Congratulations to all at Cumbria GeoConservation who have received an Award of Excellence from the Geologists’ Association (GA) for their geology interpretation board project at Brown Howe Quarry near Coniston. The illustrated interpretation board clearly explains the geological background to the quarry and was made possible with a generous donation from the GA Curry Fund.

Elaina Kurs from Stephenson Halliday was pleased to attend the sunny award presentation at the quarry, made to Dr John Lackie (Chair of Cumbria GeoConservation) by Geologists Dr Haydon Bailey (Chair of the GA Curry Fund) and Dr Nicholas Pierpoint (President of the GA). Stephenson Halliday have worked closely with Cumbria GeoConservation regarding the successful Colourful Coast interpretation boards at Marshalls Stancliffe Stones’ Birkhams Quarry, St Bees Head and look forward to working with Cumbria GeoConservation again on future projects.


Responding to a strong forward order book we are seeking candidates for each of the following roles:

Visualisation Specialist – Glasgow strongly preferred, Kendal or Newcastle upon Tyne considered.

You will have expertise that includes: 3ds Max; Resoft Windfarm; and Sketchup and be able to demonstrate a track record over a number of years of producing high quality and verifiably accurate visualisations and photomontages. We expect you to have the ability to challenge and suggest how to improve production processes and output quality to keep our standards at the forefront of practice. Wind farms will feature as a core part of your project workload (so experience producing wirelines and photomontages to SNH Good Practice Guidance is useful) but with variety from a diverse portfolio of development projects set in locations varying from rural and designated landscapes to tall buildings in urban areas.

GIS & Graphics – Kendal, Glasgow or Newcastle upon Tyne considered.

You will have a focus on the production of high quality graphic material using your expertise of ArcGIS, InDesign and similar packages and ideally also have an ability to update our web material or other interactive digital documents. You will be able to demonstrate how your experience of GIS gained over a number of years allows you to bring data together, provide clear analysis and efficiently generate paper and interactive mapped outputs to high standard. An organized approach to data management and document control is essential. Creative flair and experience in the use of InDesign for marketing material would also be beneficial.

Established in 2001, Stephenson Halliday provide planning, landscape, EIA and project management services across the UK. We provide a supportive, friendly and family firm ethos knowing that by looking after our employees they will in turn look after our clients and strive to achieve excellence. Our bespoke and collaborative approach harnesses the expertise and passion of our staff, clients and other trusted partners and delivers successful project outcomes in the energy, minerals, waste, infrastructure, residential, commercial property and tourism sectors.

If you like the sound of these roles, want a competitive salary and benefits package and training and development opportunities matched to your career path then please apply:

By email with covering letter, CV and work examples to:

By post with the same material to
Emily Kirkham
Stephenson Halliday
32 Lowther Street

Please also email Emily with your contact details if you would prefer an initial confidential discussion about the role.

We are seeking a Landscape Architect to join our busy team. A problem solving and client focussed attitude is key so we are able to be flexible on work location and consider applications from candidates who have more recently graduated through to those with several years proven experience.

Established in 2001, Stephenson Halliday provide planning, landscape, EIA and project management services across the UK. Our bespoke and collaborative approach harnesses the expertise and passion of our staff, clients and other trusted partners and delivers successful project outcomes in the energy, minerals, waste, infrastructure, residential, commercial property and tourism sectors.

You are expected to be highly organised, dynamic and creative with excellent written and graphic skills and a proven ability to respond to a diverse project workload. You will of course be able to demonstrate the positive effect you have had on project outcomes, have a detailed knowledge of GLVIA guidance and its application and some proficiency with InDesign, Photoshop, AutoCAD and GIS would be advantageous.

We will provide you with the opportunity to work within a supportive, friendly and family firm ethos where we know that by looking after our employees and supporting their career progression they will in turn look after our clients and strive to achieve excellence.

If you like the sound of this, along with a competitive salary package and bespoke training as required, then please email a covering letter, CV & work examples to:

On 19th March 2019 Cumbria County Council unanimously approved the planning application by West Cumbria Mining (WCM) for Woodhouse Colliery just south of Whitehaven. The Colliery project will develop a new underground mine to extract metallurgical coal for use in steel making. Within 5 years of the completion of construction, the mine will achieve a steady state level of production of 2.4million tonnes per annum over a minimum of 43 years.

So how do you obtain planning permission to open the first new underground coal mine in 30 years?

An Exceptional Scheme

It may seem obvious, but start with an exceptional scheme. At an early stage WCM were clear that the scheme they would be bringing forward would be one of which the local community could be proud. It would be wholly different from traditional coal mines in terms of its design and environmental impacts. Iconic buildings which totally enclose the receipt, processing, and dispatch of the coal from the underground mine provide a blend of statement building design with minimised environmental impact. Coal transported by rail avoids the issues associated with road traffic. The design of the rail loading facility reflects its location in the Pow Beck valley was designed to blend with its largely rural surroundings within its operational constraints.


WCM are also committed to engaging with and responding to the local community. This started at the very inception of the scheme and continues now. WCM have maintained a dialogue with the local community and other stakeholders through a liaison group, regular open days and newsletter updates. Given a history of coal mining within the local area a degree of support could have been anticipated, but the open attitude to the development of the project with the local community and the investment in pro-actively seeking views has resulted in a better scheme. As a consequence the level of support for the planning application overwhelmingly exceeded its opponents.


It was also very important to WCM to establish a productive working relationship with Cumbria County Council as the relevant planning authority for their proposal. This was manifest in a Planning Performance Agreement which secured a collaborative approach to the preparation of the planning application and its subsequent determination. This agreement also provided additional resources to the county council to facilitate the engagement of specialists to advise planning officers. The WCM team also worked with bodies that were consulted on the planning application to ensure that potential issues were identified and addressed at an early stage.

The role of Stephenson Halliday

Stephenson Halliday provided support to West Cumbria Mining in two key areas:

• planning, and
• landscape design and impact assessment.


We have been involved in all stages of the planning process, from scoping, through preparation of the Environmental Statement, Planning Statement and Design Statement, to managing the post submission stage, responses to the local planning authority and negotiating and drafting planning conditions and assisting with the S.106 legal agreement.

It will come as no surprise that a project of this scale and complexity led to a series of issues which required managing and responding to in the post submission stage. Our planners helped to provide solutions to a number of such issues. One example was the issue of potential contamination on the main site. This site is a former chemical factory with a high probability of residual contamination from the chemicals it produced. This was a very real concern for the Environment Agency (EA). Stephenson Halliday and WCM met with EA representatives to go through the concerns and look at solutions. Stephenson Halliday planners worked up a suite of conditions to manage the development in a way that provided the EA with sufficient comfort to allay their concerns. Indeed, our planners worked up a comprehensive set of conditions for discussion and negotiation with the planning authority which ultimately addressed all outstanding issues to allow the application to move forward with a recommendation for approval.


Our landscape staff were tasked with the challenge of preparing a landscape design for the main site and rail loading facility. The challenge for the landscape design was to also accommodate significant volumes of excavation spoil which would arise from driving new drifts down to the target coal measures.

The resulting landscape design for the main mine site comprised two significant landscape mounds to the north and south. The mounds utilised the available material to develop mounds which provide visual and acoustic screening of the site supplemented by the proposed planting. The organically shaped mounds allow for carefully selected framed views of the iconic mine buildings.
For the rail loading facility selected areas of planting provide softening of the views of the new building helping it integrate with its environment and providing partial screening of the railway and trains in the process of being loaded.

Overall, Stephenson halliday have been proud to work on this scheme. It is a truly exciting project which will deliver real benefits to both the local community and the UK steel industry.

The view from our clients:

Our relationship with Stephenson Halliday started well when our initial enquiry and request for support was quickly and confidently fielded by them. Since then we have gone on to build SH into our team such that they can respond and act on planning matters directly on WCM’s behalf.

In addition to their knowledge and experience in planning matters, Stephenson Halliday’s location in Kendal afforded us an insight into the workings of the County Council which helped guide the planning application through the process.

Given that this was the first application for a deep coal mine to come before a decision-making authority in 30 years it was no surprise that there were issues and hurdles no one expected along the way. By working closely as a team rather than as client & supplier we were able to address these issues head on and overcome them.

SH continue to work alongside us as we discharge the 99 planning conditions set out be Cumbria County Council.

‘Donegal Dazzler’ approved…not our choice of words, but great to see the important Meenbog wind farm approved in Ireland.

Really positive to see the appeal decision concur with our landscape assessment, particularly on the sensitive and protected view towards the Barnsemore Gap, and residential visual amenity. After careful consideration the Board concluded:

‘The proposed development would not adversely affect the visual amenities of the area or interfere with any protected views, prospects or scenic routes in the surrounding area, to any significant extent.’

It’s a great end to what has been a long road for this scheme. Started many years ago, it has been through many iterations of design before arriving at the final proposal. We’re proud to have dealt with the landscape issues which were critical to the approval, and supported developers Enerco and lead planners McCarthy Keville O’Sullivan.

Here it is in the press.

And for the appeal decision click here.

Barnesmore Gap

 Above: The Barnesmore Gap, which would be protected through the careful design of the scheme.

Building on the success of our Kendal and Glasgow offices, we are delighted to announce the opening of our third regional office in Newcastle.  The office officially opened its doors to business in November 2017 and is headed by Planning Director, Mary Campbell, who moves from our Kendal office.  With the appointment of Alastair Willis (Technical Director) and Marie-Louise Milliken (Principal Planner), the Newcastle office is both an extension of the existing business strengths, providing independent planning and landscape advice in the minerals, waste, infrastructure and renewables sectors, and an expansion into property related planning.

The Newcastle office is based in the iconic Old Post Office building on St Nicholas Street.  The Old Post Office building recently underwent a £5.8m redevelopment, which included new office premises in the upper floors.  Stephenson Halliday were one of the first businesses to move into the new office space in November 2017 and we see it as the perfect location to grow our business in the north east.

Alastair joins the business from the Newcastle office of a national planning consultancy where he worked for the past 11 years, and has a total of 13 years private practice experience.  He brings extensive town planning experience and knowledge in all areas of property planning; including residential, commercial, retail and tourism development.

Over that period he has worked to deliver successful planning outcomes for national, regional and local house builders, retail operators, land owners and investors, and has developed a strong reputation within the north east to build Stephenson Halliday’s Newcastle office.

Marie-Louise Milliken joins the team from north east based developer, The Banks Group.  Marie-Louise is a chartered planner with over 10 years’ experience working in the private sector, including time spent within a large multidisciplinary consultancy working on residential, minerals, regeneration, highways, energy and waste developments.  As lead planner for major planning applications, including EIA development, Marie-Louise has forged excellent working relationships with clients, Council officers and key stakeholders alike.

Building upon the strength of the sector, Stephenson Halliday believes there is a gap in the market in the north east to establish a niche planning and landscape consultancy.  The scale of the business allows our clients to benefit from our high quality and expert professional advice, whilst interacting with directors of the business as much as they will with more junior members of the team.  The Newcastle office is well placed to provide advice across all sectors of the town planning industry, and we look forward to extending the strong reputation of the Stephenson Halliday brand.

Mary Campbell, head of the Newcastle office, said:

This is a very exciting move for Stephenson Halliday and builds on the growing demand for our services.  We have recruited new staff to undertake work already secured in the North East region and the quality of the space at the Old Post Office has, I have no doubt, helped us to attract the very best.”

Newcastle Team 3

David Forsythe would be the most worthy winner of the Employee of the Year at the Cumbria Family Business Awards on 9th March 2018

David is an Associate Landscape Architect with Stephenson Halliday and is hugely respected by all of his colleagues.

He leads by example producing work of the highest quality and has always been the most reliable, helpful, conscientious and well liked member of our team.

CFBA2018 Employee Logo 2 David and Tally







Over the past 18 months David has faced extreme personal challenges.  In September 2016 David’s father Ken Forsythe a respected Lake District climber died after a short battle with cancer then only 18 days later his mother also passed away.

Just as David was starting to get back on his feet he received the news that his beautiful wife Tally had been involved in a horrendous crash where she was a passenger in a mini-bus resulting in multiple fractures.  Over the past 9 months David has helped nurse Tally back to full strength and she has now returned to her position at Impact International.

Throughout this time David had also been caring for their young daughter Evie May who will soon be 2 years old.

Despite these tragic personal circumstances David has been able to continue his critical role in the business.

We cannot think of a more deserving winner of this award than David.

David &Family David & Tally

David is keen charity fundraiser and coordinated a ride from Lands-End to John O’Groats raising £20k for the Manchester Neurological Research Fund and Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.

His colleagues and the clients he works for would all cheer with delight to see recognition of this inspirational employee.

GNZC7521 David Tally and Evie





If possible, we ask you to please ask other colleagues and friends to support David – We are really keen to see David win this award!

David Forsythe, Stephenson Halliday



Over 400 individuals raise an impressive £2.8m in just two weeks to refinance the Mean Moor community wind farm in Cumbria. It’s thought to be the first wind farm in the country to be transferred to community ownership from a commercial developer.  Stephenson Halliday provided landscape and visual advice in securing planning consent.