A Hartlepool-based man will head-up a new planning firm, providing specialist services across the region and into Yorkshire.

Stephen Litherland will lead Hedley Planning Services’ new offices at the Evolution in Wynyard Park, where he will target planning decision-makers with strategic land promotion and consultancy work among other services.

He previously worked as group planning manager at Bellway Homes covering planning matters on a national basis and latterly, at a senior level for Story Homes.

New roles will be created as Stephen Litherland, who has extensive in-house experience in the residential sector, builds a skilled and dedicated regional team to meet demand.

Several major projects are already underway which will underpin the office, with a raft of additional work expected to fall into place over the coming months as clients take advantage of Hedley’s expertise.

Stephen Litherland said the new office will support the growing demand for the company’s strategic services beyond its North East of England heartland.

He said: “We are seeing strong demand for strategic planning requirements in the face of a buoyant commercial planning sector. Teesside is on the up, with positive news of fresh investment and development.

“We are in the business of helping to deliver that growth for residential, retail and commercial clients.”

Sean Hedley, managing director of Hedley Planning Services in Hexham, who oversaw a 25% increase in trade on the back of new work and clients in 2018, said a second office will contribute to achieving a turnover of £500,000 in 2019.

He said: “We will continue to deliver a quality service to clients across the North East from our Northumberland office, but the time is now right to expand with a second office opening.

“The move will allow us to establish a greater presence across the wider North of England, develop existing important relationships and provide a more in-depth proposition for new clients seeking high quality professional planning services.”

The planning landscape will continue to evolve in the face of revisions to national policy, he added: “Despite the uncertainty caused by Brexit, house building will be a busy sector for us and we expect to see more smaller builders entering the market in 2019, who will benefit from the services and support of Stephen and his team.”