Cross-examination queen heads up planning at Gillespies

Michelle Bolger has joined leading-edge landscape architect Gillespies to head its planning team in the southern England region.

Bolger, former senior associate at Liz Lake Associates, has won a reputation for forensic planning skills and praise for the "thoroughness of her evidence, the clarity of her arguments and composure under cross-examination" in appeals, local plans and call-in inquiries.

Her appointment follows Gillespies recent landscape work for a development consent order application for Somerset’s Hinckley Point C nuclear power station and marks an expansion of its landscape planning team.

"Michelle joins us after building her reputation as an outstanding expert witness on landscape and visual impact assessments on energy and housing sectors," said the design practice, which also works on transport and infrastructure projects.

Recent work included giving landscape evidence for Barratt Homes at a successful call-in inquiry for houses within the green belt. Bolger vice chairs the Landscape Institute education and membership committee and sits on its advisory council.

Specialist interests include assessing wind-energy projects for planners and local action groups, looking at the impact of development on heritage sites and writing guidance such as practice methodology on landscape and visual impact assessments.

Gillespies said: "This new appointment further enhances our established landscape planning team, who have gained a national reputation for integrating landscape and visual impact assessment with landscape design."

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