Meet the leadership team

Rob Smith


Rob is a Founding Director of Hyas, having worked for 10 years at the Advisory Team for Large Applications where he was responsible for team wide operations alongside advising on a number of large scale  projects across the UK. Rob is a Chartered Town Planner with over 20 years overall experience, having previously been a Director in the Planning & Economics team at EDAW.

Rob has particular skills in strategic approaches, and has a broad understanding of viability, funding, land and delivery model options.

M: 07497 848217

Paul Brockway


Paul is a Founding Director of Hyas, having worked for 10 years at the Advisory Team for Large Applications as a Spatial Planning Manager.  He was responsible for advising on over 40 large and complex mixed use and residential-led projects including urban extensions, new settlements, garden towns and villages, urban regeneration, and estate renewal projects across the south and south west of the country and beyond.

Paul has particular knowledge and skills in project management, brokerage, infrastructure planning & S106.

M: 07905 822690

Steve Hill

Stephen Hill


Stephen is a Founding Director at Hyas following 9 years with the HCA ATLAS team. Stephen developed an expertise on developing robust policies and delivery strategies for local plan strategic site allocations, drawing on his experience of advising on large scale, residential led projects across the North and Midlands. Stephen has extensive experience of working with and managing multi-disciplinary teams to deliver quality outcomes through a collaborative approach. He has a strong track record within the public sector, working at a senior level in relation to all aspects of planning and delivery.

M: 07795 291246


Hyas work closely with a core network of highly experienced & like-minded associates, advisors & collaborators to ensure that the right team can respond to project and client needs. This network provides an extended set of skills, capacity and expert knowledge to not only meet requirements, but provide a tailored and unique response to each individual project. Our key Associates acting on behalf of Hyas include:

Simon Leask

Strategic Advisor

Simon was head of ATLAS since it’s creation, leading and driving the success of the team and advising on many large projects

Simon has particular skills in evolving strong visions and establishing ambition. He can support and provide strategic leadership and provide expert brokerage at a senior level.

Simon has been heavily involved in the implementation of a number of Government programmes and initiatives relating to large scale housing alongside advising on elements of planning reform and delivery.

M: 07413 916531

Diane Webber

Associate & Advisor

Diane has over 25 years’ experience across planning policy in both district and unitary councils.  She has most recently been working at Milton Keynes Council where she has worked on three local plans. This work has included the preparation and implementation of Local Plan policies and supporting development framework SPDs for major urban extensions. She is currently advising on Local Plan approches to new settlements and garden villages.


Emily Catcheside

Associate & Advisor

Emily has over 10 years’ experience across a range of planning functions, including development management, infrastructure planning, appeals and public inquiries, and planning for strategic growth. Emily’s specialism is in development management where she has gained a wealth of experience ranging from infrastructure projects, major urban extensions/strategic growth, commercial developments including office and retail, and minerals and waste.

Jayne Lomas

Associate & Advisor

Jayne is an experienced Associate having held a number of roles within the construction industry, including within a registered housing provider, a number of local authorities, and formative years in the private sector. Over the last 12 years Jayne held various roles at the HCA, including within the ATLAS team supporting large scale housing led developments. She has extensive knowledge of development viability modelling & section 106 mechanisms. Jayne also brings a background in architecture, sustainability and energy options.

Paul Evans

Associate & Advisor

Paul is a Registered Architect with a Masters in Interdisciplinary Design. He has been involved at all stages of comprehensive large site development and has specific expertise in environmental sustainability, urban design including spatial masterplanning and design codes, green infrastructure and low carbon approaches to development. He can help put in place strong visionary approaches and help see them through subsequent design stages.


David Hawes

Associate & Advisor

David is an experienced Urban Designer with a portfolio in Strategic Masterplanning and Place Making. David provides advice to a range of clients including Local Authorities, public sector bodies and private sector landowners. He works in a collaborative way, engaging with other disciplines and using design as a way to advocate options and build consensus. David regularly sits as a panel member on the South West Design Review Panel.

Greg Macrdechian

Greg Macrdechian

Associate & Advisor

Greg is an Associate with Hyas, having worked for a number of Councils across the South & East of England providing support and guidance in relation to the delivery of key projects, Local Plans, and supporting evidence. He is a Chartered Town Planner with over 20 years overall experience, across development management, planning policy and infrastructure planning in both district and unitary councils. Greg has extensive skills in policy preparation and implementation particularly relating to large strategic sites, infrastructure delivery plans and transport planning.

Simon Smales

Associate & Advisor

Simon has nearly 40 years of experience in the public sector, and latterly in the private and government agency sector, having held Director and Chief Planning Officer positions in large local authorities. Simon specialises in providing development strategy advice and advising on corporate and departmental organisation and prioritisation.

Wider Network

Hyas also work closely with other small practices and like-minded associates, subject to teh location and needs of individual projects. these include:

James Farrar

Associate & Advisor

James is an Associate Planner with over 12 years experience working in a range of planning roles within the public and private sector. James is passionate about creating great places through a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of new places.  His work blends a clear understanding of the complexities of existing places with an innovative and design-led approach to planning.  James was previously Spatial Planning Manager within the Advisory Team for Large Applications at the HCA responsible for leading a portfolio of strategic projects with individual local authorities across the East and South East.

Richard Wood

Associate & Advisor

Richard is a highly skilled planning, transport, and management consultant with over 27 years experience across the public and private sectors. Richard has overseen the successful delivery of a wide range of development plans and has held senior head of service positions across Local Government. Richard is currently advising landowners, Local Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships on future growth plans, the evolution of local plans and site specific masterplanning.

Jo Mills

Associate & Advisor

Jo is a Chartered Town Planner with senior level management experience across growth, regeneration and planning. Prior to consultancy she was Director of Planning & New Communities at South Cambridgeshire District Council. Jo is an experienced consultant, coach and director, with a strong track record of delivering excellent outcomes, working with both private and public sector organisations. She values making a difference for communities, good communication and delivering through engaged teams and partners.

Nicky Linihan

Associate & Advisor

Nicky Linihan, NJL Solutions Ltd, Director and Associate of Hyas – is a highly experienced consultant with extensive knowledge of the housing agenda, and the integration of the key components needed to create successful places gained through experience in spatial planning, transport, economic development, urban design, partnership development and community engagement disciplines. Nicky was recently Interim Director of Planning for the newly created Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, set up to create the first garden city in 100 years.

Talk to us about joining Hyas


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