant to the business for selected projects.

The new Board of Directors have completed a Management Buyout of the business, of which has seen a creation of a Trust to enable the ownership to be shared with its employees.

The team ethos and the combination of skills in planning, landscape architecture and urban design are central to the culture at The Urbanists. Through this new vehicle it ensures it continues to represent the business culture for which it is known for, encourages continued growth, creates incentives for its employees which ensures its driving success which is best for the clients, employees and the business. 

Deb Oxley OBE, CEO of the Employee Ownership Association, said:  “We congratulate The Urbanists on its transition to employee ownership. By widening ownership of the business to its employees The Urbanists is securing the future of the business, including its ethos, values and employees, while rooting itself locally for the longer term to the benefit of the community(ies) which it serves.”

New Managing Director James Brown said: “We are extremely confident that the future of The Urbanists remains in the hands of the people who understand it best and who will strive to continue to deliver the very highest standards of service for our clients. We have achieved much under Martin’s leadership and would all like to thank him for his significant contribution in The Urbanists story so far. We now look forward to continuing to work closely with our clients across private and public sectors to achieve the creation of better quality places”.

Promotions in The Urbanists team recognises professional development

Congratulations on your hard work! (L-R): Liam, Jamie, Clara, Paraic and Lauren.

Congratulations on your hard work! (L-R): Liam, Jamie, Clara, Paraic and Lauren.

It is really satisfying to share with you the good news that we have promoted some of our team members in recognition of their positive influence on the business.

Professional development and wellbeing are at the heart of our culture within The Urbanists. We are all motivated to be exceptionally good at what we do so that this translates to better quality outcomes for our clients and to making better places.

Several members of our team have made significant strides in their professional development and we feel that such progress and maturity warrants recognition in terms of their role within the business. We congratulate the following on their success:

  • Liam Hopkins is now an Associate Director

  • Lauren Phillips is now a Senior Associate

  • Jamie Donegan is now an Associate

  • Clara Koehler is now a Senior Urban Designer; and

  • Paraic McDevitt is now a Landscape Architect

These promotions demonstrate the importance of the personal commitment that Liam, Lauren, Jamie, Clara and Paraic have made to their own professional improvement and to The Urbanists. We hope that this not only inspires their colleagues but demonstrates to our clients that their projects are being looked after by committed, diligent and talented people.

We look forward to furthering the professional growth of all of our team in the future!

The Urbanists to develop Wrexham corridor regeneration plan

The Urbanists have been appointed by Wrexham County Borough Council and Welsh Government to carry out a feasibility study into the future placemaking and development opportunities along the Mold Road Corridor. 

Wrexham is a key regional driver for North East Wales and Mold Road is an important arterial route into the town. The significance of the route is derived from the presence of Wrexham’s Glyndwr University, The Racecourse stadium and Wrexham General railway station. 

The challenge will be to devise and coordinate interventions that will make a considerable beneficial impact upon Wrexham and the wider region. The vision will be supported by a masterplan which will be underpinned by deliverable interventions set into a short, medium and long term delivery plan.

The Urbanists are leading the project and are being supported by Colliers on property inputs and Mott Macdonald on transportation advice.

wrexham aerial base.jpg

Planning permission secured for new visitor facilities at BikePark Wales

7. CGI of Bike Hire Centre.jpg

The Urbanists are pleased to announce that BikePark Wales have been granted planning permission to build new visitor facilities at their premises in Merthyr.  We managed the planning application for BikePark Wales, which will result in the delivery of a new Bike Hire Centre with associated bike washing facilities, a new catering unit along with a staff office building.

BikePark Wales has been operational since 2012, and the development proposed  is the first  part of the significant investment  taking place in order to improve customer experience and to meet growing demand as result of increased visitor numbers. We look forward to working closely with BikePark Wales in the preparation of future development proposals.


The design team consisted of: LeTrucco Design (Architecture); Peter Quinn Associates (Landscape Architecture); Bingham Hall Partnership (Engineering Services); Holloway Partnership (Mechanical and Electrical) and TC Consult (Project Management and Cost).

If you would like more information on tis project please contact Liam Hopkins ( or Harri Aston (

Whiteheads, Newport: Update

The Urbanists have submitted reserved matters designs for the first 471 new homes on the former Whiteheads steelworks site in Newport.  The submission was made on the behalf of the Whiteheads Development Company.  The scheme will be delivered by Lovell Homes. 


The submission marks a significant step forward in the delivery of this important development.  We will now be focussed on working with the Local Planning Authority to secure permission for the propose design.  Separate planning applications will be submitted for the remaining homes, the neighbourhood centre and primary school that were all included in the outline planning permission.  

Screen Shot 2018-11-19 at 15.01.00.png

The scheme was designed by Powell Dobson Architects, with engineering advice provided by Cambria Consulting.  Project management and cost consultancy advise was provided by Blake Morgan.   

Further coverage of the scheme can be found here:

Image prepared by Powell Dobson Architects.  

The Urbanists provide planning consultancy advice to BikePark Wales

We are delighted to be acting as planning consultants to BikePark Wales.  Over the past 6-months we have advised the Park on their exciting extension proposals which will include a new visitor centre, onsite glamping accommodation and additional car parking capacity.  To date, we have submitted and prepared a planning application for the new visitor centre, and are now working on the planning application for the accommodation and parking.  A great client to work for. 

7. CGI of Bike Hire Centre.jpg

Streetgames at The Principality Stadium, Cardiff

The Urbanists were proud to support Streetgames on Friday 27th July in Cardiff's iconic Principality Stadium. Several members of The Urbanists team volunteered to help run events and offer support to the Streetgames team.

Throughout the day, over 3,000 youngsters from the most deprived parts of Wales got to take part in over 60 different activities ranging from football, cage rugby, urban boxing, golf chip and put, free-running and gymnastics, skate boarding, and break dancing. In addition, many young people got the chance to be involved in event management and volunteering and played a key role in helping plan and deliver the festival on behalf of StreetGames. 

StreetGames has introduced the ‘Fit and Fed’ programme as a response to a growing body of research on the triple inequalities of holiday hunger, isolation, and inactivity. Of the poorest families, 73% struggle to buy food during the Summer school holidays, and kids can lose 80% of their fitness built up over the school year*

An excellent day was had by all who attended and The Urbanists look forward to supporting the event in the future.

MSF 18.jpg
MSF 18no2.jpg
Screen Shot 2018-08-01 at 16.56.43.png

The Urbanists secure planning permission for new facilities at Daerwynno, Llanwonno outdoor activity centre


The Urbanists are very pleased to announce that we have secured full planning permission for new facilities in the grounds of the Daerwynno outdoor activity centre, located in Llanwynno forest. The planning permission includes the upgrade of the existing toilet block and the addition of three new shipping containers that will provide shower/toilet facilities, a classroom learning space and cafe area.  The permission was obtained on the behalf of the Ynysybwl Regeneration Partnership.  

In addition to securing planning permission, we were also responsible for preparing the scheme design, which includes the use of sustainable materials and finishes to ensure the development is appropriate to the landscape of the Llanwonno forest.  


Daerwynno Outdoor Activity Group has been operational since 1996, and the development proposed will enhance the outdoor offer provided.  

If you would like further information on this project please contact Martin Sullivan ( or Liam Hopkins (


Urban design consultancy appointed on Swansea Digital Village


We’re very pleased to have been selected to be part of a team of consultants to help the City & County of Swansea Council to deliver a new employment scheme in the heart of Swansea.

The team (lead by WSP and also supported by Architecture 00, as well as Cushman & Wakefield and Gleeds) will be preparing plans for up to 100,000sq.ft of development that will continue the progression of Swansea’s digital economy and city centre lifestyle as part of the wider transformation of the City Centre. Realising the vision for the site, which was formerly the Oceana nightclub, is only possible because of the transformation of The Kingsway.

The £12m redesign of The Kingsway from a functional highway into a new green artery for the city will include new public areas, new green spaces and a revised two-way single lane vehicle route that will create a much more enjoyable and comfortable environment for visitors to the City.

The Urbanists contributed to the redesign of The Kingsway by combining our urban design and landscape architectural expertise and knowledge of street design to the considerable knowledge and commitment that exists within the City Council’s highways, transport planning and landscape teams.

Part of our latest role with Swansea will be reviewing the wider regeneration context of The Kingsway and Orchard Street and updating the plans prepared by the Council in 2016 to create a clear intention for how this part of the City Centre will evolve over the coming years. 

Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart said: "This high-calibre new partner will be key to developing the Digital Village, working with council officers and other professionals. These plans will transform the city centre into a vibrant and bustling centre for business and leisure that increases the number of people working and living in Swansea and bring high-quality jobs to the area”.

Captains Charity Day at Raglan Golf Club


The Urbanists are proud to have supported and sponsored the Captains Charity Day at Raglan Golf club on Saturday June 16th in support of the Wales Ambulance.

Wales Air Ambulance needs almost £6.5 million every year to provide this vital
emergency service. Most of the funding comes from ordinary people and organisations such as
Raglan Parc golf club focusing on fundraising for them.

It was a great success with nearly £3000 being raised on the day, with a further £1000 already in the ‘pot’ from other events run earlier in the year.