Values personal service ingenuity collaboration persistence

ABOUT US

About us

From Lands End to John o’Groats, our planning specialists have spent decades successfully facilitating bold ventures across the length and breadth of the country. Working with major operators in the leisure, tourism and residential sectors, we draw on our unparalleled knowledge of UK planning law, precedents and authorities to help stakeholders secure the permissions they need. 

From site-sourcing and appraisal, through to approval and certification, we offer a meticulous end-to-end consultancy service, navigating the exacting regulatory landscape with aplomb. And where complex challenges require unorthodox solutions, we dig in with some good, old-fashioned detective work, taking a forensic approach that leaves no stone unturned. 

Liaising and negotiating with third party stakeholders and experts, including architects, environmental specialists, local councils and the general public, our process is one of politics, pragmatism and ingenuity. 

From theme parks and visitor attractions, to holiday and caravan sites, whether rural, coastal or urban, we partner closely with each client to devise a robust strategy to deliver on their ambitions. Whether you’re looking to develop new projects, expand existing ones or increase land values for resale, we can advise you on every step of the planning process to get the green light.

News

Shortlist Announcement - RTPI’s South East Region Award for Planning Excellence, Small Planning Consultancy of the Year.

 

Laister Planning is delighted to announce that it has been shortlisted for the prestigious Royal Town Planning Institute’s South East Region Award for Planning Excellence, Small Planning Consultancy of the Year.

This coveted recognition celebrates excellence and highlights the positive contribution planning professionals make in the communities they serve. Being shortlisted is a testament to our team’s end-to-end consultancy services, partnering with our clients in the leisure, tourism and residential sectors providing expertise in delivering solutions across a range of complex planning challenges. Our small diverse team work together to deliver creative solutions with tenacity, dedication and innovation.

“Laister Planning is a distinctive and different new consultancy. We take pride in the substantial reputation we have already earned, particularly in leisure and tourism planning, for a company that has only been in existence since April 2021. The recognition we have now received from the RTPI demonstrates our team’s professional approach and strong understanding of the industries in which we work.” – Nick Laister, MD

We extend our sincere thanks to the RTPI and the judges for this recognition. Congratulations to all the other nominees in our category — we are proud to be in such remarkable company. The South East region’s winning Small Planning Consultancy will be announced on July 4th 2024, and we look forward to celebrating the achievements of everyone involved.

Stay tuned for more updates and join us in celebrating this incredible milestone in our young company’s history!

Thank you for your continued support.

Nicholas Laister
Managing Director
Laister Planning Ltd

Laister Planning is proud to be a member of industry recognised professional organisations including: The Royal Town Planning Institute, The British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions, National Farm Attractions Network, and the British Holiday and Home Park Association.

Partners in Planning: Charismatic Tenacious Assured Astute

Charismatic
We’re a small team of big characters, with confidence born of experience and a shared enthusiasm for the work we do. Professional but not stuffy, capable but not corporate, we bring good-humour and energy to all our interactions.

Tenacious
Every day offers new challenges and demands, and we get a genuine buzz from helping our clients realise their ambitions. Sometimes that means digging into historic records and taking a meticulous, investigative approach to planning that sets us apart from the competition.

Assured
With decades of success in our niche field, our clients can trust that we have both the know-how and the networks to get the job done. Because we understand our sectors so well, we’re able to operate with deft efficiency, and identify opportunities to deliver to our clients’ greatest possible benefit.

Astute
Some projects call for a more creative approach. As self-confessed “case law nerds” we know how to employ legal precedent to our advantage, and have the savvy to seek out and formulate unexpected solutions to both routine challenges, and more unusual obstacles.

OUR SERVICES

Enabling ambition, through planning mastery​

Drawing on our unparalleled knowledge of UK planning law, precedents and authorities, we help operators and stakeholders find optimum sites and secure necessary permissions for their ventures. From initial sourcing, scoping and appraisal, through to approval, we partner with each client to devise a robust strategy for delivering their development project, however complex. Liaising with third party stakeholders and experts, including architects, environmental specialists, local councils and the general public, our process is one of politics, pragmatism and ingenuity.

Application and delivery process

  • Pre-application meetings
  • Preparation and submission of planning applications
  • Post-submission management of application process
  • Discharge of planning conditions

Asset management

  • Caravan Site Licence Applications
  • Vary or removal of restrictive planning conditions

Assessing Opportunity​

  • Site identification and appraisals
  • Development Strategies
  • Due diligence reporting

Scheme Promotion

Throughout the Development Plan making process:

  • Promotions of sites
  • Written representations
  • Appearances at public examinations

Lawful Development Certificates (LDCs)

  • Preparation and submission of LDCs for both existing and proposed uses and buildings
  • Advising and compiling evidence in support of LDC applications such as drafting statutory declarations, obtaining historic aerial imagery and other factual evidence
  • In depth and up to date knowledge on planning case law

Appeals and Inquiries​

  • Preparing, briefing and instructing counsel
  • Production of appeal documentation including Statement of Case, Rebuttals, Statement of Common Grounds and Proofs of Evidence
  • Management of Appeal process and attendance at appeal
  • Expert witness appearances

Enforcement

  • Advising on enforcement matters
  • Preparation and submission of appeals relating to Enforcement Notices
  • Liaising with Local Planning Authorities and key stakeholders to resolve enforcement queries

SECTORS

Enabling ambition, through planning mastery​

OUR PROJECTS

Recently completed projects​

Regency Court Park

(Regency Court Park Ltd) – Staverton, Cheltenham

Laister Planning successfully obtained planning permission on appeal in February 2023 to replace a touring caravan site in Cheltenham with residential park homes. Laister had previously secured a lawful development certificate confirming the touring caravans could be occupied on a permanent residential basis.

This case is significant because the site is located in the Green Belt. Laister argued that the development would not be ‘inappropriate’ in the Green Belt, so it was not necessary to demonstrate that ‘very special circumstances’ exist. The appeal Inspector agreed with Laister, stating that, if anything, there would be an improvement to openness when compared to how the site can currently be used, especially given the new central area of green space.

Piglets Adventure Farm

(Piglets Adventure Farm Ltd) – Towthorpe Grange, York

In February 2023, Laister Planning secured a lawful development certificate from City of York Council confirming the lawful use of the entire Piglets site as a ‘farm adventure park’. This high profile visitor attraction opened in July 2011 and comprises hands-on animal fun, indoor and outdoor adventure play and seasonal events. The extensive 32-acre site is situated in a rural location within the Green Belt.

Laister Planning worked in close collaboration with the client, and presented extensive evidence on the development and use of the site over the 12 years since opening. According to the certificate issued, the evidence supporting the application was “precise, sufficient and unambiguous” to prove that the land had been used for such purposes for at least 10 years.

Millets Farm Centre

(Millets Farm Centre Ltd) – Frilford, Oxfordshire

Laister were appointed by Millets Farm Centre Ltd to assist them in taking forward proposals for a farming-themed outdoor family adventure golf course with associated facilities, outdoor seating area and landscaping. 

Working with specialist adventure golf course designers and a team of ecologists we put together a detailed planning application for a change of use of land with associated operational development. Our comprehensive planning statement argued that the proposals would not result in any significant adverse environmental impacts, conversely providing  significant environmental benefits through enhanced opportunities for biodiversity being created through a robust landscaping scheme, while also providing significant social and economic benefits through the provision of sustainable tourism opportunities including outdoor recreational facilities, promoting a healthy lifestyle and learning opportunities for the younger generation, and attracting visitors to the area. 

Particular attention to detail and ability to properly scrutinise both national and local planning policy enabled us to demonstrate that the scheme represented a sustainable form of development aligning with the relevant policy context. The level of detail provided with the application allowed for a successful conclusion with the granting of planning permission without any onerous or pre-commencement conditions being attached to the permission. The resulting development will assist in sustaining the long-term vitality and viability of this successful and established business going forward.

millets-logo-retina

Crealy Theme Park & Resort​​

(Maximum Fun Devon Limited) – East Devon

We were pleased to secure planning consent in February 2022 for various children’s rides and attractions, and extension to buildings.

This will provide an exciting new IP-branded theme park within the main adventure/theme park at Crealy. We argued that the application site had limited landscape value itself, and the rides would be seen in the context of other nearby rides, attractions and buildings. 

Moreover, any environmental harm caused would be minimal, and would be outweighed by the economic and tourism benefits; it would enable Crealy to adapt and cater for its business needs and to continue to offer a high-quality visitor experience, as supported through economic objectives contained in the National Planning Policy Framework.

We also obtained planning permission for a caravan site, to provide short-stay workers’ accommodation associated with the operation of the main theme park and adjoining holiday caravan park.

crealy-logo-retina

Hedley Wood Holiday Park​

(Park Holidays UK Limited) – Devon

We recently obtained planning permission from Torridge District Council to site an additional 33 holiday static caravans and associated infrastructure at this well-established holiday park in Devon, that has been recently acquired by Park Holidays.

Our application submission drew attention to the baseline position of the application site, arguing that a number of these caravan units could already be stationed within part of the site under a previous planning consent, in the absence of any planning conditions restricting the number of units.

We made the case, judged against relevant planning policies, that it would help to secure the delivery and long-term success of the wider site, associated facilities and accommodation, as well as secure related economic benefits for jobs and the local economy.

park-logo-retina

PEOPLE

People

Nick Laister

Managing Director

Nayan Gandhi

Director

Nick Mannering​

Director

Peter Griffiths​

Director

Vanessa Clipstone

Planning Director

Chris White

Associate Planner

Bob Neville

Principal Planner

David Hancock

Principal Planner

Callum Robinson

Planner

Eddie Hines

Planner

Susan Pring

Operations Manager

Billy Sims

Executive Assistant

JOBS

Join Us - We’ve got Big Plans and they could include you!

Be a part of our diverse group of talented, specialist planning consultants who are passionate about our clients’ projects and plans, transforming their businesses and delivering unique solutions within the leisure, tourism and residential sectors.

At Laister Planning, we put our people first, supported by a great suite of benefits, opportunities for growth and development and a fun, intellectually challenging and dynamic working environment.

Our values help us all build a happy, lasting company focused on delivering great planning solutions. We want you to thrive – we nurture your talent, and our perks reflect this.

Drawing on our unparalleled knowledge of planning law, precedents and authorities, we help our clients find the necessary permissions for their exciting ventures in the Tourism & Leisure, Residential, Commercial, Agricultural, Country Estate and Strategic Land development sectors.

Check out our values to see what drives all of us at Laister Planning to do our best work. At Laister Planning, we embody these values to grow our company and put the client at the heart of everything we do:

Personal service – We strive to understand and meet our client’s needs by prioritising what’s best for their plans and providing exceptional and innovative solutions.

Collaboration – We work together to find simple solutions that are clear, easy to understand and focus on the core of the problems we’re here to solve.

Ingenuity – We take action, even when things are ambiguous. We can pivot fast when we find a better approach or a new angle.

Persistence – Undaunted by challenges, we figure out a way forward and resolve it together.

If these values resonate with you, we’d love to hear from you! We’re always on the lookout for highly motivated, curious, creative people who can deliver exceptional planning solutions.

Flexibility is one of our priorities: everyone’s days are different – we understand that. We may offer remote or hybrid working, depending on your role and location, along with a realistic work life balance. You will find our modern hub office in the heart of the beautiful Cotswolds provides a great collaborative space where you’ll want to come together to share ideas, problem solve, and hang out generally with our other planners!

Time off – You’ll get 27 days’ annual leave, plus UK bank holidays. We shut between Christmas and New Year so you can take a proper break.

Wellbeing benefits – Including private health insurance, dental care, optical care and pension scheme along with life assurance and critical illness cover.

Recognition
Continuous and scheduled feedback is part of our culture. Career progression is at the pace you want it to be, fast for those with the hunger to go further, staged for those more comfortable with a steady climb.

Training – Continuous development and keeping up with regulations and legislative interpretations are part of our day-to-day development. There are plenty of training, coaching and mentoring opportunities, fully funded by Laister Planning.

Competitive salary – Our packages are continuously bench-marked, and we know that our people are worth every penny. We recognise their expertise, industry leading know-how and hard work with an above the norm salary and total reward package.

At Laister Planning, we work hard to bring together people from a wide variety of backgrounds and identities. If you’re invested in being part of a team where new ideas and different perspectives are celebrated, you’ve come to the right place.

Senior and Associate-Level Experienced Planners

Graduate and Planner-Level Planners

GET IN TOUCH

Contact us

Laister Planning Ltd
Ground Floor
Oddfellows Hall
London Road
Chipping Norton
Oxon, OX7 5AR

Send us a message

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Nick Laister

Director

Nick is Managing Director of Laister Planning and is the leading planning consultant in the UK providing planning advice to owners and operators of visitor attractions, holiday parks and park home developments. 

After 24 years at a major national planning consultancy, he decided to set up Laister Planning in 2021 to enable him to focus on specific areas of planning where he has built a national reputation. 

Outside of planning, Nick owns Fairytale Farm in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, an award-winning visitor attraction aimed at families with young children, which is where he can often be found helping out at weekends. He is also founder and former chair of the Dreamland Heritage Trust in Margate, Kent.

Nayan Gandhi

Director

Nayan is a Director at Laister Planning, with some 12 years’ experience as a planning consultant over three stints in the UK.

Having been trained in his native Canada, he moved back to the UK to work with Nick Laister in 2016. He has successfully delivered numerous projects in a wide variety of sectors, including both small and large commercial and residential developments, childcare nurseries, leisure/tourism and casino projects as well as at new and established caravan sites.

Nayan is known for his dogged determination and for out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to finding opportunities and executing strategies for sites. 

He enjoys building strong relationships with clients and key partners. Nayan is an avid Arsenal fan and enjoys showing his young family the many natural and cultural attractions of his adopted country during his weekends.

Nick Mannering

Director

Nick is a Director at Laister Planning. He is a Chartered Town Planner with around 25 years’ background experience in public and private sectors. 

Prior to joining Laister Planning at its outset, he was a planning consultant at RPS for many years, where he advised clients on a wide range of planning matters in England and Wales, including project management, development control, development plan representations and promotions, environmental planning, appeals and enforcement. 

He is experienced across a range of sectors with particular expertise and interest in the leisure and tourism industry, with a focus on visitor attractions and caravan parks. 

Outside of work, Nick has a passion for hill-walking and travel, including regular trips to Argentina to visit in-laws.

Peter Griffiths

Director

Pete is a Director at Laister Planning, with 10 years of experience within both the public and private sector. Whilst having worked in the public sector, the majority of his experience stems from the number of years he has spent in private planning consultancies. 

He is experienced across a range of sectors with particular expertise in the tourism, leisure and caravan industries. Pete prides himself on his ability to unlock development opportunities for clients, whilst forging good relationships with them as well as consultants, local authorities and other key stakeholders. 

When not running around after his young children, Pete is a sport fanatic and enjoys both watching and participating in all sports when he can.

Vanessa Clipstone

Planning Director

Vanessa is a Planning Director with over 25 years’ of experience in planning consultancy. She advises clients on a wide range of planning matters and on all aspects of the planning process, including project management, planning applications, development plan representations, environmental planning, public consultation, and appeals. 

Vanessa has project specific experience across several sectors, including mixed-use, leisure, residential, commercial, and renewable energy development projects. She provides strategic and detailed planning advice, balancing an understanding of planning legislation and achieving a client’s commercial objectives. 

A skilled and experienced project manager, Vanessa can effectively instruct and manage large multi-disciplinary teams across a range of interwoven and complex issues. This ensures clients can address planning considerations from the early stages of a project, define appropriate strategies and refine development proposals to achieve successful results. 

Outside of work, Vanessa enjoys yoga and zumba and seemingly endless house renovations, as well planning her next holiday adventure with her family.

Chris White

Associate Planner

Chris joined Laister Planning as an Associate, having gained extensive planning experience across a range of client side, consultancy and local authority roles. Most recently, he worked in the Land and Planning team for a national house builder.

He holds both a Bachelors and Masters degree in Urban and Regional Planning and is a Chartered Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute. Chris is a problem solver who enjoys exploring the technical details whilst managing a wide range of planning projects from conception through to construction.

A Devon boy at heart, Chris enjoys trips back home to the sea and outdoor pursuits including hiking and sailing. Chris recently became a father, so his time outside work is largely spent running after his young son.

Bob Neville

Principal Planner

Bob is an experienced Principal Planner having worked within the industry since 2004. Working across all areas of planning, he engages on a wide variety of projects meeting the needs of clients in delivering high-quality sustainable schemes. 

Bob has a background in Local Authority Development Management, so has a great understanding of the planning process and the way it functions. 

He holds a Masters degree in Spatial Planning and is a Chartered Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute, reflecting his competence and expertise in the field of planning. 

Outside of work Bob enjoys family life, an eclectic taste in music and is a keen follower of sports.

David Hancock

Principal Planner

David is a Chartered Principal Planner who leads development projects across the UK and provides assistance to Laister Planning’s Directors. He is skilled at uncovering development potential and acting on behalf of his clients to acquire developer focused planning consents. 

Studying in Dundee, he gained a first class honours degree in Business followed by a Masters degree with distinction in Marine Spatial Planning. This education has given David a commercial sensitivity and understanding of terrestrial and marine planning, throughout the UK. 

He enjoys working on challenging projects and has secured Councillors’ recommendations for approval on greenfield land for holiday parks, and worked with a team including barristers and solicitors to successfully challenge Inspector decisions at High Court. 

David likes to offset his heart-racing love of rugby by taking part in amateur angling.

Callum Robinson

Planner

Callum has recently joined the Laister team as a Planner after completing a Masters degree in Law. He has previous experience in Planning, Law, and Finance and is on track to complete the next stage of legal training on the way to becoming a Solicitor. 

Callum prides himself on the ability to digest vast quantities of information, before applying it with creativity, efficiency, and with attention to detail in order to obtain successful results for our clients. 

At home Callum is an avid music enthusiast and enjoys the outdoors, spending his spare time trawling second hand record collections for forgotten gems and hiking/wild swimming. 

Having recently returned from a year living in Spain whilst completing legal internships in both Barcelona and some of the Spanish Islands, he looks forwards to planning his next trip to the far north of America and Canada.

Eddie Hines

Planner

Eddie is a dynamic Planner having gained his planning experience from large-scale consulting firms. With a BA (Hons) degree in Geography from the University of Leeds and an MSc in Spatial Planning at Oxford Brookes, his academic and professional background equips him to navigate complex projects effectively. Eddie is committed to excellence and has a real passion for rural and urban development.

On track to becoming a RTPI chartered planner, Eddie’s dedication to professional growth stands him in good stead to shape and influence rural and urban landscapes with innovative and sustainable solutions.

Beyond work, he is an avid clay pigeon shooter and a certified PADI Open Water Scuba Diver, showcasing a need for precision and adventurous spirit outside the office. Weekends offer a glimpse into Eddie’s multifaceted interests. Whether he’s embarking on long walks to unwind, passionately following rugby matches, tending to his garden, or contributing to the renovation of his parents’ house, Eddie’s dedication to balance and personal development shines through.

Susan Pring

Office Manager

Susan is Laister Planning’s Operations Manager and has a wide range of professional experience delivering business operations and administrative systems, gained from previous senior roles in global investment banking, international forestry operations across Tanzania, Mozambique and Uganda, and Oxford University’s Business School.

She enjoys developing and identifying opportunities to further the company’s operational goals and is a key driver within the business as it continues to evolve and grow to meet strategic objectives. She enjoys the multiple facets of her role, partnering with the team, and is directly responsible for the performance of the full operations function and administration team including financial processes and controls, management reporting, data analysis, policies and procedures, HR and people development, business systems and administration services.

In her spare time, having been an avid international traveller for both holidays and business, Susan looks forward to her annual bucket list destination trips as well as nearer to home visits to South Devon. At home, she is a proud dog-parent of Mabel and Monty, her wire-haired dachshunds who love country walks in the beautiful Cotswolds.

Billy Sims

Executive Assistant

Billy is Laister Planning’s Executive Assistant and has years of experience offering professional business and administrative support to high-level professionals across a wide range of industries, including healthcare and hospitality.

With a keen eye for detail, creative problem solving, and a love of keeping many plates spinning, he enjoys managing Nick Laister’s very busy office and working with Susan on the Operations activities for the business, whilst also being the central point person supporting the Laister team. He helps provide efficient accounts and administration services and meets the needs of our clients by handling incoming enquiries, monitoring and responding to communications and tracking important deadlines. His creative talents are put to good use working on marketing and events for the team.

A self-proclaimed sun chaser, Billy is always looking forward to his next holiday. Having visited Bali, Dubai and Australia, he is hoping to explore closer to home by discovering more of Europe in the near future.